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Major depressive disorder, commonly known as depression, is a mental disorder that is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or loss of interest.
Like many other mental illnesses, depression can affect the way a person thinks and behaves. It’s common for a person with a mental disorder like depression to display gradual shifts in mood or interests. Another term that has been linked to this disorder is anhedonia. If you’ve never heard of anhedonia, then you aren’t alone. Fortunately, our mental illness treatment center in Boca breaks it down for better understanding.
What Is Anhedonia?
Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure or happiness. It’s a common symptom of various mental disorders, including major depressive disorder. Most people understand the concept of pleasure and usually know when to expect the feeling. Spending time with loved ones or doing things you enjoy usually brings pleasure and happiness; however, for some who struggle with anhedonia, they have lost the ability to experience happiness for something they once loved. The things that used to make them content no longer spark that inner joy.
There are two types of anhedonia:
- Social anhedonia: This occurs when someone avoids spending time with others, even those they were once close to.
- Physical anhedonia: Physical anhedonia is when a person doesn’t enjoy physical touch or sensations. Physical displays of affection like hugs, holding hands, and sex can have the opposite effect. Rather than feeling nurtured or loved, the person may feel empty.
Anhedonia and relationships are not a good pair. This condition makes relationships difficult to develop and maintain. With the aspect of enjoyment removed, the individual may no longer wish to spend time with their friends or family. The person may begin to distance themselves from their loved ones, worsening any existing mental illness. Relationships feed off of the energy and enjoyment shared between the people involved, but anhedonia strips relationships of their appeal, and side effects like loss of libido may cause a romantic relationship to suffer. By getting professional help from a mental health residential program, these repercussions can be avoided.
How Are Anhedonia and Depression Related?
Although anhedonia and depression are connected, not everyone who suffers from anhedonia has major depressive disorder. Anhedonia is also linked to mental disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. It may also occur in people who have undergone severe medical treatment or have suffered from substance abuse.
Similar to depression, anhedonia may be related to dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that the nervous system uses to send messages between nerve cells. It plays a significant role in the reward system of the brain and produces feelings of pleasure. When dopamine levels are low, it can contribute to mental disorders like depression or schizophrenia, and possibly even anhedonia disorder.
Our team at Banyan knows that mental illness and substance abuse are also linked. People with mental disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to cope with symptoms, while some addicts develop a mental disorder as a result of their addiction. At our mental health treatment center, we offer a variety of treatment methods that have helped numerous patients regain control of their lives.
At Banyan Mental Health, we’re dedicated to helping our patients turn their lives around. Call us today at 888-280-4763 for more information about the mental health treatment programs we offer.