How To Be Happy When Youre Depressed – Anhedonia is the inability to experience joy or pleasure. You may feel numb or less interested in the things you once enjoyed. It is a common symptom of many mental health conditions such as depression. Treatment is available to help you regain interest in life activities, such as being with loved ones or listening to music.
Anhedonia is the lack of interest, enjoyment, or pleasure derived from life experiences. You may not want to spend time with others or do activities that previously made you happy. Anhedonia is a common symptom of many mental health conditions.
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It’s normal for your interests to change throughout your life. With anhedonia, you experience much less pleasure or joy in doing things you enjoy.
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If you experience anhedonia, you may not “feel,” as if there is a void where you expect your feelings to be. You may feel like you are being followed by a dark cloud blocking the sunlight. This can take the form of:
Additionally, you may have trouble sleeping, which can affect your mood and ability to complete your daily routine. It can also affect sexual desire or libido.
You may have difficulty spending time with people. You may feel like you have nothing to give, whether it’s love, affection, or appreciation. This can lead to social isolation or social anxiety disorder.
No. While you may experience both anhedonia and apathy at the same time, they are not the same thing. Anhedonia is the lack of enjoyment or pleasure. Apathy is a lack of energy or motivation to do things.
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Research is ongoing to learn more about the causes of anhedonia. Studies suggest it may result from a lack of activity in the brain’s ventral striatum. This area of the brain is located above and behind the ears. It contains the “pleasure center” of the brain that receives and produces dopamine. Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone. A change in activity in this area of the brain can affect how you perceive rewards, such as being around other people or participating in certain activities.
A healthcare provider will look for the symptom of anhedonia by asking you questions about how you feel emotionally and your mood. They may also perform a physical exam to rule out any other physical conditions. They will also take a complete medical history during the exam.
Because anhedonia may be linked to depression, a healthcare provider may recommend that you undergo blood tests to determine or rule out any underlying conditions that may affect your mental health. This can include:
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There is no specific treatment for anhedonia. A healthcare provider will help relieve this symptom by diagnosing and treating the underlying cause or condition. Possible treatments could include:
You may need to combine treatments, such as medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. Tell your doctor if you experience side effects such as suicidal thoughts while starting a new treatment. You may need to continue treatment even if you feel better so that the anhedonia does not return.
Your doctor or mental health professional can make recommendations to help you relieve anhedonia at home. For example, your provider may suggest that you exercise regularly, such as going for a walk or doing yoga. When you perform physical activities, your body releases dopamine. Because anhedonia affects the body’s dopamine levels, exercise can help the body release more dopamine to activate the brain’s “pleasure center.”
Untreated anhedonia can affect mental and physical health. Possible risks of not treating anhedonia and its underlying cause may include:
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If you experience suicidal thoughts, contact a healthcare professional or call 988 (Suicide & Crisis Lifeline). If you believe you are in immediate danger, contact 911 or your local emergency services number.
Anhedonia may disappear or improve under the supervision of a healthcare provider and/or mental health professional. It doesn’t go away on its own. You should start to feel better once you start treatment. Anhedonia may return after treatment. You can reduce the risk of symptoms returning by following your doctor’s treatment plan, even if you feel better.
If you are not experiencing joy or pleasure as you once did, contact a healthcare professional. Anhedonia can affect mental and physical health. A healthcare provider and/or mental health professional can help you reduce this symptom so you can feel better sooner.
Anhedonia can interfere with your ability to enjoy the little things, like eating your favorite food or hugging a loved one. You may feel frustrated because you no longer find pleasure in the things that once made you happy. While there are many possible causes of this symptom, a healthcare provider and/or mental health professional can help you navigate your diagnosis and treatment options. If you experience suicidal thoughts, contact 988 or your doctor. Page medically reviewed by Alison Hardy (Dep. in Counseling, PG CBT), Senior Cognitive Behavioral Therapist at Priory Hospital Chelmsford
More Than Sad: Depression Affects Your Ability To Think
If you suffer from loneliness or have had feelings of depression, it’s important to remember that it’s something you can overcome. You deserve to feel happy and fulfilled, and there are steps you can take to get there.
Within this blog we will outline some simple strategies to help you deal with feelings of loneliness and continue to thrive. For those who are really struggling with extreme isolation, loneliness or symptoms of depression, we’ll also tell you about the professional support and treatment available if you feel you need a helping hand.
Loneliness and depression are closely related, but they are not exactly the same thing. Depression is a diagnosable mental health condition characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness. Loneliness is a subjective feeling of isolation in which our levels of social contact are not as frequent as we would like them to be. When a person is lonely and doesn’t take steps to cope, it can make them more likely to suffer from depression and other mental health problems. When it comes to loneliness, a person typically feels lonely when the relationships in their life lack the intensity, intimacy, and authenticity they need to feel fulfilled.
If you feel alone and isolated, know that it’s something you can try to minimize. With some of the tips outlined in this article, you can break the cycle of loneliness and depression and prevent these feelings from getting worse over time.
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The causes of loneliness can be numerous and often a series of combined factors come into play. Some of these include: physical isolation from other people, significant changes in your life such as divorce or moving to a new location, or a stressful period in your life such as working long hours or an upcoming exam period.
There are also many reasons why people experience depression, many of which overlap with what loneliness can cause. These may include the following:
Because feeling lonely and depressed are often related, addressing one can often help the other. We understand that being proactive and taking on certain tasks can be incredibly challenging, but if you’re able to really push yourself, these steps can be helpful.
In times when you feel lonely or depressed, write down your exact emotions and the reasons behind them. This can help in the following ways:
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In your thought journal, also write down when you feel happy and connected. Then, as you become more aware of what makes you think and behave positively, start doing even more of the activities that make you feel good.
When you feel lonely and depressed, you may find that you focus more on the negative aspects of life, which can make you feel even worse. One thing you can do to change this is to write a daily gratitude list, where you write down five things you are grateful for or happy about each day.
Giving yourself time to focus on these positives will help you become more aware of the good things you have, and overtime can help you pay more attention to these positives throughout your daily life.
If you find yourself constantly beating yourself up about feeling down, think about what you would say to a friend who was going through something like this and what you would do to help them feel better. Instead of being self-critical, remember that you deserve compassion too, so treat yourself kindly whenever you don’t feel so good.
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Written and narrated by Priory therapist Adele Burdon-Bailey, take 10 minutes out of your day to ease the symptoms of depression with this guided meditation.
Which people in your life make you feel good? Schedule with them regularly and do your best to maintain these relationships. These are the people who will be able to support and motivate you when you feel depressed. Even a regular phone or video chat can be a good way to connect.
We understand that being proactive and making plans to see and be around people can be difficult when you feel lonely and depressed, but push yourself to spend more time with people
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