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    Anhedonia – ETHOS HEALTH CARE

    The Lack of Pleasure in everyday life

    The term anhedonia is derived from the Greek ‘’an-’’, “without” + ‘’hēdonē’’, “pleasure”. Anhedonia is the state of inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, e.g. daily affairs, exercise, hobbies, music, sexual activities or social interactions. In common words it is described as joylessness, emptiness, dreariness, discouragement, dejection, lack of taste, zest and spring.

    It has two main components:

    • Motivational anhedonia – lack of motivation or desire to engage in an activity
    • Consummatory anhedonia – reduced level or absence of enjoyment of the activity itself

    Anhedonia can be part of mental disorders including mood disorders, schizoaffective disorder, schizoid personality disorder and schizophrenia.


    Some of the explanations given are:

    • Breakdown of brain’s reward system
    • Deficiency of Dopamine in brain
    • Side effect of some anti psychotic drugs

    Sexual anhedonia

    As the name suggest, it is lack of pleasure in sexual activity. Sexual anhedonia may be caused by:

    • Anti psychotic drugs
    • Fatigue
    • Hyperprolactinaemia
    • Hypoactive or Inhibited sexual desire disorder
    • Low levels of testosterone
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Physical illness
    • Spinal cord injury
    • SSRI antidepressants 

    Social anhedonia

    It is seen as disinterest in social contact, social withdrawal, indifference to other people and decreased pleasure in otherwise pleasurable social situations. This is different from introverted personality and social anxiety. Males are said to have it more than females. Some research indicates role of genetic cause. Tomppo (2009) identified a specific DISC1 allele that is associated with social anhedonia.


    • Family counseling for support
    • Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy
    • Holistic treatment like acupuncture and homeopathy.