In psychology, anhedonia (< Greek αν- an-, "without" + ηδονή hēdonē, "pleasure" ) is an inability to experience pleasure from normally pleasurable life events such as eating, exercise, and social or sexual interaction.

Anhedonia is recognized as one of the key symptoms of the mood disorder depression according to both the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition" (DSM IV) and the "International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems" (ICD). Other than anhedonia, the DSM considers only depressed mood to be a key symptom.Fact|date=April 2008 The ICD lists both depressed mood and fatigue or loss of energy as the other key symptoms. Anhedonia is also seen in schizophrenic disorders and other mental disorders.


Researchers theorize that anhedonia may result from the breakdown in the brain's reward system, involving dopamine pathways. Two 2005 studies by Paul Keedwell MD of King's College found that certain sections of the brain in depressed subjects had to work harder to process happy thoughts. [ [ "No Pleasure, No Reward -- Plenty of Depression"] by John McManamy; URL accessed 2007-02-08] [ [ "Neural systems underlying affective disorders"] by Simon Surguladze, et al., Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (2003) 9: 446-455; URL accessed 2008-02-08]

Anhedonia is often experienced by drug addicts following withdrawal; in particular, stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines cause anhedonia and depression by depleting dopamine and other important neurotransmitters. Very long-term addicts are sometimes said to suffer a permanent physical breakdown of their pleasure pathways, leading to anhedonia on a permanent or semi-permanent basis due to the extended overworking of the neural pleasure pathways during active addiction, particularly as regards cocaine and methamphetamine. In this circumstance, activities still may be pleasurable, but can never be as pleasurable to people who have experienced the comparatively extreme pleasure of the drug experience. The result is apathy towards healthy routines by the addict. Extended periods of healthy lifestyles away from active addiction have been shown to reverse these feelings.Fact|date=April 2008

Anhedonia may also be an effect of prolonged fatigue.

ignificance in depression

As a clinical symptom in depression, anhedonia rates highly in making a diagnosis of this disorder. The DSM describes a "lack of interest or pleasure" but these can be hard to tease apart given that people become less interested in things which do not give them pleasure. The DSM criterion of weight loss is probably related to it and many depressed people with this symptom describe a lack of enjoyment from food.

exual anhedonia

Sexual anhedonia is known as 'ejaculatory anhedonia'. This rare condition means that the person will ejaculate with no accompanying sense of pleasure. This condition is most frequently found in males, but women can suffer from lack of pleasure when the body goes through the orgasm process as well.

Sexual anhedonia may be caused by:
*Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), also called inhibited sexual desire
*Low levels of the hormone testosterone
*Spinal cord injury
*Use (or previous use) of SSRI antidepressants [ [ "Persistent Sexual Dysfunction after Discontinuation of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors"] By Csoka et al., Journal of Sexual Medicine 5 (1) , 227–233; URL accessed 2008-02-28]
*Physical illness

A urological examination and blood tests can determine the cause of a specific case of sexual anhedonia.

Patients may be prescribed sustained-release bupropion to aid in treatment, because bupropion has been shown to increase sexual desire and intensity of orgasm.Fact|date=February 2007

ee also

*Clinical depression


External links

* [ No Pleasure, No Reward]
* [;f=7;t=000324;p=0 Discussion of male orgasmic dysfunction (ejaculation without orgasm) on the Sexual Health Forums of]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Anhedonia — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda La anhedonia es la incapacidad para experimentar placer, la pérdida de interés o satisfacción en casi todas las actividades. Se considera una falta de reactividad a los estímulos habitualmente placenteros. Constituye …   Wikipedia Español

  • anhedonia — pérdida de la sensación de placer en los actos que usualmente lo producen, en particular el acto sexual [ICD 10: F52.1] Diccionario ilustrado de Términos Médicos.. Alvaro Galiano. 2010. anhedonia Incapacidad para …   Diccionario médico

  • anhedonia — (n.) inability to feel pleasure, 1897, from Fr. anhédonie, coined 1896 by French psychologist Theodule Ribot (1839 1916) as an opposite to ANALGESIA (Cf. analgesia), from Gk. an , privative prefix (see AN (Cf. an ) (1)), + hedone pleasure (see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • anhedonia — [an΄hē dō′nē ə, an΄hēdōn′yə] n. [Fr anhédonie < Gr an , not + hēdonē, pleasure] a psychological condition marked by an inability to experience pleasure anhedonic [an΄hēdän′ik] adj., n …   English World dictionary

  • Anhedonia —    (1896 and later)    Although loss of interest in pleasure had always been seen as one of the symptoms of depression, it was only in 1896 that Théodule Armand Ribot (1839–1916), professor of experimental psychology at the University of Paris,… …   Historical dictionary of Psychiatry

  • Anhedonia — Loss of the capacity to experience pleasure. The inability to gain pleasure from normally pleasurable experiences. Anhedonia is a core clinical feature of depression, schizophrenia, and some other mental illnesses. An anhedonic mother finds no… …   Medical dictionary

  • anhedonia — noun /ˌan.hɪˈdəʊ.nɪə,ˌæn.hiˈdoʊ.ni.ə/ The inability to feel pleasure. Sometimes it is mere passive joylessness and dreariness, discouragement, dejection, lack of taste and zest and spring. Professor Ribot has proposed the name anhedonia to… …   Wiktionary

  • anhedonia — noun Etymology: New Latin, from 2a + Greek hēdonē pleasure more at hedonism Date: 1897 a psychological condition characterized by inability to experience pleasure in normally pleasurable acts • anhedonic adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • anhedonia — anhedonic /an hee don ik/, adj. /an hee doh nee euh/, n. Psychol. lack of pleasure or of the capacity to experience it. [1895 1900; < Gk an AN 1 + hedon(é) pleasure + ia IA] * * * …   Universalium

  • anhedonia — n. condition resulting in an inability to experience pleasure (Psychology) …   English contemporary dictionary