Anhedonia is the inability to experience pleasure. It is a core symptom of depression, but it can also occur in other mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder.[1] It is also a common symptom of chronic pain and other medical conditions. Anhedonia can have a significant impact on a person's life. It can make it difficult to work, study, and maintain relationships. It can also lead to feelings of isolation and despair. Anhedonia is characterized by a loss of interest in and pleasure from activities that were once enjoyable.

Anhedonia can also be caused by certain medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics.[2]

Types of Anhedonia[edit | edit source]

There are two main types of anhedonia:

  • Physical Anhedonia: Physical anhedonia is the inability to experience physical pleasure, such as the taste of food or the feeling of sex.
  • Social Anhedonia: Social anhedonia is the inability to experience social pleasure, such as spending time with friends and family or participating in hobbies and activities. [3][4]

Physiotherapy Treatment in Anhedonia[edit | edit source]

Physiotherapists can play an important role in helping people with anhedonia. By providing exercise and other physical activity interventions, physiotherapists can help people improve their mood, energy levels, and overall quality of life.

Exercise has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress, and boost energy levels.[5] Physiotherapists can also help people to develop coping mechanisms for dealing with anhedonia and other symptoms of mental health disorders.

Some specific physiotherapy interventions that may be helpful for people with anhedonia include:

  • Aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming, and biking, has been shown to be particularly effective in improving mood and reducing stress.[5]
  • Strength training: Strength training can help improve body image and self-esteem, benefiting people with anhedonia.[6]
  • Aquatic therapy: Aquatic therapy is a low-impact form of exercise that can be helpful for people with chronic pain or other medical conditions that limit their ability to participate in other types of exercise.
  • Yoga and Pilates: Yoga and Pilates are mind-body exercises that can help to improve flexibility, strength, and balance. They can also be helpful for reducing stress and improving mood.[5]

How Physiotherapists Can Work with Other Professionals[edit | edit source]

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for anhedonia. Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of the anhedonia and the severity of the symptoms[7].Physiotherapists can work with other professionals, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, to provide a comprehensive treatment plan for people with anhedonia. This may involve combining physical activity interventions with medication and/or psychotherapy.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). 2013. Washington, DC: Author.
  2. Nutt, D. J., Paulus, M. P. Anhedonia in drug users and depression. Neuropharmacology, 2007, 53(1), 181-190.
  3. Bentall, R. P., & Read, J. E. Cognitive models of anhedonia. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 2004. 17(1), 87-92.
  4. Tellegen, A. Structures of mood and personality and their relevance to assessing psychiatric disorders. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,1985. 49(1), 106.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Li, X., Liu, W., Yang, J., Xu, T., Wu, M., & Zhang, L. The efficacy of exercise on anhedonia in people with depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2021. 285, 128-137.
  6. Li, Y., Li, X., Wang, D., Li, M., Zhang, S., Liu, Z., Zhang, T., & Yang, J. Exercise is more effective than antidepressants in reducing anhedonia in patients with depression: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2022. 83(8), e1912395.
  7. Kringelbach, M. L., & Berridge, K. C. Towards a functional neuroanatomy of anhedonia: A review. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2009. 1172, 245-271.