Remember when you first joined Facebook? What a feeling it was, isn’t it? You might have felt overjoyed, happy, or excited. Or the first time you saw your child walk, extremely pleasing, isn’t it? Your first car, first job, first promotion, every time you meet your friends, dates with your partner, these are all pleasurable moments.
Life is full of emotions, happy, sad, joy, ecstatic, upset, et cetera. A lot of our emotions govern our behaviours and that is also why online therapy is gaining momentum. People are realising that they have been probably running from so many of these emotions that they might have experienced if they faced them. And, it is not that they run away from it on purpose, it is an unconscious response that develops.
But, what about those who do not feel emotions, who do not find pleasure in something they used to. Generally, people might call it depression and consider therapy for depression but does it have something more to it? Let’s try and figure out something called Anhedonia.
A condition wherein people are unable to enjoy the good or pleasurable things in life is called Anhedonia which can be both physical as well as social. Physical Anhedonia refers to not being able to feel the pleasure from physical things like the taste of food or a hug from a loved one.
Social Anhedonia refers to a condition wherein the individual is unable to derive pleasure out of social interactions like human companionship. Both of these can be symptoms of depression requiring depression therapy in an online therapy setup or face-to-face as per their choice and preference.
7 Signs of Social Anhedonia:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of interest in relationships
- Diminished emotional response
- Poor social adjustment
- Decreased overall positivity
- Monotone or flat vocal expression
You’re not participating in any of your family gatherings or not responding to invites from friends, not showing up at events you had planned, et cetera. This happens when you’re experiencing social withdrawal.
Lack of interest in relationships
You don’t seem to have any interest whatsoever in trying to maintain or take further any of your interpersonal relationships be it familial, friends or romantic relationships. It seems like too much pressure to build or even sustain the existing ones.
Diminished emotional responses
Humans thrive in their social settings. It is common to have an emotional response to people and events around us. If you are experiencing social anhedonia, you’ll face a great difficulty showing an emotional response to your partner’s hug which earlier filled you with comfort or to your loved ones’ achievements which made you feel proud earlier.
A lot of times, preexisting depression can cause either of the anhedonic experiences as discussed earlier.
*This however is not true in all cases. You may have social or physical anhedonia irrespective of depression. Though depression therapy is considered a treatment option but irrespective of that, do consult a therapist via online therapy or elsewhere as per your convenience before self-diagnosing.
Poor social adjustment
All of us have learned to respond a certain way in certain social setups but those with social anhedonia have enormous difficulty in carrying out those learned social behaviours because they can’t feel the emotions, unlike the earlier times. It seems to them that they have to fake it all and they might not be comfortable with that as well.
Decreased overall positivity
Amongst people with Social Anhedonia, decreased positivity or increased pessimism is something that has a great impact on their social behaviour. They do not seem to look at the brighter side of things which they might have done under usual circumstances. Again, a therapist consultation through online therapy can help them in this aspect as well.
Monotone or flat vocal expression
Because of the lack of experiencing pleasure in their usual emotions, they tend to have a very monotonous or flat vocal expression while communicating with people because they can not experience their emotions.
-Avnish Mishra, Counseling Psychologist, BetterLYF
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