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Here we have an in-depth look into nootropics for anhedonia.

Anhedonia is a condition that makes you feel numb.

There are many small pleasures in life. From enjoying a sunset to listening to your favorite music and having chills go down your spine.

Anhedonia prevents these feelings, making the life of a sufferer feel dull, bland, and bleak.

On a side note: It’s important to mention that we aren’t doctors. If you suspect you may suffer from anhedonia, it’s always better to talk to a health professional than seek advice on the internet.

That said, this science-backed article explores anhedonia and explains which nootropics might help you with it.

What is Anhedonia?

In simplest terms, Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure. In its more extreme forms, anhedonia can even mean the inability to feel any strong emotion.

Most people know what it’s like to feel pleasure. Going out for a bike ride on a sunny weekend, watching your favorite TV series, or giving a hug to your loved one. These are some of the things that typically bring joy to people.

  • People with anhedonia experience little to no joy, no matter how exciting or interesting experiences in their life might be.

Anhedonia is often a symptom of a deeper underlying issue. This includes depression or other mental disorders.

That said, some people don’t have depression but still suffer from anhedonia. That’s because there are many causes for this condition. We’ll go more into those in a minute. (1)

How to Tell if You Have Anhedonia?

According to WebMD, there are two types of anhedonia (2):

  • Social – You have no interest in spending time with others. Parties, talking with close friends, or social gatherings, in general, don’t excite you.
  • Physical – As the name implies, people with this form of anhedonia don’t feel physical pleasure. A hug from your partner gives you no joy. Your sexual desire can also plummet. Foods that you once enjoyed taste bland.

Here are other common symptoms that people with anhedonia experience:

  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • Lack of intimacy with a partner
  • Emotional numbness
  • Lack of expressions, both verbal and nonverbal
  • Faking a smile and other emotions, pretending to be happy in front of other people when you’re not
  • A weak immune system, being sick often

What Causes it?

As mentioned, anhedonia can be a symptom of depression. However, depression isn’t the only possible cause of anhedonia.

  • Ironically, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics are also known to cause anhedonia in some people. (1, 3)

But it’s not just prescription medication that can make you indifferent towards life.

Recreational substance use can do the same.  That’s because some of these substances interact with your neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin.

Over time, substance use may deplete your brain chemicals. It may even numb your neurotransmitter receptors. As a result, you start feeling numbed out too.

  • You can also develop anhedonia if you’re under extreme stress and anxiety for prolonged periods.

There’s also Schizotypy. It’s a theory in psychology that people with certain personality traits might be more susceptible to anhedonia than others.

How Nootropics May Help

Okay, so now that we know what anhedonia is. What can nootropics do to help with it?

Natural and safe nootropics act as brain boosters. They improve your brain’s capabilities, including:

  • Mood
  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Focus

Certain nootropics interact with your dopamine and serotonin brain pathways. These two neurotransmitters are critical for your mood. Many times, it’s precisely a fault in one of these two pathways (or both) that leads to anhedonia, amongst other problems. (12, 13)

If you feel a lack of energy, motivation, and drive when you wake up in the morning, your catecholamine brain chemicals could be to blame. These are dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Dopamine is the one that gives you that drive and motivation to own the day. (12)

Serotonin, on the other hand, is what makes you calm, relaxed, and happy. It also regulates countless other bodily functions like sleep, appetite, and movement.

By supporting your dopamine and serotonin systems, nootropics may help you regain some of that zest for life.

Let’s look at which nootropics may help with anhedonia.