Anhedonia: a persistent lack of joy, and caregiving.


I have been doing some on-line research about Anhedonia, which means a persistent lack of joy,even when good things happen. In other words, if someone with anhedonia found a $100 dollar bill, they would feel no joy whatsoever. I would suppose that a lot of caregivers have anhedonia; I know I have it, but it was so gradual and I don't really remember when it started. I cannot blame it entirely on caregiving, but it probably started due to the usual life stresses, such as failed romantic relationships, etc. I think anhedonia is a form of depression, but some people with depression still feel joy at times, but with anhedonia, their moods are consistently flat. I am totally able to function, and eat and sleep well, but I am unsure how much caregiving contributes to anhedonia. I do think it is much harder caring for an aging parent, then it would be caring for an elderly person who was not a relative, as there is so much more emotion involved when seeing your parent in poor physical condition. Anyway, I would be interested to hear if other caregivers who visit this site feel they have anhedonia as well, and how they handle their lack of joy.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing


I didn't realize there is a name for what I have been feeling. Even when I get a chance to do something that I enjoyed in my "previous" (i.e, pre-caregiving) life, I really couldn't care less, but I try to keep up a facade for the sake of my husband, who is putting up w/so much (he helps w/the caregiving--my 89 year old mother-- and, basically, is losing his wife). I go to work--it is such a relief to be there when I can!--but focusing is hard, and the rest of it, well, who cares? I see my mother A LOT (she is in assisted living w/24-7 aides), some weeks almost every day; she calls me several times a day and I have to mediate battles between her and her caregivers. I just don't know how much more I can take. Joy? Pfft--what is that?

This is how I've felt the last two weeks (totally functioning but unfeeling)....unless I am with my precious grand daughter.

I know what you mean. Sometimes we become like people functioning, instead of people feeling and doing. Maybe it is a self-defense mechanism when things get really bad. To get through, one has to suppress feelings of stress and horror and anger. Maybe the other feelings get suppressed right along, as well.

I haven't had ahedonia, but I have noticed my time is collapsing. The days and nights are so short. Sometimes I want to stay up all night just to make the day longer, but I know I'll feel bad the next day if I do. Weeks are only a day long and a year passes by in no time. I wish I could get time to slow down.