Emotional Blunting and Anhedonia


#1

How many of you experience emotional blunting and/or anhedonia?

Anhedonia, meaning inability to feel joy or pleasure. Emotional blunting, meaning inability to feel either positive or negative emotions to a strong degree. Lack of ability to cry or feel affection toward friends, family, or lovers falls under this umbrella. This has also been described as an inability to enjoy a scenic view, nice weather, or art and music.

This was a topic that I feel should be revived since it is something often discussed in the past that has fallen by the wayside:

This is also a commonly described symptom among PFS, PSSD, and PAS patients. It was recently mentioned as a “unique form of torture” by a PSSD patient. So true.

I also experience emotional flatness and anhedonia to a severe degree. It has probably had more of a negative impact on my life than the sexual symptoms.

It’s as if all that was left on top of a blank personality is anxiety, anger, stress, frustration, and existential horror. This has been a feeling of being uncomfortably stuck in my own body and mind for the past 20 years. Only a few crumbs of normalcy kept me going.

Strong feelings of joy, interest, affection, lust, romance, exhilaration, pleasure, and comfort are gone… Music certainly doesn’t have the same effect of evoking an emotional response. Hobbies are no longer enjoyable and I feel as if socializing without a clear objective is a chore and burden. I have been able to hold a few long-term relationships but found myself lacking the drive to be attentive, caring, compassionate, or passionate, that I have seen in most other couples. This probably had far more influence on ending relationships than sexual symptoms did. I didn’t have the best upbringing, but still felt love for my parents, until suddenly realizing I was unable to after the worst of PAS set-in. I was also very close with my grandparents and found myself unable to cry at their funerals. I have feared ever having a child because of this void, even before learning about this condition.

This symptom is certainly inhumane. Can anyone else describe their experience in dealing with this?


#2

I had this early on, I felt like a psychopath with zero emotions whatsoever. Now it’s strange, sometimes I can genuinely feel happy for a while, other times I just feel like complete shit and break down in tears for hours at a time. Seems to depend on the day, really.


#3

I have hours where I feel “okay” but also hours with severe anhedonia like you described.

I can’t fall in love anymore. I have no desire to be in a relationship which is scary. I only care for the sexual part cause at least my libido is decent. But romantic feelings or thoughts are rare since I got PFS.

I still can’t really enjoy videogames. I play for 30 minutes most of the time and then anhedonia comes back and it feels just like a chore to play and I have to stop.

Emotional blunting/anhedonia is without a doubt one if not the worst PFS symptom in my opinion.


#4

I always used to be the shy kind of guy, but after accutane I don’t feel any interest in other people. And most of the time it is just unconfortable to be around people, even my family, even my friends so I tend to stay alone. Also I can’t cry, I don’t feel sad but I don’t feel happy, just kind of ashamed. I’ve been suffering for almost 7 years, sometimes better sometimes worse but now Im just used to it so I can’t remember what life before accutane was. The only thing im sure is I don’t want to wait another 7 years feeling like this.


#5

I have not felt ANY emotion in 3.5 years. I can’t even listen to music. Its been so long that even if I somehow get cured, I won’t know if I am at the original level. I don’t even know what love, passion, romance, nostalgia, happiness, excitement, pleasure, anything is supposed to feel like.


#6

i always thought its cause of excessive serotonin or serotonin related,but now i understand that its AR related…


#7

my question is:
do people experience emotional blunting while on propercia or acutane or dustarade etc?
@Dubya_B if u have any info regarding this im happy to hear


#8

The worse my condition gets the worse everything you describe gets.

When I first got this condition, and about a month or two before it, I was actually hyper emotional. Crying every single day, moody, etc.

Now as it has gotten worse, where my estrogen sensitivity has got extremely dampened, I pretty much feel nothing. Especially, much recently it got much much much worse. I wouldn’t be able to cry if someone walked into my house and hurt my entire family that I am so thankful for.

What keeps me going is that in my head, I am COMPLETELY aware that this is due to lack of receptor signaling and it would be restored if signaling was restored. So I don’t freak out about it. This aspect of the disease does NOT go hand in hand with Nursing where you have to be empathetic, understanding, and compassionate in your care so it’s definitely a really tough thing for me to deal with.


#9

do u think there is an existing remedy regarding the quoted matter or u hope for a new future developed drug especially for us?
I couldn’t understand what keeps u going if u know the theory,but also know in reality u cant find an existing agent to make that possible?


#10

I don’t know if it will be a drug, epigenetic treatment, crispr etc. And I can keep going because I am a realist. That’s why I have no issue telling people how it is on here. A lot of people on this forum can’t handle facts and the truth and subsequently making up their own science as they go along.

I am aware there’s not always a cure for everything and it is only 2018. Medicine is still young and we are VERY far away from understanding how the body works, as we have seen. It is what it is.

I don’t even care if there is a treatment for this, I want to know what is causing it and what is the genetic predisposition.

Edit: also let’s try not to get off topic on Dubya’s thread. If you have anything else to ask make a new topic or PM me


#11

Thanks for the responses everyone.

@zadig777 Yes, I believe some people experience this while on the drug. Some, only after stopping the medication. The PFS patients have described this symptom and correlation with finasteride usage much better than PAS, probably because of having a structured forum for so long. It didn’t seem to be talked about often in the PSSD community until recently because it isn’t technically a post-drug sexual symptom and it can easily be attributed to a pre-existing psychiatric disorder, which is nonsense.

I had bouts of mild-moderate depression and mild crying spells while taking Accutane. Nowhere near suicidal depression. It was only after I stopped the medication and began crashing that the true emotional blunting and anhedonia took effect. It flickered on and off for a few days leading up to the crash, then was like night and day and worsened rapidly, alongside the other symptoms developing. It was almost like “flipping a light switch” at that point and there was no going back.

@propecia123, @Invictus, I have had moments of being “okay” and even some fleeting moments of positive and negative emotion like you guys describe. It’s painful to even reminisce about those windows of light. An overwhelming majority of my time has been spent in the state described in the opening post and this seems to get worse as the yeas pass since my initial recovery. Did you guys experience this while taking finasteride, or after stopping?


#12

Didn’t ask me but I experienced during accutane in the middle ish of my prescription


#13

I crashed from licorice root extract and got these symptoms during and after. (After way worse)


#14

I’m like this as well. But I don’t have euphoric feelings ever.


#15

im essentially a robot most of the time. i did cry at my friends wedding but mostly because i saw how truly in love they are and its a shame i cant feel love that strongly. my life is a constant rollercoaster of faking feelings, feeling feelings i cant even describe they are so horrible or feeling nothing. i get the odd peak of real emotions but i know it never lasts.

ill be honest here

im pretty reserved to the fact im going to commit suicide soon. i dont want to hurt my friends and family but there is just nothing in living for me anymore. this disease has taken so much and im left with just pain and suffering. its almost like im already dead. no memories, no connection to memories, no idea who i am, no positive feelings and everyday is worse. ontop of my severe derealization, fatigue and now skin hanging off my body ive given up. everything i try backfires. no relief. im only 33 i dont wanna die but i cant take it anymore. its coming soon these are the darkest days of my life.


#16

Hey no man, @hippydoof

Give yourself some time, work out and eat healthy… There’s nothing that your body can’t repair with time and effort… You feel like this cause your hormones are out of whack cause of this drug, but once your body readjust i’m sure you’ll recover quite a bit…Different people respond differently and some might take a bit longer than others. You just need more time to recover and find yourself again…Like they say ‘The night is darkest before dawn… and it will come’… Good things will happen with time

Think of this as the final test before you recover, just power through this man! Also you should talk to family and friends I’m sure they’d support you and be there for you


#17

@hippydoof - I’m glad that you felt able to share how you are feeling with the forum.

As @canabis says, please try and reach out to your friends and family, or your family doctor about your sense of hopelessness. I know that sometimes when someone feels this way it can feel pointless, but your life is worth preserving, not just for you but for those that love and care about you. Please try and hold on, especially as people are aware of your problem in relation to all of us here and all those badly affected by endocrine disruptors, and are actively looking into why this happened and then subsequently how to resolve it. You life is worth waiting around for the pay off.


#18

Hey Hippydoof please don’t commit suicide. I’m right here with you, the exact the same skin, mental issues and all the other stuff. We have to stick together and be strong no matter how shit this is. Yes skin can be one of the scariest symthoms to experience but there is so much that can be done once we know what the core issue is, i still think once our disease state is reverted our skin will regain it’s strength, it has no reason not to, I’ve read stories of people with acquired cutis laxa or elastolysis skin return to normal when treated correctly and their skin is far worse than ours.

I get extremely down at time’s myself I can’t say I don’t but I don’t want to give up because the day someone works out how to fix us, I want to be there for that, imagine i killed myself and a revolutionary treatment came out tomorrow? I wouldn’t know. We only get one shot at life and no matter how bad it seems, there’s always something to stay alive for, mine is family and games, look for that and latch onto it no matter how small, if there is the tiniest bit of hope, grab it and eventually that hope you latched onto will get bigger and bigger :heart: I’d be extremely upset if you left us and so would many others, your life matters, please hang in there.


#19

I also feel much less emotion.

I never considered music to be essential in my life, but I listened to it and enjoyed doing it. Now it is less so. Whether it’s on the street with headphones, at home with good equipment or in the car with friends, I no longer feel the same emotion. In fact, it just became a way to avoid boredom, that’s all. The only times I can enjoy music is when it’s really loud at a party and I’m a little drunk.

On the other hand, I was a big fan of movies, series and video games, but now I don’t feel any excitement at all when something new comes out. I force myself to start watching or playing.

Another example that has left its mark on me: I am a big football (soccer) fan and I have always dreamed of seeing my country win the World Cup. I’ve been thinking about it almost every week since I was a kid, but when we won this summer I didn’t feel anything after the end of the game when the whole country was jubilant. That’s when I realized that something was wrong with emotions too. I understood that I saw what I would have loved to live as bland, I was disconnected.

Also I now find many fewer girls attractive and I have the impression that I can no longer have feelings for them.

It is quite disturbing that some people have very large variations in emotions and others no longer have any. And it’s even more complicated to see how much impact the drug has had.
Does all this really come from PAS/PFS? Or do the real side effects that have been experienced make us depressed and less receptive? I don’t know, I guess it’s a vicious circle.


#20

I don’t know any of you on this forum, we probably have nothing in common except this misfortune that has come down on us, but your messages bring hope. Before knowing this forum I alternated between the denial of my situation and total distress because I didn’t really know what I had. Your messages, like those of all the others, are really of tremendous importance. Please stay strong, there are still many options to explore. Our problem is still very little known, I am convinced that there will be progress.