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"Permanent" anhedonia from antipsychotics


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Hello there I am a victim of a horrible side effect of Saphris, called anhedonia.  It pretty much strips you of every emotions and every pleasure you can feel.  It's living torture.  I took the medicine for a year and half even after I got this side effect, which was obviously the worst decision I could have make.  I got off of it finally and I'm waiting desperately to get my emotions back.  I've been of of it for 2 months or so.  I've found very few people who have this side effect one persons name is Narshe81 but he stopped posting online so I don't know what happened to him.  It's not the illness, it's not depressoin, and it's not something that can be fixed by excercising or anything like that.  So please don't bother to respond if that's what your going to say.  Anyone who has this side effect knows what I'm talking about.  It makes life not worth living anymore because you feel like you are a corpse.  I would not want to live for the rest of my life if I had to be like this.  I'm completely desperate and I'm just begging I can recover.  Narshe81 said he was off it for a year and still no luck which is a horrible thing for me to hear.  This is very important, please respond if you have gone through this or if you read someone else going through this.

Edited by spokety
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I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2005 and put on Risperdal Consta.  About a year later I changed to Geodon because the Risperal was giving me hormonal problems amongst several other side effects which I don't feel like listing right now.  Unfortunately, the Geodon caused me to have anhedonia.  I talked about it to my psychiatrist and she tried to medicate the anhedonia with Wellbutrin, which didn't work.  I wasn't suffering from depression until AFTER getting the anhedonia.  Luckily, after I changed from Geodon to Abilify, the anhedonia went away.   Both my psychiatrist and I think the anhedonia was caused by the Geodon because I didn't have a history of depression nor any of the other symptoms of depression and being schizophrenic, it's a possibility from the medications as is documented by some sources. 

My first psychiatrist thought I had depression, but he didn't understand.  My second psychiatrist did understand and allowed me to change to the Abilify.  I would've stayed on the Abilify, but it gave me really bad nausea and weight gain.  Eventually I was changed to Fluphenazine which didn't give me anhedonia either, but I couldn't stay on it because it gave me extreme allergic type side effects.  Eventually I ended up on Haldol, which I'm on now.  Unfortunately, it gives me partial anhedonia.  Not too bad, but enough that I notice it and feel robbed of my ability to have complete fun and enjoyment of anything.  

But I'm just relieved that it's not as bad as the Geodon, because the anhedonia from the Geodon was so bad that I felt suicidal until I got off of it.  

I'm thinking that you shouldn't give up.  Probably eventually you will be free of the anhedonia.  I know that these antipsychotics linger in a person's system from experience and my psychiatrist says it too, and so did my previous psychiatrist.  It may take more weeks but I think the med-induced anhedonia isn't permanent.  You could also ask your psychiatrist to prescribe an antidepressant such as Wellbutrin; I think even if you don't have depression, they say it can help with anhedonia sometimes.  It didn't work for me, but maybe it will work for you. 

I would quit my antipsychotic if I could, but since I get profoundly delusional when I do, I can't.  

I've been on and off various meds for many years so I'm trying to stay compliant with the Haldol.  But personally, I don't blame you either way.  If you can be happier and healthier off of them, then so be it.   

 

Anyways, peace be with you.  Stay strong. 

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i agree with nystagmus, dont give up

i had anhedonia when i was on risperdal and geodon and it began to subside as i got on lower doses of abilify. i cant say how long itll take for it to go away because i went down on the medication very slowly so i was taking very low doses for a long time but id say within 2 months of my last dose i felt better. i warn though that within 3 months my psychotic symptoms came back pretty strong so be careful with that. but i could totally understand whyd u want to get off the meds, its a horrible side effect. ive now taken 2 antipsychotics since (seroquel and latuda) with no anhedonia

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I was in a bad depression when I started Abilify. It got rid of the sads and weeping, but left me with anhedonia. It took a long time to find something, but finally doxepin put an end to my anhedonia/depression. Or at least most of it. I still suffer from extremely low energy. Not sure if that's part of the depression or a side effect of the meds. I hope you find a cure to you anhedonia.mits no fun at all.

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Both depression and negative symptoms can cause anhedonia. Sometimes it may be the meds, but often what happens with psychosis is that the positive symptoms resolve due to the meds but the negative symptoms persist. Without the postivie symptoms the negative symptoms become more noticeable and problematic. Negative symptoms are tough to treat and there is no med so far that is 100% effective in treating them. So when the positive symptoms resolve on meds but the negative symptoms don't, the meds get the blame for causing the anhedonia but really it is often unresolved negative symptoms. That is not to say that meds can't cause anhedonia. It's just saying that in the really bad cases that go on for months and months, long after the med has left your system, it is likely to be negative symptoms or depression.

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It's not depression, I should have added that in the description.  I've had depression before and I know what that feels like more importantly.  This side effect happened overnight, it was a drastic change from medication numbness to a permanent feeling of numbness that did not change at all throughout the day.  

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I agree with crtclms. I think anhedonia is just a different flavor of depression. And it was an antidepressant (doxepin) that got rid of it for me. I hope you find something that works for you.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I'm 32 andI've had severe sleep apnea for my entire adult life (100 breathing interruptions per hour when I was diagnosed) but never had any mental health problems  before now.

This May, I started getting CPAP therapy for it and feeling really good really fast (I felt like I was on ecstasy 24/7, I was incredibly productive and focused at work. was working like mad on personal projects, and writing tons of awesome political rhetoric), had a manic breakdown that got me put in the hospital (where I dealt with a bunch of really traumatic auditory and visual hallucinations) and drugged with risperidone (2 mg), seroquel (25 mg), and (later, in place of the seroquel) lithium (600 mg). I've not been consistently compliant since having left the hospital in late June, but I've not had any psychotic episodes. But I've had mood swings, really bad anhedonia, and, for a weeks, no libido or ability to get an erection/ejaculation. These symptoms and thoughts of the traumatic hallucinations at the hospital have left me with periods of anxiety. I often feel crapped out, weak, and like I have no desire to face the day because I'm just going to be excruciatingly bored and anxious.

I've decided to stick with the lithium but to give up on the risperidone, as the lithium seems to help with the mood swings. I don't want to deal with the antipsychotic treadmill or with the side-effects of risperidone (particularly weight management problems and libido/hormone problems), as I'm fairly certain that the episode was just my mind going haywire due to my finally sleeping properly.

Edited by SayGoodnightToTheBadGuys
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  • 2 weeks later...

if you do enough reading about schizophrenia you will discover that anhedonia comes with depression for some people with depression.  but people with schizophrenia can get anhedonia without depression or anything else.  it's anhedonia by itself and YES THE MEDICATION CAN CAUSE IT. 

Unfortunately, because a lot of psychiatrists don't know how to ask about it, they don't educate their patients about it and so a lot of people dont know what they are experiencing until they research it. 

But it's a real issue.  For me, anhedonia went away after I got off of the Geodon that was causing it.  And it was gone for the whole duration of the time that I was off of meds.  But I'm on haldol now, and haldol gives it to me somewhat but not as bad as the geodon, so it's just bearable. 

I fought hard to get on the lowest prescribed dosage of haldol because of this.  and becasue of the other side effects i get from antipsychotic meds each time.  I know i can't keep going off the meds but i really feel better off of them and that's the reality.  So I feel compassion for anybody suffering with anhedonia.  Try to get on the lowest effective dosage and don't give up hope. 

 

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From personal experience, Risperdal flattened me out to the point of feeling numb during my last severe depressive episode. Even when the depression went away, I still felt emotionless. When I lowered the dose and eventually stopped the drug, I felt better. Keep in mind that anhedonia and depression are two different beasts, and don't have to be one in the same. Mental illness is a constellation of symptoms, and while many can resolve from finding a good med, others may persist or worsen if there not appropriately being treated. Can a med cause anhedonia? Sure. But once that med has left your system entirely, you're now talking about a different etiology.

Either way, I don't know what meds your on or what your Dx is, but I'd try to advocate for yourself to your doctor, perhaps they can find a different medication or combo of medications to treat your symptoms better.

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Nystagmus, which medications?

Geodon gave me anhedonia (not permanently, because I got off of it and got better).  And haldol injections (which I'm still on), mildly reduces my good mood too.  I feel better as it drains out of my system every month.    

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