Anhedonia After Addiction | The Inability To Feel Pleasure After Getting Sober

Anhedonia After Addiction | The Inability To Feel Pleasure After Getting Sober

Hey everybody this is Rob with Tree House Recovery and I’m back again and today I want to teach you guys about anhedonia one of the major reasons or a bigger reason why people relapse especially in early recovery is because of anhedonia or a lack of knowledge of anhedonia and the best way I can describe anhedonia and by no means is it’s a clinical term but the best way I can describe it is a state of blah okay it’s a current dissatisfaction with sobriety or somebody’s current reality which is going to be sobriety okay and it consists of two primary factors the first is going to be biochemical and the second is going to be psychological so first let’s focus on the biochemical when somebody ingest drugs or alcohol they release dopamine into the brain and this continues over a period of time for years sometimes and every time they put a drug in their body dopamine is released in the brain and what eventually happens is the brain says that’s it I’m done I don’t need to produce this naturally anymore now dopamine if you refer back to my PAWS video is responsible for a lot of things it’s responsible for a reward that keeps us safe and alive and keeps us moving forward as individuals or it’s just a society in general and if we don’t have dopamine or a natural production of dopamine well we’re gonna feel that blah feeling okay so when somebody enters a recovery center or any kind of treatment environment and they are no longer having a chemically altered amount of dopamine going off in their brain throughout the day whenever they put the drug in their body and what will happen is if somebody goes through everyday activities during that initial phase of sobriety there’s not going to feel very good they’re not going to feel that reward so that’s the biochemical reasons of why somebody’s going to feel anhedonia the second thing that we need to discuss when really understanding anhedonia is the psychological effects that somebody’s going to be experiencing while in early sobriety so to really understand that let’s take a look at somebody while an active addiction this is usually a pretty exciting lifestyle now it’s negative excitement a majority of it but excitement nonetheless so this is somebody who might be participating in illegal activity stealing this is somebody who’s probably putting themselves in pretty dangerous situations may be dealing with some pretty shady people or running from the police or maybe even just the excitement provided from being dishonest to the people around them trying to hide their stash or just get away with the substance use or anything involved in the substance use so what all of these behaviors do is it well it’s the heart beating okay and it can start to produce adrenaline and all of these behaviors will create that excitement now let’s talk about that individual when they decide to go into treatment well they’re not going to be receiving that same kind of excitement and what this can do is lead to a comparison to where yes I understand those were negative behaviors but the way I interpreted it while as an active addiction was this is very exciting and now that I’m in treatment I have a schedule I have a routine and I’m not receiving that same kind of adrenaline pumping excitement that I’m used to all right so this can often lead to other psychological set up behaviors somebody can now awful eyes sobriety or even romanticize the past using so with the biochemical and the psychological effects somebody will have that anhedonia now anhedonia can be consistent during somebody’s process at least the initial phase it can also spike during different months of their process it can also get elevated during activities that maybe somebody has a relationship with for example if somebody grew up surfing and they loved surfing every time they go out surfing they get that dopamine reward well if that same individual later on in life decides to get sober and they go out and they go surfing well there’s a good chance they’re not going to get the same reward the there used to do to that dopamine deficit this can easily lead somebody to going and awful eyes in their sobriety or even hyper focusing on things from their past that would produce that dopamine for example substance use alright and this is a major reason why we see people relapse this is why I’m so confident in the tree house approach to treatment we got guys waking up at the crack of dawn going out to the ocean and experiencing that joy that excitement getting the heart beating getting the adrenaline going as they’re out there they’re riding the waves and we’re doing this all and it’s structured and controlled environment but still creating a new relationship with that excitement that for a lot of people who have the disease very much crave and then from the beach they’re going into the gym and they’re participating intense workouts and when they’re doing that what that’s gonna do is kickstart that natural dopamine production we have the ability to assist somebody through that initial phase without the use of any kind of any kind of medications anything that’s actually gonna do more harm than good so ultimately what’s gonna happen is we can help somebody get through that initial phase of anhedonia and then on our clinical side our guys are gonna filter into the office they’re gonna get lessons from guys like me or the other IRT team and they’re gonna learn about anhedonia they’re gonna learn in real time how to use coping skills all of this works together well anhedonia is gonna act as a one-two punch as far as the biochemical factors the psychological factors well we got the same kind of recipe combating that we got the physical we got the mental all right the problem that we often see is people making permanent or life-threatening decisions based on temporary uncomfortability and that’s why people will relapse from anhedonia all right so if somebody’s able to come in to our environment and we’re they’re given the opportunity to promote brain healing along with all the knowledge of why they’re a certain way that set somebody up for opportunity and the ability to maintain long-term sustainable sobriety this is Rob again the treehouse recovery I want to thank you guys for joining me if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us also check out the links below there’s a lot of good stuff down there and I’ll see you guys next time you


  1. Great video, Rob is a great clinician and he is extremely educated to the pathology involved with Substance use disorders.

  2. I love the way you break this down. I feel that if more newly sober folks knew about this, fewer people would relapse. This is great information.

  3. Anhedonia isn’t something that ONLY people who are/were addicted to drugs experience. My anhedonia is due to PTSD, including sleep deprivation and extremely long periods of undue stress (physically, mentally and emotionally) in a workplace situation… oh, and an element of danger thrown in for good luck. I came here thinking that this may hold some new and meaningful information and insight into a condition that I have been entrenched in for 15 years, all for the sake of trying to keep a roof over my family’s head, put food on the table, and keep the utilities turned on. Silly me!

  4. This explains a bit, I've had adhd since before it was a thing. Had an addrenaline filled life with motocross and 4×4 (jeeps etc)
    Got ride of my dirtbike and 4×4 due to um expected expenses in late 20's then turned to drugs for that rush.
    In small amounts for years, $40/Week after I had decided to stop the drugs I've been blahh most of the time.
    I'll have enjoyment in activities but very short lived.
    Thanks for the information. If nowpeople knew about this I feel it would help almost endlessly.

  5. My anhedonia has come from a lot of long-term stress.

    I had nothing left, no feeling, no emotions, no motivations, no fear.

    I was a complete zombie, dead on the inside.

    I have had anhedonia for 2 years, what helped me is l-tyrosine.

    Now it's all coming back, just before I had anhedonia, so there is a cure.

  6. Great video. Has me nailed. I was a big time ACOA thrill seeker. I made too many changes in early recovery and went straight into this state. Thanks for the explanations.

  7. Got pretty severe anhedonia after breaking from a porn addiction. Couldn't even enjoy conversations, rollercoasters, or pretty much anything, it definitely made depression worse.

    Porn is awful.

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