7 Indicators of Social Anhedonia

GoodTherapy | 7 Indicators of Social Anhedonia

7 Indicators That You Might Be Experiencing Social Anhedonia

Life comes with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, mourning and celebration. Our emotions can act as a useful indicator of when you might need support. For most people, pleasure, happiness, and joy are tied to many life experiences. What if you could not feel these things? If that’s happening to you, you may be experiencing anhedonia.

What Is Anhedonia?

You may have heard of hedonism, the pursuit of pleasure. Anhedonia is its opposite — the inability to enjoy something. We use the term anhedonia when someone is unable to enjoy the good things in their life.

There are two types of anhedonia. The first is physical anhedonia, which is when someone cannot enjoy physical sensations such as physical touch from another person or the taste of food. The second is social anhedonia, which is when someone cannot enjoy the companionship of other people. Both types of anhedonia can be symptoms of depression, other mental health conditions, and physical health conditions, as well as side effects of certain medications.

How Common Is Social Anhedonia?

Social anhedonia is more common than its physical counterpart. It is not comparable to social anxiety; it’s not introversion or fear, resentment, or negative feelings about social situations. Instead, anhedonia refers to a diminished or missing capacity for enjoyment.

7 Signs of Social Anhedonia

1. Social Withdrawal

Social withdrawal is the avoidance, removal, or isolation of yourself from social activities. This could look like no longer showing up to social gatherings like family dinners or a night out with friends, or even no longer engaging with friends remotely (through texting, social media, etc.).

2. Lack of Relationships

Social anhedonia can make you uninterested in relationships with other people. You may find yourself no longer wanting to pursue and maintain friendships, romantic relationships, and/or family relationships. If interpersonal interaction is not enjoyable to you, you may refrain from engaging in the relationships you have or starting new relationships.

3. Reduced Emotional Response

While most people might smile, hug, and celebrate the news and lives of their loved ones, people with social anhedonia might struggle to do so. Symptoms include a reduction or inability to show and feel emotional responses to social interactions, both verbal and nonverbal.

4. Depression

Both physical and social anhedonia can be rooted in preexisting depression, but this does not apply in all cases. If you’re struggling with some form of depression and find yourself withdrawing or preferring solitude, you might be experiencing social anhedonia. Be sure to mention this symptom to your doctor or mental health provider – it will help them help you.

If you are experiencing an inability to enjoy the good in your life and you aren’t already working with a physician or therapist, consider doing just that. A physician can look at possible physiological causes (like an out-of-whack thyroid, certain vitamin deficiencies, or medication side effects) for your symptoms, and a mental health professional can help you heal whether the causes are physical or not. Reach out to a therapist in your area today!

5. Poor Social Adjustment

When facing a new situation where you must adjust to the social climate, you might struggle to adapt if you’re dealing with social anhedonia. The skills you’ve acquired and are used to using in this type of setting may no longer be working for you. You might feel like you have to “fake it” in social situations where you’re not feeling genuine pleasure.

6. Decreased Overall Positivity

Another indicator of social anhedonia is the inability to be positive. The old you might provide encouragement, offer solutions, or bring optimism to a situation, but social-anhedonia you might not be able to. Instead, you might tend to say nothing or be pessimistic.

7. Monotone or Flat Vocal Expression

Lastly, if you’re feeling no pleasure or joy, you might also use a monotone or flat vocal expression that sounds uninterested or distracted. If this is a trend over time (versus, say, just a couple of days of flat verbal affect due to feeling blue, down, or exhausted), it could indicate social anhedonia.


Social anhedonia is more common than you might think. It’s a major symptom of depression. If you are experiencing any of these indicators or symptoms, consider working with a mental health professional. To learn more about your options, click here.

Struggling with anhedonia or depression? Start your search for a therapist who can walk this road with you and help you heal.


Healthline. (2018, September 17). Anhedonia: Symptoms, Treatment, and More. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/anhedonia.

© Copyright 2021 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by GoodTherapy

  • Leave a Comment
  • Dr. Laura

    July 11th, 2021 at 11:25 AM

    Thank you

  • Dr. Laura

    July 11th, 2021 at 11:25 AM

    I have not been introduced to this website –

  • max

    July 6th, 2022 at 11:53 PM

    I am not sure if I have anhedonia or not, i have always had depression, super low self esteem but over the past 2-3 years i have been giving away everything I used to love, art was first, pessimism has fuelled this, I used to sit back and admire my artwork when i finbished a drawing but that ended a few years ago now, I threw my art folder into the garage a year or 2 back and there it has stayed collecting cobwebs and dust, i don’t care about the so called art inside it, it’s all garbage. if the garage was flooded and every single drawing ruined i would feel very little. Last year i had a run in with testicular cancer and since then i have lost interest in just abouyt everything else, music is the latest to go, i used to love electronic music & even got some production equipment, now i can’t listen to music, i hate the site of my record collection, something i used to be proud of is now just a burden sitting there collecting dust! I have no desire to see friends anymore, social outings are a massive effort and it takes my all to plaster a fake smile and make small talk and i am hoping the outing is over so i can leave and go home, i feel such relief when it’s over. Same with intimacy/sex, my libido has crashed and fallen through the floor, the thought of sex makes me feel tired and strangely claustraphobic, keeping chemistry alive for more than a minute or 2 seems onerous to me. Admitted testicular cancer has played its part and i feel a kind of frustrated confused anger when i read that most guys can resume sexual activitiy a few weeks after having part of their equipment removed. Anyway, nothing much gives me pleasure and by 9.30 at night i am counting down to go to bed so i can fall alseep for 7 hrs and not think about anything.

  • Jack

    July 16th, 2023 at 11:21 PM

    Maybe look into testosterone replacement therapy.

  • Anik

    March 25th, 2023 at 2:44 PM

    Hi Max,
    How are you these days?

  • Barbara

    July 1st, 2023 at 2:47 AM

    Hi, I fear that I suffer from social anhedonia. I am a nurse and have been told by various patient and co-workers that I am “Dead on the inside” I love my family but, have a VERY hard time enjoying anything, I recently graduated with my daughter for our RNs and the actual graduation should have been a happy time. I could not wait to get away from all of the “happy” people. I tend to bring others down because I am so down. I find it hard to laugh or just enjoy myself period. I can love. I feel that for my family. I just can’t gush over let’s say my newest grandchild. Maybe I am just depressed? All, I know is that I feel “stuck”. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you!

  • Damon

    April 30th, 2024 at 11:41 PM

    To accuse someone of being “dead on the inside” is astonishingly crass, cruel and insensitive. I suggest that the people who said this to you take a long look at themselves before criticising you.
    Personally, I can take some pleasure from small, intimate interactions with other people. (For example, dinner with one or two close friends.) Large gatherings, however, with all their noise and banal chatter, leave me exhausted. I’ve become rather skilled at pretending to enjoy these, but then escaping at the first reasonable opportunity.
    We live in a world designed by, and for, extroverts, who often consider it a matter of personal affront that anyone should dare to be different. That said, it could be worth considering if your muted emotional responses are connected to some earlier, traumatic experience. If that’s the case, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

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