…So shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult no feather. I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air—look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire—why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.”
From: Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Act 2 Scene 2.
“The term anhedonia is derived from the Greek an-, “without” and hēdonē, “pleasure”. Interest in the nature of pleasure and its absence dates back to ancient Greek philosophers such as Epicurus. The symptoms of anhedonia were introduced to the realm of psychopathology in 1809 by John Haslam, who characterized a patient suffering from schizophrenia as indifferent to “those objects and pursuits which formerly proved sources of delight and instruction”. The concept was formally coined by Théodule-Armand Ribot and later used by psychiatrists Paul Eugen Bleuler and Emil Kraepelin to describe a core symptom of schizophrenia. In particular, Rado postulated that schizotypes, or individuals with the schizophrenic phenotype, have two key genetic deficits, one related to the ability to feel pleasure (anhedonia) and one related to proprioception. In 1962 Meehl furthered Rado’s theory through the introduction of the concept of schizotaxia, a genetically-driven neural integrative defect thought to give rise to the personality type of schizotypy. Loren and Jean Chapman further distinguished between two types of anhedonia: physical anhedonia, or a deficit in the ability to experience physical pleasure, and social, or a deficit in the ability to experience interpersonal pleasure.
Recent studies have found people who do not have any issue processing musical tones or beat, yet receive no pleasure from listening to music. Specific musical anhedonia is distinct from melophobia, the fear of music.”
From: Billones, R.R., Kumar, S. & Saligan, L.N. Disentangling fatigue from anhedonia: a scoping review. Transl Psychiatry 10, 273 (2020):
“Like fatigue, anhedonia has been proposed to comprise different categories of pleasure, such as physical, social, anticipatory, motivational, and consummatory pleasures. Individuals with anhedonia are still able to experience pain and negative emotions, but usually they no longer participate in previously pleasurable activities. Like fatigue, measuring anhedonia is difficult as it relies on the subjective experience of pleasure and is generally measured by self-report.”