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Anhedonia

ANHEDONIA

This term refers to a clinical condition in which a human or an experimental animal cannot experience positive emotional states derived from obtaining a desired or biologically significant stimulus. Generally, certain stimuli serve as positive reinforcers in normal individuals (e.g., food, water, the company of friends). "Positive reinforcement" is a descriptive term used by behavioral scientists to denote an increase in the probability of a behavior that is contingent on the presentation of biologically significant stimuli, such as food or water.

Anhedonia may be idiopathic (of unknown cause), may occur as a side effect of certain drugs (for example, the Neuroleptics), which act as dopamine-receptor antagonists, or may be an aspect of certain psychiatric disorders, such as depression. It is conjectured that a state of anhedonia may occur during the "crash" that follows a prolonged bout of drug self-administration, particularly Cocaine or amphetamine-like stimulants.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dackis, C. A., and Gold, M. S. (1985). New concepts in cocaine addiction: The dopamine depletion hypothesis. Neuroscience Biobehavioral Review, 9, 469-477.

Wise, R. A. (1985). The anhedonia hypothesis: Mark III. Behavior and Brain Science, 8, 178-186.

Wise, R. A. (1982). Neuroleptics and operant behavior: The anhedonia hypothesis. Behavior and Brain Science, 5, 39-87.

Anthony Phillips

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anhedonia

anhedonia (an-hee-doh-niă) n. a reduction in or total loss of the feeling of pleasure in acts that normally give pleasure.

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