Getting Help

If you are in crisis or thinking of hurting yourself in any way:

In the US: National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) available 24 hours a day. Website:

Internationally: has list of international suicide hotlines and websites by country.

To find a therapist or other professional for emotional flatlining or anhedonia, ask your doctor. Religious or spiritual leaders can also be good resources, and of course family and friends.

Other Resources

A lot of leading-edge information on gut health and the connection with brain function is very new. Here are a few resources to help you learn more these ideas in general.

RadioLab Gut Series RadioLab out of New York did a 3-part series on the gut and actually makes the ideas interesting and fun. This link contains 3 different interviews, and the second one on “Gut Feelings” is particularly relevant for gut health and mental health. Click on the link to listen to all three interviews, and click on the “Gut Feelings” link to listen to the second one.

Ketamine for Treating Anhedonia – This is an academic article, but it talks about a drug called ketamine showing promising success for treating anhedonia. Big downside though: The drug can have serious side effects (it’s known as the “date-rape” drug) so I personally would never take it.

Exciting new research could potentially help with anhedonia: Not tested in people yet, but minimal side effects with this drug and it works within 24 hours:

Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being” from Scientific American.

Gut Feelings: The Future of Psychiatry may be Inside Your Stomach

Gut Microbiotia Worldwatch – This is a great site for learning more about the bacteria in our gut and the role they play in good health, though it does not addess the relationship between gut health and mental health.

Anhedonia found immediately after quitting smoking. “Why Smokers Struggle to Quit”

Article on Musical Anhedonia:

The Gut Microbiome and Diet in Depression Medscape article.

How Gut Bacteria Help Make us Fat or Thin  Scientific American article.

Anhedonia Assessments

Below is a list of some of the psychological instruments that can be used to assess anhedonia or aspects of anhedonia. You will need to find a doctor or mental health professional to take one of these assessments and/or diagnose anhedonia.

  • Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHPS or SHAPS) (most popular)
  • Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS)
  • Schedule for the Deficit Syndrome (SDS)
  • Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS)
  • Scale for Emotional Blunting (SEB)
  • Revised Social Anhedonia Scale (RSAS)
  • Physical Anhedonia Scale (PAS)
  • Revised Physical Anhedonia Scale (R-PAS)
  • The Fawcett-Clark PleasureScale (FCPS)

Academic Articles & Research


“The Neurobiological Mechanisms of Anhedonia”

“Scientists Identify potential target for treating anhedonia – major source of depression”

“Is there such a thing as too much happiness? deep brain stimulation and the ethical dilemma”

Gut-Brain Connection

The Brain-Gut Connection article from Johns Hopkins Medicine

“Gut–brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression” (This is an abstract and you have to purchase the article)

“Mind-altering microorganisms: The impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behavior”

The Human Microbiome

“The Microbiome Journal – articles and other information on the Human Microbiome”



Jackie Kelm
The “Joy Engineer”