Meds caused anhedonia - what now?

I am rather desperate for help.

At the moment I am on a tiny amount of meds (1mg haldol). I can’t get any lower, because I’m already fearful most of the time with this amount.

I react extremely strong to all medications and they caused me to feel complete depression and anhedonia. No love, no happiness, no joy, no connection. I can’t even feel anything for my 5 year old son anymore. Life is not worth anything like this and I’d rather they had left me psychotic. I am sure it’s the meds and not the illness, because I have stopped medication before and all the happiness and love came back. I am not diagnosed schizophrenia, but psychotic disorder NOS (triggered by medication withdrawal and trauma).

Is there anyone who had this side effect and overcome it? Any successes? Or any alternative treatments for psychosis, so I can stop those horrible meds?

Hello, fellow Psychosis NOS! I’m sorry you have such horrible extreme reactions to your medicine. What others have you tried? Some made me very depressed, and some made me suicidal, but once I found the right med, it changed the world for me. Maybe it would be worth talking with your doctor and trying to find a more gentle med. I believe Haldol is a first generation AP, meaning it has stronger side effects. Risperidone and Geodon tend to be more tolerable to sensitive brains. There are also other medications and supplements that can help with the negative symptoms. Sarcosine is the most popular one right now.

If you are dead set against trying other meds, try talking to @darksith, @PrincessKenny, and @Hedgehog. They manage without meds. If you go that route, make sure to have a full support system in place. You will need regular frequent therapy appointments, and trusted friends or family to help you out when you’re having a particularly hard time. Therapies such as CBT have been incredibly beneficial to many people here. Work on building up your coping skills now while you’re medically stable, because it will be easier to call upon them when you need them, rather than starting from scratch when you’re at your most psychotic.


I have had anhedonia since 2011. Don’t give up on life. Keep doing the things you know you like. Sometimes I get a break through of positive feelings for a short time. Try see the joy in small things. Like snowflakes on your nosetip. Try being here and now all the time instead of bury yourself in the negative feeling of emptiness.

Maybe your med is wrong for you? Have you tried other medication? I tried 3 before I found my combination.

I was on the time released shot of Haldol for a long time. Those were not good years of my life. Now I am on Geodon and Seroquel, and life is much better. I was surprised to see people on this site who had trouble with one or both of these drugs. They’re good for me. The give me a quality of life I didn’t think was possible. People react to the med’s differently. One time I talked to this one guy who had trouble with Geodon, and Haldol was easy for him to tolerate. Go figure. All the older, typical anti-psychotics are miserable for me to take. Zyprexa gives me anhedonia, makes me crave sugar and sleep a lot. Zyprexa is bad to give you diabetes. Talk to your doctor about trying the newer, atypical antipsychotics. Hopefully you can find a med. that you can tolerate.

Thanks for your responses. I have tried Abilify for 1 week. I was happier on that, but it did not stop psychosis. I tried Zyprexa, which was still blunting, but somewhat better than haldol… but withdrawal was hell and the reason I am now permanently psychotic (instead of episodes with good functioning inbetween). I want to do without meds, but ever since the Zyprexa I can’t anymore…my psychotic thoughts and fear never leave me.

I will ask my doctor for a change of meds. Maybe Gideon or Seroquel will help.

I think it’s also that I believe the meds suppress my real me. So I am against meds and taking them feels like a great failure… so that’s making me more depressed.

Thanks for your advices.

I will also give sarcosine a try!

BTW - does anyone have experience with antidepressants? My psychosis has always been on the borderline between depression and psychosis. Basicly overwhelming guilt about life choices and terror because I believe I will go to hell for that. Any experience with using only an antidepressant or adding an antidepressant?

DO NOT TAKE AN ANTIDEPRESSANT IF YOU HAVE PSYCHOSIS. Antidepressants usually cause a sharp upswing in symptoms because they release extra dopamine into your brain. Do not try it unless you are being very closely monitored by a capable doctor.

Based on what you’ve said about your medication history, it is very unlikely that your meds caused you to become permanently psychotic. You see, with each episode we have, we are statistically less likely to recover. If you stopped taking meds after every episode was finished, you didn’t have a way to prevent against future episodes. Statistically, at some point you are almost guaranteed to have an episode from which you do not recover. It is easy to blame the medicine because of how it appeared to you. You got sick, you took a medicine, and you got better, so you stopped your meds.You got sick again, took Zyprexia, and didn’t get better. From your point of view, it stopped you from getting better. But from a scientific point of view, your illness was just progressing to a point where the medication could not help you as effectively. If you stay on your meds regularly, you might notice some eventual improvement. When I first started Geodon, I was pretty zombified too. Your system needs time to adjust to the new substance.

Yes. Generally NOT recommended for psychotic patients as anti-D’s tend to make the anxiety and rumination worse for those who are genetically disposed to psychosis.

Had all that. Did this. It worked.

  1. Psychotherapies for that currently include…
    DBT – What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? – Behavioral Tech
    MBSR –
    MBCT -
    ACT – ACT | Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
  2. the even newer somatic psychotherapies like…
    MBBT – An Introduction to Mind-Body Bridging & the I-System – New Harbinger Publications, Inc
    SEPT – Somatic experiencing - Wikipedia
    SMPT – Sensorimotor psychotherapy - Wikipedia
  3. or standard CBTs, like…
    REBT – Rational emotive behavior therapy - Wikipedia
    Schematherapy – Schema therapy - Wikipedia
    Learned Optimism – Learned optimism - Wikipedia
    Standard CBT – Psychotherapy | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness & scroll down
  4. Get two or more of those “down,” and one can use the skills therefrom in this way to combat delusional thinking and emotional reactivity very quickly:

10 StEP – Pair A Docks: The 10 StEPs of Emotion Processing

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I tolerated Wellbutrin just fine but now I take Latuda and since taking that I have cut down my dose of Wellbutrin down to almost a third of what I was taking. Latuda is an antipsychotic with antidepressant properties. It is often prescribed to people with bipolar depression. I added it to Geodon so I take both but my doctor first gave me some free samples of Latuda to try. It made a difference. It is a newer drug so there are no generics but ask your doctor for a trial, nothing to lose

Wow! Thanks for all the advice! I will look into the different forms of therapy.

I have been on antidepressants before for a year and they did not make me psychotic, but I was still more stable back then. Upon withdrawal I became psychotic, that’s why I hoped they would make me better this time, because I only became unstable when withdrawing. The second time I used antidepressants I became a little hypomanic (but at the moment I think I’d even welcome a bit of hypomania as a break from depression). But I will be careful with antidepressants if they’re so bad for psychotic people…don’t want to increase my psychosis, as I’m already fighting to stay out of psychosis all the time.

I will look into the psychotherapy and somatic therapy things… thanks! Good to hear that helped you!

Hm… I will look into Latuda as well. I think it isn’t used much here in my country (Netherlands). They also don’t work with samples etcetera, since everyone is insured for meds. If they are willing to prescribe something other then the usual, I can just use it for free. It’s interesting it’s prescribed for bipolar depression, since bipolar (with depression and hypomania, not fullblown mania) is one of the diagnosis they also thought about for me.

TomCat, could you describe the effect of Latuda? What does it do for you and are there any side effects? I don’t care so much about physical side effects, the emotional effect is more important to me…

It’s no wonder drug but I felt better taking it. I have gained a little weight on it but with all the weight I lost on Geodon I had room to gain some so I am not overly concerned with the weight gain at this point. I noticed a positive difference as soon as I started Latuda so you will be able to tell if it works for you. Good luck.

Me, as well. NOT good. (I didn’t know what was causing it, and I was a true believer in the unquestionable authority of guys with diplomas on their office walls. So I took Paxil for four and a half years. WRONG.)

I understand… I too believed everything the doctors said. Until I noticed the meds did not exactly make me better… my first 3 psychoses were medication or withdrawal responses (1: benzo withdrawal, 2: antidepressant withdrawal, 3: antibiotic reaction). I must have had a predisposition for psychosis already, and also a sensitivity to meds…but still. Since then I’m “a little” sceptical and scared of psychiatrists and meds.

I went to school (four degrees in 20 years, much of it before the Internet era) and learned. (I was able to and understand others may not be.) Now I pretty much tell the p-doc what I am going to take and why. He either argues or he doesn’t (actually he has never argued with me) and shoots me the same script I have had now since about 2006.

you could give a try to alternate medicine like ayurveda . also if fear is a factor you could try aan antidepressant like venlaflaxine or a natural antidep like sarcosine which is discussed in our website

latuda is a good med, I’ve been on if for about 4 years. It works but due to unexpected things happening in my life I’ve relapsed while I was suppose to be taking it, so now i’m on a high dose of 160mgs and Haldol 25mgs. I don’t have anhedonia , but I do have lack of motivatioin and depression but I feel things still just not as strongly as I would like so next month I’m going to try sarcosine.