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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Anhedonia is defined as the reduced ability to anticipate or expect future rewards, recognize or appreciate present rewards, and learn methods of obtaining rewards. It is a core symptom of depression and a correlate of many anxiety disorders. Anhedonia is a unique and significant predictor of negative long-term outcomes and poor treatment response. Despite the apparent link between diminished positive affect and affective disorders, current psychotherapies for anxiety and depression primarily focus on minimizing negative affect (e.g., sadness, thoughts of death) with little focus on addressing deficits in positive affect (anhedonia). This chapter reviews current and emerging interventions that target anhedonia, including a discussion of possible mechanisms (i.e., factors that explain change) of these treatments. It concludes with directions for future research in this important area.

Keywords: anhedonia, reward, reward sensitivity, anticipation of reward, consumption of reward, learning of reward, efficient treatments, mechanisms, negative valence system, positive valence system

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