Anhedonia, the lack of interest in previously pleasurable activities, is sometimes a symptom of depression and has been associate with worse outcomes. In this study, Gollan and colleagues looked at anhedonia in postpartum women with either unipolar postpartum depression (MDD; n=136) or bipolar postpartum depression (n=104) to determine the prevalence, severity, and trajectory of illness when anhedonia is part of the symptom spectrum. The authors found that postpartum anhedonia is twice as prevalent in women with bipolar disorder compared to those with unipolar disorder and has different trajectories with either disorder (Figure 1). In women with MDD, the probability of having anhedonia steadily increased from 2 weeks to 52 weeks postpartum whereas in women with bipolar disorder, the probability of having anhedonia started high and remained there. Given the association between anhedonia in depression and poorer outcomes, these data indicate that more research and interventional strategies are necessary.
Figure 1. Frequency of Postpartum Anhedonia by Diagnosis
Anhedonia had a much higher frequency in bipolar postpartum depression and remained steadily high from 2 wo 52 weeks. Anhedonia in unipolar postpartum MDD was lower but steadily increased with time.
Gollan JK et al. Psychiatry Res 2021;306:114274. Abstract.