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Customer Review

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected, October 8, 2007
This review is from: Thrilled to Death: How the Endless Pursuit of Pleasure Is Leaving Us Numb (Paperback)
Thrilled to Death
By Dr. Archibald D. Hart

Dr. Hart explains anhedonia as the reduced ability to experience
pleasure. The lack of the ability to experience pleasure affects every
aspect of our lives: sexuality, addictions, relationships,
spirituality... He shares how the fast paced lives we live and the
increasing numbers of electronic gadgets we use in our day to day
lives rob us of the ability to feel pleasure and cause us to feel numb
to everything except the most extreme pleasure eliciting activities.
Where as in the past anhedonia was only seen in clients with major
depression or other severe mental illnesses it is more and more common
to see it as the illness and not just a symptom.

Dr. Hart shows in several simple diagrams how the feeling of pleasure
is lost as anhedonia develops due to over stimulation and a flooding
of dopamines which raises the threshold barrier that enjoyment must
cross in order to reach the pleasure center of the brain, requiring
major pleasures which are commonly found in drugs and other addicting
behaviors to cross the high threshold. This brings to mind an often
quoted "law" stated in my family home the "law of diminishing returns"
which in simple terms is the fact that the first candy bar always
taste far better than the 2nd, 5th, 10th... I wonder if this could be
attributed to the pleasure center's threshold being raised by each
successive candy bar eaten. As more is learned about our brains and
how they work is discovered and researched it is becoming apparent
that the ability to feel pleasure and feelings of happiness with your
life are closely intertwined.

I found it useful and insightful that Dr. Hart included many self
tests: stress level, internet addiction, test for anhedonia, laughter,
anhedonia in children, multitasking addiction, emotional eating... To
help the reader gauge where they fall in needing to put the second
half of the book to use in their life where Dr. Hart gives seven steps
in the recovery process of being able to experience pleasure even in
life's smallest pleasure giving moments.

The seven steps are: 1. Seek the right form of pleasure 2. Recapture
the joy of little things 3. Control your adrenaline 4. Use humor to
enhance your happiness 5. Develop appreciation and gratitude 6. Master
relaxation and meditation 7. Make space for things that matter.

If you or someone you love has been experiencing a lack of feelings
towards things that used to give you pleasure or you find in general
you feel numb much of the time this is the book you are looking for
although you might not have known it. I especially think it would be a
helpful read for parents as they evaluate what is important in their
children's lives to keep and what to opt out of for the health of
their children and themselves.
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Location: Indiana

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