"Anti-Depressants Sexual Side Effects"

Anti-Depressants Sexual Side Effects

"happy yes ... lusting no."

sexual desire decreases as happiness increases
At this point in the evolution of our pharmacologically dependent culture, it's well known that a major drawback of anti-depressants such as Prozac and Zoloft is that they often come with serious sexual side effects, namely low desire.

Although it's also well known that these side effects have never prompted any sort of major study, so the number of actual incidents of low desire is WAY higher than reported. In fact, it's not inaccurate to say that almost everyone on an SSRI, man or woman, is sexually affected in some form or another.

SSRIs (also known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) increase serotonin levels in the brain, and while this has a demonstrable calming and stabilizing effect on patients, it also seriously impairs desire, arousal and orgasm.

In fact, in men, low doses of SSRIs can actually help curb premature ejaculation, but have the unfortunate effect of building-up and gradually inhibiting -- great now just when you can finally last longer, you no longer want to have sex! A new premature ejaculation pill from Johnson & Johnson called Dapoxetine is actually a failed SSRI -- it doesn't help with depression, it doesn't impair desire, but it does help with climax-control.

Those who struggle with depression or anxiety disorder often praise the mood-stabilizing effects of drugs like Prozac, but lament and come to accept the permanent loss of a sex life. And their partners? Depression. Anxiety. Frustration... and often infidelity.

In the field of sexual medicine, we are only at the cusp of understanding the relationship between brain and body, and patients are often an unintentional testing-ground. For the last couple of years I've been talking about the role of dopamine, a natural neurotransmitter, in triggering arousal and desire and the role of dopamine-producing drugs such as Wellbutrin (the brand name for bupropion hydrochloride.)

Dopamine is a natual sex-chemical, the "infatuation elixir." Dopamine fuels the chase of sex and makes its achievement all the sweeter. The excitement of dopamine plays a role in sexual compulsion as well as infidelity, and is also produced in addicts and risk-taking athletes, in that it has a relationship to adrenaline. While it's widely known that dopamine plays a role in sexual desire, it's lesser known that psyhciatrists often blend dopamine with SSRIs when their patients lose interest in sex or suffer sexual side effects such inability to reach orgasm.

If you're really suffering from low desire, you might want to talk to your doctor about Wellbutrin, but also do some research of your own. And watch out, guys: if you've suffered from premature ejaculation, but have enjoyed the effects of delayed ejaculation rendered by an SSRI, going on Wellbutrin may actually cause you to become quick on the trigger again.

Drew Voight

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