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Sexual problems and depression

Sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction (ED) or an inability to have an orgasm, often co-exist with depression and depression treatments.

Having depression doesn't mean a person will have sex problems, and sex problems won't always lead to depression - but it is important to realise the two can be connected.

What is the link between sexual problems and depression?

Although the sex organs are what people may think of first when considering what's involved in sex and desire - things really kick off in the brain.

If chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters are out of balance, a person may have mental health problems, such as depression. These brain chemicals are also important for sending triggers to other parts of the body about getting ready for sex.

Being depressed can also make a person less interested in things they usually enjoy, including sex.

Seek medical advice about symptoms of depression and sex problems.

A doctor may be able to recommend treatments for both conditions.

Do antidepressants cause sexual problems?

SSRIs and SNRIs - types of antidepressants - have sexual problems as possible side-effects.

For women this could mean problems having an orgasm, delayed orgasms or spontaneous orgasms - climaxing without having sex.

For men this could be a lower sex drive, erection problems, delayed ejaculation or not being able to climax.

Another possible side-effect is a prolonged erection called a priapism that requires urgent medical attention.

If antidepressants are causing sex problems, talk to your doctor. They may be able to recommend a different drug or alternative approach - such as therapy or an exercise programme.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 29, 2016

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