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Coping with erectile dysfunction (ED)

The physical problems of erectile dysfunction can affect a man's mental health.

Being unable to get and maintain an erection can lead to feelings of anger, frustration, sadness and anxiety.

Left untreated, erectile dysfunction and these negative feelings can lead to depression.

Depression that accompanies ED is treatable. The first step in overcoming depression is to be honest with yourself, your partner and your doctor. After depression has been discussed openly, coping with it will be easier and less stressful.

Recognising depression with ED

Depression is an illness marked by persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness and a pessimistic outlook. The most common symptoms of depression include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Apathy

Depression affects the way one feels about oneself and the way one thinks about life. People who are depressed cannot simply “pull themselves together” and get better. Without treatment, symptoms of depression can last indefinitely. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression get back on track.

Diagnosing depression with ED

If you have ED and think you may be depressed, do not suffer in silence. Depression is not a sign of personal weakness. Tell your doctor how you are feeling so that you can start feeling like yourself again.

There is no single test that can diagnose depression, but there are certain patterns that doctors look for in order to make the diagnosis. As a result, your doctor will ask you several questions. Be honest with your answers so that you can receive the care you need.

Treating depression with ED

Treatment for depression may include medication, psychotherapy (talk therapy) or a combination of both.

  • Antidepressants: Many different medications are used to treat depression. Some antidepressants can worsen ED, so be honest with your doctor about your condition so that he or she can prescribe an appropriate treatment.
  • Talk therapy: During therapy, a licensed and trained mental health care professional helps you identify and work through issues related to ED and depression. Types of talk therapy include couples therapy, individual therapy and group therapy.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 01, 2016

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