A Psychiatrist Explains How Depression Affects Sexual Health & the Ways to Deal with it | Wockhardt Hospitals

A Psychiatrist Explains How Depression Affects Sexual Health & the Ways to Deal with it

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Depression can affect all aspects of life including sexual health. Both men and women can experience sexual difficulties when they go through depression. Depression causes low mood, a general disinterest, and a feeling of anhedonia—an inability to enjoy things. These low feelings also lead to an inability in being aroused, maintain arousal (erection), and inability in achieving orgasm. 

We reached out to Dr. Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist at Wockhardt Hospitals in Mumbai, to elaborate on how depression can affect sexual health. Read on.

Negative Emotions Affect Libido

Depression can cause low self-esteem and diffidence, leading to difficulties in expressing thoughts related to physical troubles and mental issues. It can cause one to distance themself from their partner, and the relationship difficulties could end in sexual problems. 

Negative emotions make it difficult to focus on physiological needs and can lead to decreased libido. Some partners may misinterpret the situation, making way for further distancing. Anxiety-related to sex can also develop further problems.

Being tired easily could be a prominent feature of depression. This low energy level can cause low libido and erection difficulties as well. Women can have problems with lubrication and achieving orgasm. Being forced upon can lead to further stress and more anxiety.

Depression and Other Health Conditions Can Co-exist

Sometimes depression can coexist with other physical conditions that can cause sexual difficulties. Hypothyroidism and low testosterone are some of these conditions and they should be screened. Sometimes medications can also have adverse effects on sexual health. Some antihypertensives and antidepressants are known to have sexual side effects. These issues can be discussed with the healthcare provider.

Sexual Health Problems Can Be Cured

It is important to make sure that the partner understands depression and can be non-judgmental about it. A problem-solving attitude can help reduce the burden on the depressed patient. Sexual issues related to depression are not permanent; they can be treated with the right approach. 

When depression is treated, sexual problems arising due to it also heal, so the concept that sexual problems stay for life or can’t be treated is not true at all. Some antidepressants can worsen sexual problems but if discussed beforehand, the treating psychiatrist can start medication that does not affect one’s sexual life. 

Handle with Care and Empathy

Sexual problems due to depression need to be dealt with care and empathy. Emotional support and empathy are key roles and can help strengthen the relationship. Sexual health is often kept to last and not really thought about. Frustration stemming from sexual problems can worsen depression and lead to further problems. 

It is important to discuss all aspects of life during depression and talk about it without feeling uncomfortable. Education and self-awareness can help in improving sexual health and quality of life for someone diagnosed with depression.

Dr Sonal Anand,
Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai

Source: https://www.idiva.com/health-wellness/mental-health/depression-and-its-effect-on-sexual-health/18031650

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