How To Increase Libido While On Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are medications, that are used for the treatment of clinical depression. They prevent the recurrence of depression symptoms. Apart from that, these medications are used for treating several other mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorder, and so on.

These medications commonly contribute to sexual side effects, including:

  • Low sex drive (libido)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Orgasmic disorders
  • Difficulty getting aroused sexually  

Most antidepressants belong to the category of drugs known as SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). These drugs work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the body. It can have a negative impact on the sex drive.  

Ways to manage sexual side effects of antidepressants

  • According to the Harvard Health website, about 35% to 50% of people with untreated clinical depression develop erectile dysfunction. They continue to experience impotence issues until they seek treatment for depression.
  • It is also possible that some might experience erection difficulties because of underlying depression. Depression results because of some chemical imbalances happening in the brain.
  • The effects of antidepressants balance these brain chemicals and restore the balance. While balancing the chemicals, the other functions might be impacted. As a result, sexual arousal is influenced significantly.   

Some effective techniques that can be beneficial for managing libido problems are as follows:

See your doctor

  • If you are experiencing issues with libido, then you must speak to your doctor. They have prescribed the medicine and they are well aware of the sexual side effects of it.
  • In case you experience some other problems related to sexual function, such as erectile dysfunction, or orgasmic disorder, then they might make some changes in the dosage. Or they might prescribe you some other drug instead of the one you are having.
  • Changes in the dose or medication can reduce the sexual side effects. Talking to your doctor will make the problem less severe. Never stop its usage unless your doctor asks you to do so.     

Change dosage  

  • The sexual side effects can be sometimes intense. This can happen because of high doses of antidepressants. Although the usage of it is essential for the treatment of mental health concerns, one cannot stop its usage altogether.   
  • A reduction in the dose will ensure that the mental health condition is managed well and there will also be a less severe impact on sexual function. To know the appropriate dose, you must consult your doctor. They will guide you on this.   

Switch to a different type of antidepressant

  • Some types of antidepressants might give rise to severe side effects. Whereas other types of drugs might produce minor to almost no side effects at all in some men.
  • Switching to a different type of drug can help eliminate the severe sexual side effects.   
  • Mostly SSRIs are linked to sexual side effects. Replacing them with some other category or type of antidepressant will help reduce the severity of side effects.   

Schedule sex

  • The effects of the antidepressant may be profound or at peak during its effective time. It happens because of its high concentration in the body. It is best to avoid having sex during that time.    
  • You can have sex when the effects of the medicine are about to fade. In that way, your sexual function and arousal will not be interfered with by the effects of the medicines.  

Talk to a sex therapist

  • A sex therapist can help you to reduce the stress due to sexual dysfunction. Talking to them honestly and sharing your sexual problems with them will help you seek appropriate remedies. Along with the above-listed techniques, you can go for this one.   
  • The therapist will talk you through your relationship issues. They will analyze your problem and try to provide solutions. They will help you resolve your sexual difficulties by providing you with some training sessions.     
  • The effects of antidepressants vary from one person to another. While some people experience serious sexual side effects, others might develop some minor side effects. In some, the side effects are almost negligible.   

How do antidepressants work?    

  • The antidepressant medications cause imbalances in the brain chemicals. They work by boosting the levels of a neurotransmitter chemical, known as, serotonin. These drugs may prolong and extend the time it takes for the brain to reach the threshold for causing the sexual response.
  • It is necessary to note that the impacts of antidepressants can vary from individual to individual, and not everyone will experience the sexual side effects of the same intensity. 
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