Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Rutgers University Research Professor and evolutionary anthropologist Helen Fisher theorizes that SSRI antidepressants may blunt the intensity of romance and other aspects of falling in love as well as ongoing feelings of attachment. Makes sense when you think about it. These medications inhibit obssessive thoughts and dampen sexual desire, both major hallmarks of that initial rush of falling in love. They also dampen the overall experience of feelings. Fisher states, "SSRIs also suppress sexual desire, sexual arousal and orgasm in as many as 73% of users. These sexual responses evolved to enhance courtship, mating and parenting. Orgasm produces a flood of oxytocin and vasopressin, chemicals associated with feelings of attachment and pairbonding behaviors." She worries that as these medications become more and more prevalent, they could actually alter courtship and parenting patterns in unpredictable and possibly disastrous ways.
Have you or anyone you know experienced anything like what Fisher described? What would you do if you had to choose between being depressed or being in love?


Rena Marks said...

Definitely being in love - it'll cure depression without the meds. Now should that relationship wither, you're back to square one. It's a vicious cycle. Makes you understand rebound relationships.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the meds definitely suppress you. Been there, done that, hated it. My choice? I stopped taking the meds and worked on positive thinking - a little romance and good sex definitely makes you feel better than any med can! In SO many ways ;)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, having suffered from depression for years, I'll take the medication. SSRIs have changed my life for the better. It's a relief waking up every day and not wanting to kill yourself. Yes, SSRIs did disrupt my sex life for a month and rendered me unable to orgasm. But once that month was over, everything was great again. Personally, everyone in my family is happier now including my number one man. I must say, serious depression was far more detrimental to my love life. If you can't experience any joy - you can't fall in love or love well.

Finally, I have to say, that like all medications, SSRIs shouldn't be taken lightly.

Susan Edwards said...

I agree that you need to be very careful taking SSRIs, or any medication for that matter. I am amazed by the smart women I know who have taken handfuls of meds every day for years without knowing side effects, cross-toxicity and long-term consequences. That said, when you need an antidepressant, nothing, not even sex, helps as much as just sucking it up and taking your meds. I took em for hot flashes and mood swings associated with perimenopause, and I admit everyone around me was happier too, even my bf. They did suppress my sexual appetite but I also wasn't biting his head off every time he opened his mouth. I think the smart way to take these sorts of meds for that kind of situational misery is to take as directed and when the cloud lifts a bit, start working on your attitude, thought patterns, habits etc. to rebuild your mental health and then get off the meds if you can. Maybe you'll have to go back to them at some point; maybe not. Just don't trust doctors to care enough to monitor you. They'll just write you a prescription to shut you up and write you another one to counteract the negative effects of the first one and another and another until they have you so strung out you don't know what end is up. Can you tell this is a hot button issue for me? I've seen doctors seriously screw up people's lives by indiscriminately prescribing medications and not bothering to monitor their effects and it makes my blood boil.