How Depression Affects Sex, Because It's All-Encompassing

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Anyone who has dealt with depression can attest to the fact that's it's pretty awful. Like a dark cloud in the brain, it drains a person's energy, spirit, and motivation. The condition can also affect a person's libido, which is why it's important to know how depression affects sex. After all, if you're coping with depression, then some sexual side effects may be expected.

Not surprisingly, depression can put the breaks on a healthy sex life. According to the Mayo Clinic, psychological conditions such as depression are a potential cause for low sex drive due to the fact that sexuality largely resides in the brain. As noted by Healthline, feelings of sexual desire begin in the brain, as well as the chemicals responsible for sending blood to sex organs during arousal. Depression, which affects brain chemicals, can lessen a person's sexual response, as further noted by Healthline.

Additionally, the negative thought patterns associated with depression can tank a person's self-esteem and sex drive. According to WebMD, these negative thoughts about one's self can become so habitual that psychotherapy or other treatments are needed to address them. After all, it's difficult to feel passion for another person when you're swamped with self-loathing.

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Even the treatments for depression are notorious for messing with people's libidos. According to Bustle, the reason antidepressant medications often cause a drop in libido is still being researched, but most researchers have found that it's due to the drug's serotonin levels. That said, it does appear to be a common complaint of people who take these medications. According to a 2009 Psychiatry survey of 700 people on antidepressant medication, sexual dysfunction was named as the most commonly stated side effect. Although its exact causes are not completely understood, depression medication does appear to have a very real impact on sexual well-being for many people.

Given these options, it can look like a person suffering from depression is more or less fated to deal with libidinal loss. However, this does not have to be the case. According to WebMD, treating the depression with medication as prescribed is important, and it's possible that switching to a different medication — under a doctor's supervision — can reduce this particular side effect. For what it's worth, some experimentation can often provide depression sufferers with the treatment that works best with their body and sex drive.