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SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by music321, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. music321

    music321 Peer Supporter

    Like 60% of SSRI users, I suffer from SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. There are several types. Some problems have to do with physical functioning, some with cognitive sexual functioning, and some with both. Some people have problems while on SSRIs and get it back. Some have problems while on SSRIs, and never get it back, even when they discontinue. Strangely, some people have few/no problems while on SSRIs, only to have problems manifest once they discontinue.

    Without getting into the details of my 2.5 decades of SSRI use, back in 2012, I stopped taking 30mg of Prozac cold turkey. It wasn't my intention to discontinue, I simply forgot due to tremendous pressure. I was also suffering a marked uptic in IBS symptoms at around this time also. My discontinuation, as is often the case with SSRIs, was asymptomatic for the first month. Thereafter, I experienced absolute hell. My body could not regulate temperature properly, I had severe sleeping problems, etc., etc. My sexual function, physical and cognitive, went to nothing. In about a year, I fully regained physical sexual functioning (I'm a male, BTW). However, ever since the withdrawal, I have been left with some cognitive issues. It took several years before I could think properly. I have nowhere near the appreciation for aesthetics that I once had. I don't ever drink alcohol, simply because it no longer has any sort of euphoric effect on me. Most troubling, I have almost no libido. It's not just that I'm "not in the mood". I am (was?) attracted to women. Now, a woman's body isn't even slightly arousing. Looking at a woman's body is like looking at a fancy car: I can appreciate the beauty of the form, but am not sexually attracted to it. Furthermore, all physical interaction means little to nothing. Hugging a loved one means little. I used to have a pet. I would pet the pet for his benefit, not for mine. I no longer got much out of the experience.

    When I started experiencing the withdrawal, I immediately went back up to 20 mg/day under a doctor's supervision. Over years, I've been able to decrease to my current dose of 10mg/day. The only way I can taper off of the medication is to be in a calm place in life, and to get physical exercise. Otherwise, the anxiety is overwhelming. Even so, I have historically decreased my dosage by about 0.4 mg/month (a very slow taper). Going any faster causes problems. I am very much dependent on the SSRI, and can't stop at this point.

    It seems pretty common among SSRI users, to have a "loss of sexual desire", as it's often phrased. Though I've never done any sort of psychedelic drug, I've looked to the experiences of LSD users to find some answers (since SSRI meds and LSD are chemically similar, and act on the same receptors). There are lots of LSD users that claim cognitive problems decades after use also. Online, sufferers of "PSSD" (Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction, i.e., sexual dysfunction that persists after having discontinued SSRIs) claim almost no improvement. Yes, there are many that regain functioning that has been lost once the medication is discontinued. However, of those whose problems persist, recovery is vanishingly rare. In fact, online cases of recovery (of which I've found three after quite a bit of searching seemed dubious or incomplete.

    Now to the TMS part...

    I have read that those that also have fibromyalgia (i.e., extreme TMS) often exhibit sensitivity toward medication. I hold out some hope regarding my condition, as I am still on the SSRI. My sexual desire was a large part of my life. Looking at this from a TMS perspective, and just from the perspective of getting on with life, I think that I need to come to terms with the fact that I might have been permanently chemically castrated. I can't seem to, though. I suppose that I have not sufficiently mourned my loss.

    My problem is that if my sexuality doesn't recover, I don't have much motivation to recover from my TMS. I feel that life would be pointless without the sexual component of my being. I would like to know if these problems could be TMS. Unfortunately, they're very rare. It's not similar to someone having a bone x-rayed, being told that their fine, and then being able to focus on the emotional aspect. I have no reason to believe that this won't be permanent. My other major issue, as mentioned in another thread, is a life-long inability to concentrate. The sexuality issue and the concentration issue are together the biggest problems I have, even though I currently can hardly walk. Luckily, another user claimed to have been able to overcome concentration problems with a TMS approach. Maybe someone can help me out. Thanks.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  2. Mary80

    Mary80 Peer Supporter

    this is my experience with various medicines:

    For many years I took allergy medicines and when I've stopped I've have had a lot of lethargy, no more red eyes, lacrimation,sneezing but a lot of lethargy, tiredness and asthma...:shifty: now everything back to normal ..every year the doctor gave me a lot of antihistamine...as a cure..now I only take them if is really necessary..I had too much and without good reason and they were giving me ..other problems. now stop!!!
    For SSRI same speech...the second I realized there are a lot of side effects I preferred anxiety..I would also like to say that a variety of studies shows how antidepressant don't work. I got them for my vulvodynia among other things and I've felt worse after I stopped them... you're not permanently chemically castrated.believe me...you 're only asleep...It takes a long time to go out.. especially if you took them for many years...so you need to choose.. drugs or yourself and your sexual desire..if you choose option 2 you need to do a lot of hard work to solve your anxiety..and just let your body and your brain return to normal.
    you must be patient.

    I f you want to know more ask me a specific question
    plum and Dorado like this.
  3. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with Mary.

    STOP reading stories online; plenty of people have recovered, they just don’t always post about it online. Those drug and withdrawal forums are the absolute WORST.

    I have also been on antidepressants, and many of my friends (whom I know in person, not just in a forum where anyone can say anything) have as well.

    As with anything, anxiety stimulates your nervous system, which can disrupt the repairs that occur after SSRI/SNRI withdrawal. Anxiety also affects your neurotransmitters and hormones. Additionally, withdrawal can cause central sensitization where you’re experiencing sensations even after the body as healed itself. The body naturally heals itself. Relax and disregard what you’ve read. I don’t care what anyone says on this topic - NOTHING IN LIFE HAS TO BE PERMANENT. Believe this 100%.

    If you’re concerned about neurotransmitters and hormones, perhaps look into working with a doctor who is familiar with neurotransmitter testing, such as what’s offered by Sanesco: https://sanescohealth.com/neurolab/

    It’s not as accurate as something like a spinal tap, but it can give you a pretty decent idea as to what’s going on in your body (one doctor likened it to looking through your trash can to determine what’s in your fridge and cabinets), and they recommend NATURAL supplements to help you, not pharmaceutical drugs. This has helped a great deal of patients - the proof is in the results.

    Perhaps you could request genetic testing that sees how you respond to SSRIs and SNRIs for further insight.

    Relax and work on your anxiety. And stay off forums, and forget about the horror stories you’ve read. You have no idea what else is going on their lives to contribute to what they’re experiencing. Plenty of people have recovered from taking Prozac, even if it took some extra time and/or working with a doctor who can help with things like neurotransmitter testing and natural remedies.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2019
    miffybunny and plum like this.
  4. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Also, I really, really recommend trying the doctor who will work with Sanesco option. It’s clear Prozac is no longer making you happy, which is often the case with long-term anti-depressant use (ever heard of “Prozac poop out”?), and it’s not OK for any doctor to just continue prescribing it to you without considering other options that may be more beneficial. You can recover, and you need to work with someone who helps you facilitate this recovery. Staying on Prozac and doing nothing else when it’s already not working for you is creating a loop of the same results over and over again. It sounds like Prozac stopped working for you after the withdrawal, which is not uncommon (lots of people are unable to achieve success with an anti-depressant they stopped taking once before), and it’s not going to restore your inner balance at this point.

    What I’m basically saying is, your brain is not broken from Prozac - you just need to help it start creating neurotransmitters again (and don’t listen to anyone who says anything is permanent).

    Sanesco offers natural treatments (often amino acids combined with other ingredients from Mother Nature) that help you start creating neurotransmitters again and are only taken for short periods of time, unlike anti-depressants that just “recycle” neurotransmitters and need to be used for long periods of time (and can be a chore to discontinue). Combined with working on your anxiety and living a healthy lifestyle, this could be an absolute game changer for your life. Per Sanesco:

    SOURCE: http://www.addictioninamerica.com/sanesco/ (SANESCO NEURO-ENDOCRINE REBALANCING SYSTEM)

    Poor memory and focus, apathy, and low libido are mentioned by Sanesco in the above link. They know about these symptoms and how they’re correlated with specific neurotransmitters, and know which treatments can help you increase them when anti-depressants stop working. This is what they do.

    Here is a sample of the highly individualized reporting provided to your doctor by Sanesco, which is just incredible and includes fantastic (and natural!) treatment plans: https://sanescohealth.com/wp-conten...e-Report-w-Questionnaire-2016-12-30-16-MR.pdf

    And no, I do not work for Sanesco - I just have a doctor who uses them with great success. :)

    For what it's worth, this is the genetic testing my doctor uses to see how someone responds to anti-depressants: https://genomind.com/the-genecept-assay/clinicians/genes-analyzed/
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  5. music321

    music321 Peer Supporter

    Thanks Mary and Caulfield. I'd like nothing better than to get off of the meds, but given my present circumstances, it would simply be too anxiety provoking. I'll check out the amino acid literature that you cited. It could help quite a bit. You've both set my mind at ease, somewhat. It will take a little while for me to process this. Best of luck with your journeys!
  6. Mary80

    Mary80 Peer Supporter

    I'm sorry I would just ask you. . .
    Do you know what a panic attack is and why does it happen?
  7. music321

    music321 Peer Supporter

    Wow, thanks a bunch regarding the heads up with the amino acid supplements. You might have saved me from a real disaster.
  8. music321

    music321 Peer Supporter

    I've reached a point where I'm trying to see a positive future for myself, and go for it. This means either realizing that certain things that I think are broken in my life actually aren't, or accepting those things that are. The SSRI related issues might be TMS. I recently came across a post, after having avoided the withdrawal forums since this thread, regarding someone that recovered by dealing with their trauma. Maybe this really is the answer.

    I have lingering doubts though, for the following reason: Rat studies have shown that rats exposed to SSRI while in utero, or as adolescents have decreased sexual functioning throughout their lives. I have a hard time believing that these rats are just suffering from TMS. I realize that you aren't doctors, and even if you were, this is uncharted medical territory. I wonder if anyone can speak to this, though. Thanks.
  9. miffybunny

    miffybunny Well known member

    I agree with Mary And Dorado who have given you good advice. I've been on and off Prozac since 1991 and it's just one tool in the toolbox. I think you are making a way bigger deal out of the Prozac than it it really is and you are overthinking the whole thing. Stay away from scientific articles about rat studies and forums filled with horror stories. I can guarantee you, everything you are attributing to the Prozac, has nothing to do with the Prozac. It's just another distraction and something to obsess over. I hope this is not coming across as harsh because it's meant in the nicest way...I've been down all these roads so I know what it's like. Sexual libido is something that begins in the MIND and has everything to do with emotions and your feelings for another person. I could easily attribute lack of libido to menopause or declining hormones for ex.....but I think it's it's a very tiny part of the equation. It always comes down to mindset.
  10. Iwilldeadlift

    Iwilldeadlift Newcomer

    Stop porn and masturbation; you have to keep your semen inside. Its your lifeforce. Protect it. It will protect you. Depression and anxiety wont be part of your reality anymore afterwards.

    You ll litterally feel like james bond once you get the hang of it

    Same for women, no touching, erotica, etc and you ll feel like wonderwoman
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  11. music321

    music321 Peer Supporter

    I don't think you understand. I haven't had any desire to view porn or to masturbate in years.

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