06/22/2009 - Questions and Answers

Depression and Sexual Activity

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Question

I've had several attacks of depression, really bad. But now I feel that it's all behind me.

I just can't get my wife to agree that I don't need to take my pills; I think they are hurting my sexual interest and performance.
 

Answer

Unfortunately we can not offer appropriate assistance as we do not know the cause of your depression attacks. What we can do is offer general information regarding depression and erectile dysfunction (ED), which hopefully will be of some help to you in further consultations with your treating doctor, and with your marital relationship. We can though appreciate your concerns regarding your sexual interest and performance. It is important for you to know that sexual activity requires the mind and body to work together. Consequently, many emotional or relationship problems can cause or worsen ED. Depression that accompanies ED is treatable. The first step in overcoming depression is to be honest with yourself, your partner, and your doctor. By talking things through you will, with help, be able to make decisions beneficial to you and your partner. However, deciding that you don't need your pills (which were presumably prescribed for your depression) at this stage, may not be the best thing for you to do, and stopping any medication should always be discussed with your treating doctor, who knows you and the cause of your depression, and is thus the best person to help you to successfully help yourself.
 

Depression affects the way one feels about oneself and the way one thinks about life. It is not uncommon for men with erectile dysfunction (ED) to feel angry, frustrated, sad, or even unsure of them self. When erectile dysfunction proves to be a pattern or a persistent problem, it can interfere with a man's self-image as well as his and his partner's sexual life. There are many possible causes of (ED). It can result from physical or psychological factors or both.
 

In reality, depression affects both sexes, disrupting relationships and interfering with work and daily activities. The symptoms of depression are similar for both men and women, but they tend to be expressed differently. The most common symptoms of depression include low self-esteem; suicidal thoughts; loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities; fatigue; changes in appetite; sleep disturbances; apathy; and sexual problems, including reduced sex drive.
 

Understanding how men in our society are brought up to behave is particularly important in identifying and treating their depression. Depression in men often can be traced to cultural expectations. Men are supposed to be successful. They should restrain their emotions. They must be in control. These cultural expectations can mask some of the true symptoms of depression, forcing men to express aggression and anger (viewed as more acceptable "tough guy" behavior) instead. In addition, men generally have a harder time dealing with the stigma of depression. They tend to deal with their symptoms with a macho attitude or by drinking alcohol. This attitude still pervades many male-dominated institutions, such as the military and athletics, where men are taught that "toughness" means putting up with physical pain and admitting to emotional distress is taboo. Rather than seek help, which means admitting to what they perceive as a weakness, men are more likely to deal with their depression by drinking heavily or committing suicide.
 

This is an excerpt from an article on our website "Self-Help for Depression?". Please see related links below. "All the things that people must do to recover from depression are made difficult by virtue of the symptoms of depression". The main ways of coping with this Catch-22 situation are summarized here. Set modest goals and don't rush. But here's another Catch-22 -- slow progress to your goals is itself depressing! So begin with modest short-term goals, and save the long-term goals for later. Tackle the following areas one by one. Physical Health - Seeking Pleasure - Thinking - Relationships - Comprehensive Treatment. You may also need to obtain appropriate professional guidance, and the related links below may be of added assistance to you.
 

Related Links
Depression in Men
ED-Related Depression
Self-Help for Depression?
Depression
Erectile dysfunction
Putting Male Sex Problems Right
Therapists for Sexual Issues

Created on: 08/07/2006
Reviewed on: 06/22/2009

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