Erectile Dysfunction & Depression / Anxiety
Mental health problems can affect our daily life and routine activities, and for men, this might mean their sexual performance and ability to have erections. Some researchers have found that almost a quarter of men with erectile dysfunction (ED) can also suffer from depression, anxiety, or both.
Depression and anxiety are two very common health and unfortunately, they can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction.
As we All know, that the connection between mental health and ED is real. Here’s how depression and anxiety can disrupt signals from the brain to the penis, and what steps you can take to overcome this.
How are depression and anxiety related to erectile dysfunction?
There’s good stress and bad stress when it comes to sexual performance, and depression and anxiety fall under the latter. When your brain experiences healthy stress — for example, from exercise, a new relationship, or a promotion at work — your body tends to release testosterone. When you’re sexually stimulated, that extra testosterone helps to relax the blood vessels in your penis and cause an erection.
However, when your brain is under unhealthy stress — for example, from traumatic events, relationship problems, or work stress — your body can release a hormone called cortisol instead. Cortisol constricts the blood vessels in your penis. When blood can’t flow properly to your penis, that’s when you may have difficulty achieving an erection.
Over time, chronic stress (chronically high cortisol levels) decreases the amount of testosterone your body makes. Low testosterone is common in men with mental health issues like depression and anxiety who experience erectile dysfunction.
As antidepressants are help ful in boosting a person’s mood or sense of self-worth, some types of antidepressants — for example, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — can have undesirable side effects. Those side effects can result in sexual problems.
What types of sexual problems are associated with antidepressants?
Sexual problems with antidepressants may include:
- Inability to initiate or enjoy sex
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) or delayed ejaculation for men
- Decreased sexual desire
- Inability to achieve an orgasm
While the answer to this question is different for everyone, there are three main steps your doctor will take to help you with your erectile dysfunction if you also experience depression or anxiety.
1) Determine if your ED is caused by another health problem
Most erectile dysfunction symptoms (including premature ejaculation) are linked to physical (not psychological) conditions, so it’s important to make sure your body is physically healthy. Things like diabetes, smoking, heart disease, and prostate cancer are common causes of ED. If you are otherwise physically fit but are experiencing depression or anxiety, your doctor will give treatment for that.
2) Treat your depression or anxiety
When erectile dysfunction is caused by depression or anxiety, Doctors will focus first and foremost on treating your mental health issues, whether through therapy and/or prescription medications. If you can relieve your mental stressors, your erectile dysfunction symptoms are likely to improve, too.
While some men might see taking medication for mental health as embarrassing, just know that it can make a huge difference in your quality of life. Also, remember that many of the antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications out there take about 4 to 6 weeks to really start working, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not feeling any changes right away.
In recent years, we’ve been getting more and more questions about pornography-induced erectile dysfunction. While watching these kinds of videos isn’t a mental health disease, it does have to do with the mind having an effect on sexual health.
studies so far have shown that the more frequently men watch pornographic videos, the more frequently they experience ED symptoms. The men in these studies were otherwise healthy and under 40 years of age. Many of these men found that over time, they either had to watch more videos or watch more extreme content to achieve an erection. Many also found that they couldn’t enjoy sex with their partners as much. research shows that this phenomenon can be reversed by not watching pornography for a few weeks.
4) Treat the erectile dysfunction directly
Sometimes, even after you’ve figured out how to manage your mental health issues, (Depression & Anxiety) you may still have symptoms of erectile dysfunction. For example, ED is a possible side effect of many antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. If that’s the case, there are medications available that just treat erectile dysfunction, directly .