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Erectile Dysfunction and Depression

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It is not uncommon for men with erectile dysfunction to feel angry, frustrated, sad, or insecure. Such feelings, if not dealt with, can eventually lead to depression.

Depression that accompanies ED is treatable. The first step in overcoming depression is to be honest with yourself, your partner, and your doctor. After depression has been brought out into the open, coping with it will be easier and less stressful.

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Erectile dysfunction is a widespread problem. Up to 39% of 40-year-old men report some degree of erectile dysfunction, and two-thirds of men over age 70 have significant symptoms. Erectile dysfunction isn't life-threatening, but that doesn't mean it's not serious. Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) are more likely to feel depressed and report less enjoyment in life. Thanks to advertisements for drugs that treat it, you may have heard more about erectile dysfunction than you ever cared to. But...

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Recognizing Depression

Depression is an illness marked by persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, and a pessimistic outlook.

Some of the symptoms of depression include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities (such as sex and hobbies)
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Apathy
  • Drug and/or alcohol use
  • Suicidal thoughts

Depression affects the way one feels about oneself and life in general. People who are depressed cannot simply "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms of depression can last indefinitely. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression get back on track.

Diagnosing Depression

If you think you may be depressed, don't suffer in silence. Depression is not a sign of personal weakness. Tell your doctor how you are feeling so that you can start feeling like yourself again.

There is no single test that can diagnose depression; however, there are certain patterns that doctors look for in order to make the diagnosis. As a result, your doctor will ask you several questions. Be honest with your answers so that you can receive the care you need.

Treating Depression

Treatment for depression may include medication, talk therapy, or a combination of both.

  • Antidepressants: Many different drugs, including Prozac, Zoloft, Elavil, and Wellbutrin, are used to treat depression. Some antidepressants can worsen ED, so be honest with your doctor about your condition so that he or she can prescribe an appropriate treatment.
  • Talk therapy: During therapy, a licensed and trained mental health care professional helps you identify and work through issues related to depression. Types of talk therapy include couples therapy, individual therapy, and group therapy.

 

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Charles E. Jennings, MD on September 12, 2013

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