When Antidepressants Leave Lasting Damage: Living with Post-SSRI/SNRI Sexual Dysfunction

close up of antidepressant pills
By Guest Contributor |

by Emily Grey

My clitoris is now no more than an inert and sensation-less nub of flesh. I am unable to feel attraction, arousal or orgasm.… The effects of losing my sexuality have been absolutely devastating to my relationships and mental health. I have been robbed of an essential aspect of my humanity.” – Emily, age 24, PSSD 2 years

Sexuality is an integral part of our lives, central to our identity, our quality of life, and the ways we connect with other human beings. So what happens to those of us whose sexuality is removed or severely diminished by a medication? What about when that eliminated or compromised sexuality does not recover, even after the medication is stopped? For people with long-term Post-SSRI/SNRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD), the impacts to our lives can be substantial.

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) are classes of psychoactive pharmaceuticals used to treat depression and other mental health conditions. They come under many names and are known for causing reduced libido during treatment for many people. SSRIs are better known for this side effect than SNRIs, but both can have an impact on sexual functioning. For many users of antidepressants, the sexual side-effects are the reason they eventually discontinue the drug, with or without medical supervision.

When we patients bring our concerns about sexual functioning while on antidepressants to our health care providers, we are almost universally told that our sexuality will return to normal after tapering off the drug. Unfortunately, recent data has emerged showing that this is not always true. Some people continue to experience sexual dysfunction for weeks, months, or years after stopping the medication. Sometimes, these symptoms emerge only after tapering off the medication.

For an unfortunate minority, a total elimination of sexual drive persists indefinitely. We may have severe or total loss of erotic sensation in our genitals, sometimes to the point of tactile numbness. We may be unable to experience attraction, arousal, or orgasm – for long periods and with no other discernible cause apart from treatment with antidepressants.

In addition to the loss of libido and sexual sensation (numbness of genitalia and other erogenous zones), my general sensitivity to the pleasure of touch has declined. A caress on bare skin registers as little more than pressure…. There is a feeling of numbness, as if there is some kind of barrier between my skin and the source of contact. — Ellen, age 48, PSSD for 14 years

Finally, some of us find our reduced sexual functioning is accompanied by emotional and cognitive symptoms such as “brain fog” or reduced emotional range, commonly referred to as “emotional blunting.” A common variant of this is the reduced or removed ability to experience emotions of romantic attachment.

The accompanying emotional blunting … has eliminated all romantic feeling from my heart and mind…. – Emily, age 24, PSSD 2 years

The prevalence of these symptoms among patients treated with SSRIs and SNRIs is unknown, as are the underlying causes, risk factors, and recovery rates. There is currently no known effective treatment.

For many years, the medical community was skeptical of the existence of PSSD. Patients were frequently told that our symptoms were a result of a mental health condition, despite the fact that we had never experienced such symptoms prior to antidepressant treatment.

When I brought some literature on PSSD to my former psychiatrist, she refused to even look at it, dismissing it—and my concerns—as “ridiculous.” I have also raised it with my current GP, but he’s not interested in hearing about it. – Ellen, age 48, PSSD for 14 years

That view is now shifting due to the dedicated work of researchers, whose documentation of PSSD cases led to the recognition of PSSD as an iatrogenic (meaning caused by medical treatment) condition by the European Medicines Agency. Though not yet recognised outside of Europe, doctors around the world are slowly becoming more aware of the risk of Post SSRI/SNRI Sexual Dysfunction. Health Canada put SSRIs and SNRIs under review for long-term sexual dysfunction in 2018 and the report is expected soon.

For those of us who do not regain our sexuality, or only partially regain it, the future is a long road of reaching acceptance and rebuilding our sense of self:

The trauma and grief and loss can’t be blocked down by a vision of miracle reversal. To be honest it’s more of a slow rebirth. Like dying and coming back to life as a new person entirely. – Kara, age 29, PSSD for 7 years

Patient activist groups are now springing up around the world to advocate for recognition and more research into the causes, rates, and potential treatments of this disorder. Our group – PSSD Canada – was established in May 2020 to advocate for PSSD sufferers in our home country of Canada and internationally. We are explicitly not anti-psychiatry or against the use of antidepressant medication, but we advocate for greater research, awareness, and transparency of the potential health risks so that patients can be better informed about using these drugs. We collect personal stories, academic sources, and professional statements of support at our website and invite others to be in touch with us  (pssdcanada@gmail.com) as we learn more about this condition.

Emily Grey is the co-coordinator of PSSD Canada.

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134 Comments

  1. L says:

    I have been suffering from it for 7 years. In my case some desire and pleasure of intimacy has survived, but all sexual excitement and pleasure from my genitals has disappeared, in particular the clitoris is as if it were no longer there and no longer gives any erogenous sensation. This is creepy and unfair. I hope that those who have the power and the duty to intervene will do so as soon as possible. Those who take this drug must be warned properly, and those who have already been harmed have the right to be treated. Finding the cure requires research, and research requires recognition of the problem and funding. It is not possible to harm people with treatments that should improve their lives and then abandon them. Thank you for this article. I wish the guys suffering from pssd would all commit to something like this or at least leave a simple comment. We can’t get anyone’s attention if we remain silent in the dark with our injuries.

    • Sigh says:

      I wish I knew. I loved my sexuality but now it’s gone and my vagina is completely desert dry. The dryness is causing other medical problems now. PSSD has changed my entire chemistry beyond sex drive. When I first went off, my speech was slurred and it took 2 years to get it back to normal. Everything was so off, the brain fog was unbearable so I ended up having to get back on a year later. There needs to be proper caution going on meds and proper rehabilitation going off meds. It’s an exploitation of vulnerable people. In my PSSD research, they give some prisoners SSRI’s specifically to kill their sex drive.

    • Garrett S says:

      Someone somewhere knew the risks and has manipulated and hidden the data in the name of prophet and career. We need to find those responsible and force them to be chemically castrated for the rest of our lives. People need to know, big pharma needs to know that if they fuck with people it will be brought home to bear on them.

    • Dave says:

      Just another person affected negatively by an SSRI/SNRI. These drugs can mess up your sex life permanently and I’ve been off them for 10 years.

      • Puja says:

        Why does she hates you? If she experiencing pssd that is basically a sexuality problem but because of ssri she shouldn’t hate you. Pssd is not a emotional problem

      • Dewi Jones says:

        Mine went but I don’t really care, I find it liberating. I’m just a bit miffed that my penis has gone so small from lack of blood flow. I still get slightly aroused when a large stool presses on my prostate. I have no real sense of arousal, or sexual desire other than that.

    • aymen says:

      Hy there im a 29 years old men and im sufforing from the same condition it is about erectile dysfunction i find too hard to speek about it in my country but also i could not get any visual erection i find too hard and even when it hapends it takes 10->20 seconds and it is gone if any one have an idea about the latest researches in this post ssri erectile dysfunction you can contact me throw my email or phone number i would leave it in this message aymen.ayari92@outlook.com (+216)93 875 406
      i hope that we rise awarness about this danger thanks.

      • Adam says:

        I was on effexor xr in 2003 – 2004. When I stopped taking the medication I noticed I had no feeling or sensation upon ejaculation. It’s 2021 and my ability to feel an orgasm has never returned. I have sexual desire, I can have an erection, I can ejaculate, but no orgasm. I wasn’t aware this was a common issue.

    • Puja says:

      Please someone answer me according to this article they are ment to say brain fog is cognitive symptoms and ssri is not a reason of brain fog?ssri is reason of pssd that i understand but is ssri reason for brain fog also or not?

    • Nontombi Fubu says:

      I have been suffering from pssd for the past 3years after discontinuation of antidepressants, it is so frustrating that sometimes I’m suicidal and have lost all excitement when it comes to sex. Please can anyone help me. I’m tired of living like this😭😭😭

  2. L says:

    I’ll add a few words for anyone arriving with pssd. Get in touch with the pssd community and help move things along. Go to Rxisk.org (fill in the adverse event report) and pssdforum.org, which are currently the main references for international community of pssd sufferers. If there is something you think has brought you improvement, share it, there are some really desperate people among us.

    • Ben says:

      I’m male, I’ve had PSSD for 8 years.
      Besides the sexual symptoms which includes complete loss of sexual desire (amongst other things), I’ve suffered severe cognitive impairment and emotional numbing.
      To say it has devastated my life would be an understatement.
      It’s shocking and ridiculous that the medical community doesn’t take this seriously and does nothing about it.
      Thank you for bringing awareness to this.

      • Michael Rehm says:

        they do do something. They re prescribe a higher dosage. That way the machine keeps working. Peoples health take second to big money

  3. Shawn says:

    I’m a male and I’ve had this condition for 10 years, since going on citalopram at 14. My life has been severely altered and I feel I’ve missed out on some of the most important years of my life.

    Thank you for writing about this underreported condition here.

  4. Winnie says:

    Thank you so much for covering this. I have this condition and it’s so hard to function. It feels like my clitoris has been cut clean off. So traumatic. I hope this starts getting more mainstream attention soon. People may not even realize what’s causing it if they don’t know about the link to SSRIs. Especially women since our sexual health issues get dismissed as psychological so much.

    • Dan says:

      I am a 42 year old male and I have had these symptoms for 5 months. I have lost a great deal of sensation in my penis and my arousal and libido are significantly diminished.

      As it has been 5 months, I do have hope for a natural recovery, but I also know that this might be permanent. It is scary and I didn’t ask for it.

      A primary care physician, psychiatrist, and urologist all assured me this drug, sertraline, wouldn’t cause any long term effects and that those experienced on the drug would return after 2 weeks. They also acted bewildered when I brought up the persisting difficulties and even dismissed it as anxiety or depression related and offered more antidepressants as the solution!

      Doctors everywhere must warn their patients of this disorder or only prescribe safer alternatives starting NOW.

      • Patrick says:

        For me it is the same after using sertraline. Still have the problem after 2 years. At the time when I was using sertraline it improved my libido and sexual feelings. Then I lost my libido and quickly decided to stop taking the pills. But stopping didn’t help me unfortunately.

    • Dawn says:

      My clitoris feels exactly the same…like it’s non existent…not even there anymore! Why is this not being talked about and why aren’t doctors telling us? It’s like a hush hush thing and the pharmaceuticals need to be held responsible. Even my inner vagina has places that are numb. Its not psychological! That’s like saying you cut your finger off and can’t feel it and someone telling you it’s all in your head.

      • Dale B. says:

        It’s definitely not psychological. My penis has shrunk by almost an inch after being on antidepressants for a little over a year. This is obviously something that can be easily verified. My wife can’t believe it either. Today we Googled it for the first time, and it’s apparently not that uncommon. There are numerous medical articles that describe this side effect. Why on earth don’t our doctors warn us about the possibility of these side effects? What a nightmare.

  5. E says:

    I’m a 40 year old female from Australia. I took Luvox around 3 years ago now and the effects have been devastating to my current relationship and my mental health. I have approached a few GP’s here very hesitantly and have left bursting into tears feeling like I’m crazy and it’s all in my head and due to deep depression. The toll on my relationship has been so difficult. I took Luvox when my first born was about 8 months old as a suffered severely from post natal depression. After being on it for only a couple of weeks the complete lack of sexual desire and emotional numbness made me feel so ‘un-human’ it was worse than the depression itself. I’ve never felt so disconnected from the truth of who I am, so robotic and unable to authentically connect with others at a deep level, even with my daughter which has created immense guilt and sadness as a mother. Although I have retained physical sensation and the ability to orgasm none of that seems to matter due to my complete lack of interest or sexual desire. There is no passion, no feeling in my touch… even when I hug my partner it feels like going through the motions. I am left completely incapable of intimacy on any level. We have not kissed passionately since being on Luvox, merely a peck on the lips is all I can bring myself to do. I still find my partner attractive but don’t ‘feel’ attraction anymore. Emotionally I am exhausted, defeated and unable to see the light. I hope this condition can be taken seriously and every person offered these drugs is made aware of the risks.

    Thank you for bringing awareness to PSSD.

    • Kaba says:

      Hi you have said everything that I have had for 30 years. After my son was born about 13 weeks, all of sudden a horrific post partum overcame me. I couldn’t even go near my son. I was hysterical all day and at night made my husband hold me because of it. After 5 or 6 weeks my psychiatrist convinced me with much objection from me, to go on antidepressants. It took me almost 3 years of in and out of hospital before I could be alone with my son, and that was only for a short time. Finally after 25 years I found a woman doctor who cured me of that horrific fear of children. I was devasted by the whole incident it took me forever to be able to finally realize it. Then when I felt much better t realized my sexuality was dead. Last month I felt my husband needed intimacy and because of the dryness it was excruciating. I was in agony and in pain for two days. I am devastated. I didn’t realize that that was a side effect. I yearn for the feeling again but I might as well be dead from the waist down. Ugh

  6. hell on earth says:

    Please be aware that the term pssd is misleading in a sense it only talks about ssri and snri (like your article too). I went into this trap and got the same life destroying condition from non ssri. I know many others that got the same destiny. It’s more rare but my advice is to avoid all psychiatric drugs as much as possible. They are all random acting and risky.

    • Tim says:

      I am a 34 year old male and everything you all describe is exactly what happened to me aftet taking ariprizole for a month and then stopping. I was not warned of any of these side effects and if I was I never would have taken the medicine.

  7. R says:

    I was forced to take this drugs when I was just a minor and now I’m stripped away from my sexuality and emotions. PSSD is hell on earth. I’m planning to get assisted suicide soon, I’m living in hell and too traumatized about what the mental health system did to me 🙁 I’ve never got to experience my sexuality before it was stripped away from me because of a med I didn’t wanted to take

    • Amanda A says:

      Health care provider here and ashamed to say this is this first I’ve ever heard this. Thank you. My heart and fury go out to all of you whose providers have told you that your experience is imaginary.

    • A. says:

      Hi,
      Suicide isn’t the answer. Theres more to live for than sex ! Try to find things you’re passionated about , to connect deeper to God .

      • Stanley Tolle says:

        It’s not just sex. Like sexual dysfunction is noticed first. Like if your are a guy it is noticeable if something is not popping up eager to please like it use to. This however appears to be just the tip (or non-tip) of the problem. What I notice is all the things I did for pleasure just stop being of interest. Skiing, Mountain biking, dancing, hiking, fishing and all sorts of other activities just don’t happen any more. I have gained weight and tire much easier now. This other stuff was not as noticeable at first but as all my toys and equipment gathers dust it becomes clear to me that something has really gone wrong with the sense of pleasure and motivation. Can’t find Dr.s willing to work on the problem “.

      • Gerald R. says:

        Like Stanley’s response, these antidepressants have caused me PSSD. This is undeniable. I also concur in that I believe they have changed my mind and body such that I do not connect with my loved ones like I did before. Nothing gets me excited or enthused. This is more than depression. I am convinced these antidepressants have turned me, a highly intelligent, caring, and physically fit individual into a cognitively and emotionally crippled individual who is overweight and unable to function like a normal adult. The doctors readily admit the ADs blunt one’s emotions, however, they will not admit they also cause PSSD, and change the neural functioning of many of their patients for the worse. It’s pretty basic logic. If they can cause PSSD, what else have they caused? They’ve made me worse.

  8. Kk88 says:

    11 years for me. This impacts the quality of my life every day, and it’s not just my sex drive – my drive and spark for every other element of my life went with it too.

    The worst part is trying to discuss this with drs and being shut down and having SSRI’s pushed as ‘completely safe’ – I’m certain they have permenantly changed my brains neurology – I feel like a 70 year old woman at 33.

    • Gojko says:

      Thats exactly how I feel. Im 33 old men and feel like Im 70 years old. My erection are weak, not like before SSRI, and I was only 2, 3 weeks on Paxil. My sleep, memory, concentration, muscles are so tired, I cant get inflamation after exercise.. Im tired all the time. Its like one part of me is missing. DR dont admit this, and there is no cure. I am like this 12 years… I have PSSD 12 years… I think its forever… Im losing hope of getting better.

    • Andrew says:

      I am 20 years old a male and suffer from PSSD never got to experience a healthy relationship now I don’t even have a chance and it’s sad because I’m very good looking but no emotions or sex drive the whole situation was very traumatic and I’m still upset about it

  9. Y says:

    This information needs to be more publicly available. It’s very upsetting that more people will be put on these meds without proper informed consent until Health Canada makes some changes.

    • A says:

      I was put on psych medication as a minor- 12-18- for a diagnosis that ended up being incorrect. My puberty and sexual development was stunted as well, and because of my psychiatric history I am just gaslighted by medical professionals, and unable to find a lawyer willing to take my case.

  10. Gus says:

    Before my depression, I had no problem with arousal or pleasure. During my depression, prior to SSRIs, I had no problem with arousal or pleasure. Almost immediately after treatment with a popular SSRI, everything changed for the worse. Nothing worked properly. How utterly frustrating. Now I find out, through my own research on the Internet, that others have also been damaged in the same manner. If you weren’t depressed and suicidal before your SSRIs, the prospect of these damages being permanent, are devastating. I can’t imagine having this happen to someone in their teens, or 20s or 30s. This is completely unacceptable. A class action lawsuit is merited. The possibility of permanent damage was never communicated by the numerous psychiatrists who treated me. These risks are not documented on the product monograph of any of the medications that I took.

    • Celia says:

      Yes I agree I am now going on 2 years of literary losing my entire sexual identity intimacy of any kind has become so foreign to me . I hate this and I feel as though when I was prescribed this ssri the relabeling laws had changed it was 2019 and I SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD. The research I conducted concluded that a study in rats found that when a drug called buspar , an 5 htp-1 antagonist was used during ssri treatment it prevented pssd from occurring and was in some cases shown to reverse pssd symptoms . Now important to note this is a study in rats anyway I am livid I have an appointment in the next week with the provider who originally provided me this ssri when I specifically told them I was not depressed that I was experiencing anxiety . The provider swore this ssri would treat that. I was on the medication for 3-4 months and lost complete feeling in my vagina . I am so grateful for this forum and all others addressing this, to know I’m not alone helps but we all need to take action this is unfair and downright negligent to not inform people of this horrific side effect . I am asking my provider to prescribe me buspar in the hopes that it may reverse this side effect . The reason for genital numbness is that ssri’s block sodium channels changing nerve conduction essentially . I will report back as soon as I am on the medication for some time to let you all know if it is successful. It is unlikely but worth a shot . Thank u all for your honesty and vulnerability remember your not the only one … we need to do something about this they can’t get away with this .

      • A says:

        I’m on buspar and my sex drive increased, i have a history of pssd. I saw a similar comment on webmd about buspar helping with sex drive/sexual dysnfunction. I think its worth a shot. I hope it helps you

      • Alexander E says:

        I was on fluoxetine (Prozac) for 2 years and it killed my sexuality. I lost any desire for intimacy while being in a relationship. About 6 months after I stopped this SSRI, I was prescribed bupropion (Wellbutrin). It gave me some of my sexuality back but not even close to what it was before SSRI.

        To deal with my anxiety (side effect of Wellbutrin) I was prescribed buspirone (Buspar) about two months ago. I do not see any changes in my sex drive with Buspar. Moreover, even Wellbutrin benefits seem to start wearing off and it feels like I am getting back to the state I was while on SSRI. This is horrible, I can relate to a lot of things everybody is saying.

    • Colby says:

      I’m 18 and I have everything that you and everyone says. My life is officially over might as well end it the thoughts and feelings are gonna haunt me till I die. Being forced on to these meds was the one mistake I’ll never forget.

  11. Haylee says:

    Thank you for posting this. I was so in the dark about PSSD until recently. I thought it was just me.
    I had a baby 9 months ago and I thought that was the reasoning behind everything I’ve been experiencing. I was told it was normal to feel “nothing” or not wanting to have sex after undergoing a C-section. Something that used to be enjoyable was soon turned to something like a chore.
    I recently went through a break up, with lack of intimacy being a big reason why.

  12. Gus Miller says:

    Aren’t anti-depressants (ADs) wonderful? My sister was depressed for years, but never contemplated suicide or took anti-depressants. After a few weeks on sertraline, she attempted suicide. She immediately came off sertraline, and is doing better. I too suffer from depression. ADs didn’t help my depression, and, they not only left me with PSSD, after being off of them for over a year, I believe my emotional and my cognitive abilities have been negatively impacted. PSSD only exacerbates one’s depressive state, and for that reason alone, they should be used sparingly. The risk of PSSD was never discussed by any of my numerous psychiatrists when they provided me with my various SSRI and SNRI prescriptions. That is not acceptable.

    • Darren S. says:

      I would never criticize psychiatrists, prior to taking anti-depressants, but I have to now, after taking antidepressants. I was a physically and emotionally functional white collar male, with a healthy sex drive and functional equipment. After taking SSRIs, with no warning of the possibility of PSSD or permanent cognitive impairment, I am heavily suicidal now. I simply do not have the mental capabilities I did before I started taking these poisons (yes, poisons – this isn’t hyperbole). I can no longer perform my white collar job due to cognitive impairment, and I can no longer feel any sensation in my equipment. To top it off, I feel like a different, mentally stunted individual. My perceptions of my environment feel disconnected. It is hard to explain. These psychiatrists have no idea how much harm their prescriptions are causing people. I took antidepressants for 18 months, and I’ve been off of them 18 months now, and they have crushed my spirit. The source of my depression has been relieved, but I have been left permanently disabled (mentally). I am not the same person I used to be. This is my experience. Others may have a different experience. The greatest tragedy, is I was not warned of the possibility of these consequences. They have ruined my brain, and hence my life.

  13. Mark says:

    This has happened to me as well I am devastated I was given lexipro and do believe resperadone wasn’t good ether I was so lost I didn’t even think about it until I tried to masterbate since I didn’t have privacy for the first couple months and barely any for four after that I can achieve an erection but it takes work to accomplish and orgasms are weak..I am just now realizing I might not get myself back

    • Mark says:

      Even google searching Lexapro I didn’t see may cause sexual dysfunction as a side effect .. only if you google search the drug with emphasis on sexual side effects does it show it

    • Chris M. says:

      I just took my first dose as prescribed (10mg. generic Lexipro), not for depression but for anxiety (which to me isnt really such a big deal). But after reading thru yours, and others comments I’m kinda thinkin’ I should stay away from this medication. Have you done much looking into this, do you think MOST people should be REALLY concerned? Thank you for your time.

  14. B says:

    Was prescribed sertraline (50mg per day) in June 2020. It completely reduced my mood swings, anxiety and irritability, however I lost all sensation in my clitoris and it took me 6 months to realise it was due to the medication.
    Currently in the process of tapering off the medication and I’m down to 12.5mg per day – thankfully some arousal and stimulation began to return once I was down to 25mg per day but unsure if it will fully return.
    For me a calm state of mind cannot be at the sacrifice of all other feelings.

  15. Greg says:

    Wow this finally gives me an understanding – my wife has been on SSRIs for many years and has had increasing doses over the years… she started about a year before we met and about 2 years before married… then about 5 years into our marriage she started not being as interested. She would comment she missed the feeling and missed it but would never be interested or would decline if I initiated. It went from once or twice a month to a few times a year then in 2015 it all stopped. The last few years she has been increasingly more like she wants to be on more and more meds to keep from the fog. I have taken over managing her meds because a few times she took more than prescribed. I ended up having to go out of town for a few days and her pills were locked in my safe, so she was off of everything for a few days and she was back to her old self mentally but not sexually. I hope they can find a treatment.

  16. Julian says:

    In 2006 what I remember is that I was told I have severe depression with anxiety and was prescribed with escitlopram with the psychiatrist telling me the drug has fewer side effects. After taking the drug for few days I complained for slowing down mental alertness and sexual dysfunction but my doctor assured me it will soon go away when I will stop the drug. After 3 months, the side effects became severe,. I am starting to get disorganized, more suicidal, and so uncomfortable that I can no longer endure,. I tapered it off, and boom, the severe brain fog, severe general sensation numbness, severe memory issues, feeling emotionally detouched and I approached another psychiatrist and this time they diagnosed me with depression with psychosis but the side effects were more worse with the drugs prescribed, and later I was diagnosed with bipolar and prescribed with prozac and lamictal,. The psychiatrist said my complain is just part of psychosis. Oh God my ears are ringing,. As if something is shaking inside,. So I had to completely stop them all. The side effects had been 20 times worse than my depression. And the side effects of severe brain fog, general sensation numbness, lack of sexual pleasure persisted, emotional numbness,. And a roller coaster of intense suicidal symptoms, severe dryness and severe sensitivities to food supplements persisted yet when I complained to the psychiatrist I last visited, he just scolded me and said that it will take more weeks for the drug to have therapeutic effect. It was very unfair. I never had these symptoms of severe dryness, intense suicidal, general numbness, disorganized emotions, brain fog and severe memory issues, and sensitivities to food supplements even vitamin c prior to my taking of these drugs. They just told me the lack of emotions and sexual pleasure is just part of depression. I could not have pleasure with sex. I never deserved this
    The side effects had persisted for 15 years now. My other symptoms had improved much with the help of a functional medicine doctor. But still the drug had stolen my normal being. It has been 15 years of struggle. The psychiatrist had poisoned me. And yet today they refuse to recognize what they have done. It has been traumatizing… I hope there will be no other victims to these poisons… There must me other ways to better treat mental health problems.

    • Janice Stewart says:

      These psychiatrists should be held liable for the damage their prescriptions inflict on their patients. Nobody informed me of PSSD. Nobody informed me of the emotional blunting. Nobody informed me of the potential for increased suicidal thoughts and increased anxiety. And worst of all, nobody informed me that these symptoms may persist for years after I discontinue the meds they prescribed. This is criminal negligence, plain and simple. Their meds are ruining people’s lives. I’d rather be dead than lose my ability to bond with those I love, and to lose my sense of awareness and connection to the world around me, and my cognitive abilities.

  17. Julian says:

    Anti depressants are being prescribed without even a laboratory test to determine if indeed the patient need those particular drugs. You trapped my life.

    • Judy R. says:

      I know, it’s amazing there is not test to show your serotonin levels are low. Given the serious nature of depressants, you’d think there would be a little more science behind prescribing these chemicals that alter one’s brain and body. Most psychiatrists have absolutely no idea that PSSD exists, or that their rxs are doing more harm than good to many of their patients.

  18. Kyle says:

    I’m a 34 year old male and have PSSD for about 8 years now. I was forced antidepressants, and I psychotics, and mood stabilizers when I was 13 years old because of a misdiagnosis. I was on just about every antidepressant until I was 26, was weaned off all psych meds at that time and won’t even touch Tylenol anymore. During my time on meds I completely lost all sexual functioning, have the numbness, all the symptoms described by others. I noticed minimal improvement about 2 years off of the medications, then in about 2016 a little bit more but it sort of plateaued in the last 2 years have been zero libido. I contemplated suicide for years but pretty much adapted and accepted. I have been off of the forums and blogs for years because I realized it became an obsession and did more harm than good. I’m still hopeful but something triggered me yesterday and got back on the blogs. Looks like this is actually being acknowledged as a thing but I still feel devastated as some people seem to indefinitely have this problem. I’m still hopeful because I do see that some people recover spontaneously even 10 years down the line.

    I too have been gaslighted by the medical community for years about this, said it was depression, impossible, made to feel like I was crazy and a hypochondriac. I went through stages of grief over this years ago, I contemplated suicide, I went through denial, despair, rage, anguish. I guess I’m reaching out for resources. I’ve never been able to connect with anyone else who has his problem or understands how devastating it can be. I also wondered if it’s possible to still have a complete or near complete recovery after 10 years. It did seem to get better for a while and then stopped and got worse. I have an extremely healthy lifestyle, I body build and eat organic. I’m still hopeful but I don’t know if I’m hanging on to a fantasy anymore. I believe the body is a miraculous thing and is capable of healing from anything and sometimes wonder if I continue to manifest these symptoms with my belief that this is permanent.

    • Dave says:

      Im am a 32yr old male i was on paroxetine (paxil 10mg/day) for 10years its been 2 years since i went cold turkey… i have been dealing with the worst pain imaginable… i cant seem to find the way out… heart palpitations fluttering random eye movements eye twiching vertigo muscle spasms shortness of breath gi problems insomnia cant sleep im lucky if i get 45 full minutes of sleep a day headaches and for some odd reason my foreskin is always irritated.. this really doesnt help in the bedroom department. I have seen several GPs Cardiologist Pulmonologist Urologist Dermatologist… no one seems to have an answer they think im Crazy… i wonder if time will heal me or if it is something i have to live with…

      • Arlen says:

        I experienced a similar thing after stopping a cocktail of Effexor and some other meds cold turkey. (I got put on one med for some minor, short-term stress, but, like so many, the side-effects mimicked severe depression, so they kept piling on more meds for years, and I got increasingly physically sick from the side-effects.)

        After the withdrawal, my body swelled up and had lots of pain, skin issues, heart palpitations, etc.

        What’s helped me heal was fasting and going in an anti-inflammatory diet. I started doing intermittent fasting, and a three day fast of nothing but water monthly. That seemed to jumpstart my body to heal itself. I started watching vids from natural health docs like Dr. Eric Berg, Dr. Axe, Dr. Weil, etc.

    • Arlen says:

      Re: “I believe the body is a miraculous thing and is capable of healing from anything.”

      I had a similar experience on and after antidepressants with loss of sexual function, permanent inflammation, etc. What helped me was fasting: monthly three day, nothing but water, and intermittent fasting daily. From ancient times, fasting has been known to reboot the body to make it heal.

  19. Jennifer Snyder says:

    Thank you for your work. I was placed on an ssri for mild, situational depression, and now experience pssd. My psychiatrist assured me these drugs were safe and that they would address my sadness involving a death in the family. The effect on my sex life was immediate. I can no longer have an orgasm and my genitalia are numb. I weaned myself off the ssri 6 months ago because of sexual side effects. I do not experience depression at this time, but my libido is almost completely erased, after years of an active and satisfying sex life with my husband. These ssri drugs are handed out like hard candy often for the mildest cases of depression or anxiety, without any warning about its potential side effects. I cannot believe I let myself fall for this. It’s affected my relationship with my husband and now I see it may be permanent.

  20. Paul says:

    I’ve been on antidepressants since 1998. Since 2002 there’s been a slight decrease in my libido. In 2014 I saw a urology specialist at the hospital because of blood in semen which only happened once. It was discovered I have a varoscele but nothing that should effect my sex drive. Around that time I noticed a more rapid decline in sexual sensitivity. Recently I’ve had some mild genital pain which is more frequent. It ranges from pressure feeling or dull ache in the testicles to spasms in the penis. I seen a specialist again who could find nothing wrong. He felt my stomach and done a examination of the genitals. He said I had a small varoscele and suggested I should try talk therapy. I was never told by doctors that antidepressants could cause permanent nerve or brain damage. I thought that the sexual disfunction was a temporary effect. Why hasn’t the media exposed this huge scandal. What makes this worst for me at the age of 55yrs old with Asperger is I’ve never had sex. When my parents are no longer around I will commit suicide.

    • Darren S. says:

      I feel your pain. These antidepressants have changed my brain too. I am not the same person I was before, after having taken these poisons for 18 months. My psychiatrist simply gives me a puzzled look when I tell him how I feel. Their whole career is based on meds, so they will minimize and not even record, what their patients are telling them. Tardive dyskinesia, PSSD, and cognitive impairment/damage, are measurable. How can they continue to prescribe this poison. I am so sad. My wife and kids have lost their father, their husband. The increase in suicides and use of antidepressants is not a coincidence. Thank god we have a forum to share our experiences.

    • Darren S. says:

      I can’t believe how closely your experience is to mine. Everything from blood in my semen, to PSSD, to permanent brain damage. I am not the same person I was before I took these poisons.

    • Tara says:

      Paul, Please don’t do that! Talk therapy can work wonders, I was married to a man for 18 years that could never keep an erection and the only way he could ejaculate was by masturbating. His was mental issues ..mean guy and he would have taken years in therapy. Talk therapy is good for everyone. Suicide is good for NO ONE!! You can still have sex maybe in a few years they will come up with something. You can work on it and it should come around just dont give up hope. I am reading about this because I got my son on anti depressants. Don’t give up!!!!

      • Suzanne W. says:

        Talk therapy with the right person can make the difference between life and death. Please find a good therapist for your son if he doesn’t already have one. Tara, I also urge your son to be extremely careful with anti-depressants. They have given me PSSD, and they have changed my brain. I feel like I am in a mental haze since taking them, even though I only took them for 1 year. I have been off of them for 5 years. I had an incredible career that I loved before ADs impaired my brain functions. Please, please, please, be careful with these drugs. Please keep an eye on your son’s experience using them. And please tell him of all the potential side effects. I know how difficult depression is. I pray for your son.

  21. Kenyala says:

    I have ocd and was on high doses of antidepressants from 9-18 years old and I ve been off them for 6ish months like I never really had a real crush like I get crushes like really big ones but their kid crushes I don’t want anything more then holding hands like I do want more but I just can’t get myself to want more and it makes me feel weird and messed up and I think this might have something to do w it maybe now idk

  22. JRLA says:

    I’m extremely angry and also a little thankful. At least I didn’t lose anything. I have no positive feeling in my vagina – pain is common with penetration(even using lube).
    Never have had. Seems I’ve had this pssd for over 20 years without knowing it. I was starting to think I must be asexual. I started zoloft at age 9, in 1989. Continued for eleven years 400mg daily.
    Sex is the biggest problem in my marriage as I never want it and he always wants it. Tried pelvic floor physical therapy, managed to make it less painful, but still not good.
    I’ve only ever had zero libido.
    I’m thankful I have clitoral feeling.
    Next, we plan to try sex therapy.
    Fingers crossed.

  23. Josie says:

    I took sertraline for about 2 years to combat severe depression and stopped taking it about 3 years ago now. My sex drive has completely vanished and I can’t seem to do anything to reawaken it. I’m desperately worried for the long term effect on my relationship and feel robbed of an important part of my life. I had no warning of the damage these drugs can do and would never have taken them had I known. I also now suffer with brain fog which affects my professional life and my confidence. These drugs leave lasting damage that impair lives.

  24. Jason B. says:

    Eleven years ago my mother was on her deathbed and my girlfriend dumped me, so needless to say I was in a bad spot emotionally, particularly anxiety wise. My doctor suggested Pristiq, and with the carefree ease he prescribed it, I never even thought about potential long term side effects, and he certainly didn’t offer up any. Up until that point I had a voracious sex drive, hobbies, and the ability to concentrate. I took the first dose on a Monday morning, and by the afternoon I felt major brain fog, and my groin was partially numb. I persisted for a few days as the doc did mention some potential for side-effects when starting, but by Thursday I could barely think straight and my groin area was now entirely “dead meat”, which obviously freaked me out. My doctor told me to stop taking them, and thankfully by about a week later, I could mostly feel my groin again. However a number of other changes and side-effects remained.
    Flash forward to today, over a decade later, and I feel like I have been permanently altered by this drug. After a lifetime of no evident mental or physical health issues, it’s been a merry go round of endless problems ever since I took that first dose of Poison. First of I lost all interest in any form of romantic relationship, let alone sex. When I used to look at a beautiful woman, there was a physiological response– and I don’t specifically mean “arousal”- but that warm fuzzy *mental* excitement. Now I feel nothing. When I look at a beautiful woman now it’s like looking at a beautiful piece of art– I can appreciate its beauty but there’s nothing emotional or physically there. I lost interest in hobbies and hanging with friends, as there was no more joy to be derived from these interactions. I have enough money saved that I could pretty much do or buy whatever I wanted, yet I cannot think of a single thing I could want to do or buy that would make me happy. All anticipation, excitement, and drive is gone. Each day simply feels like going through the elementary motions of life to burn time until the next day, only to repeat infinitely until whenever my life ends. In addition to the anhodenia and total lack of sex drive, I developed horrible insomnia and something akin to ADD where I have difficulty focusing on anything.
    I’ve tried all sorts of meds (except other SSRI’s which I won’t touch) and supplements over the years and nothing has worked except Wellbutrin, which was a miracle cure for about a month. It was like I was 100% restored within 24 hrs of the first pill– I called my doctor crying saying we had found the miracle cure. Sadly, after three weeks of what felt like reclaiming my life, the drug simply stopped working entirely. If someone were able to repeat that event, but for a few years rather than three weeks, I would happily give up my life savings in exchange. People simply can’t comprehend what it’s like to have your sexuality and pleasure center stripped away– it’s like your entire reason for waking up each day is gone, and you’re just trapped in some grey apathetic world where you stand watching life pass you by.
    These drugs should not be presribable by a GP, and should only be prescribed in cases of life threatening depression. To hoist it on people who are just going through a spot in life, like ones parents dying, is simply criminal.

    • T says:

      Same story here, now going on for 22 years
      Id be happy to feel normal for just one day a year.
      something to look forward to.

  25. paola says:

    hey all, my name is paola. im a producer for a medical talk show and we’re looking to spread awareness to post ssri sexual dysfunction. I’d love to get in touch with anybody who is currently going through this so we can help shine some light on this and help others feel that they aren’t alone in this and help educate our audience.
    paola.oramas@cbs.com

  26. Greg says:

    Hello Everyone! Thank you for all of your insight’s. I am a 43 year old male, suffering all the symptoms that you’ve all stated above for about a year now after being on Celexa for 10 yrs. It’s overwhelming and discouraging beyond belief as you all well know.
    My question to all of you is, has anyone ever tried going back on the same medication that caused the PSSD to see if that brings any life back to our sexual makeup? For me, at this point, the sexual side effects I had while on the medicine is 100 times better than what I have now without!
    Any feedback would be welcomed…..
    Thank you!
    Greg

  27. Lena says:

    I’d taken psych meds, mostly SSRIs and SNRIs for 25 years and each one of them interfered with my libido and orgasms. To be fair, it often depended on how happy the relationship was and if my partner was on meds as well (which was more often than not). If we were happy, it was like a never-ending honeymoon. I wasn’t always able to be horny or responsive to overtures and the reactions from partners have vacillated between immature pouting to me being beaten up. The pressure to be like a newly wed was great.

    This caused a lot of distress in my relationships and at times, I was accused of playing away and had found ‘greener grass’. By the time I was 40, I was so fed up with the arguments, discussions, partner’s feelings of rejection, my own feelings of being pressured into being a good girlfriend that I just up and quit. I tended to gravitate toward abusive partners at worst or jealous and insecure at best. Good sex was intrinsic to my survival with partners so it was with a lot of fear that I took my meds.

    I have been single for 15 years now with no intention of treading on that shaky, expectant ground ever again. I was so numb in the genital area and had no feelings in my heart for a man that I wondered if I had become Asexual/Aromantic.

    I continued the meds and just before I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 52, I was defiantly going to discontinue taking meds so I can see what life without them would be like. The tumors were hormone receptive so I had to replace HRT with Effexor which was the nastiest drug to taper off.

    Prozac, which I took at various times in my meds ‘career’, was the worst offender in terms of anorgasmia. I was doing OK with my solo orgasms and after two days back on Prozac I couldn’t come at all.

    I’ve been off Prozac since October ’21 and since April I have regained a satisfactory ability to orgasm and with the slow progress it is getting better.

    For those of us with clitorises, I recommend a stimulant gel and a certain toy which has a clitoral sucking mechanism. In fact, the gel works too well now and the orgasm can be so over the top that it goes the other way, like it is a non event. I have to stop and then resume when the gel wears off a little. I hope that makes sense. I can’t just outright mention names of these products here.

    I will never take psych meds again. They don’t work, the side-effects are brutal and my sex life is important even if it is solo. It’s good to be able to cry again, also.

    Anorgasmia is a punch in the guts and the deliberate ignorance about it by doctors is a kick in the groin.

  28. Ben says:

    My name’s Ben from UK, took fluoxetine for a month and from day two on it I progressively lost erections. I’ve been off it 12 months and still can’t maintain erection even with Cialis and Viagra taken at the same time.

    Low libido and blunted emotions are also continuing although I occasionally get a brief window of libido I still can’t get erection.

    Anyone found anything that helps?
    I tried wellbutrin but just one tablet made me numb. Luckily I returned to baseline after that. I’m contemplating buspar any thoughts?

  29. Bob R. says:

    I just want to die. I was normal all my life, then I experienced a depression in my mid 50s, due to external factors. I tried a variety of SSRI and SNRIs over the next 18 months, to no avail. I have been med free for over a year. I have PSSD, brain fog, and I feel like the anti-depressants made my depression and anxiety worse. I have lost my will to live. I don’t feel life my old self anymore. What have they done to me?

    • Ty says:

      I’ve been reading through all of these stories for the past hour and I feel exactly like you. I wanna be dead and all I do is sit around and fantasize about the past and how much I miss my self. Guess what though ? I’m only 18 years old and I’m a male. I’m broken. I’m questioning myself everyday is this really it ? This is all I get is 18 years and now I have to live the rest of my life in extreme pain and depression from pssd??. The emotional pain is unbearable. The psychical effects are devastating. I was on the anti depressant fluoxetine for just 13 days ! I then stopped cause I didn’t feel good on them and then boom ! My overall sexuality just went to shit ! Libido ect…. I’ve been off the meds for 5 months now and I haven’t had any progress. The fear of this being permanent is settling in and I can’t handle living like this much longer. Absolutely terrified. Best of luck to you🙏🏻

  30. Frank says:

    recently stopped Wellbutrin and experiencing these symptoms I am so desperate for things to improve, I wish no one suffered from this

  31. Don’t give up yet says:

    I am here to give us peeps hope keep reading. I’m a 36 year old female. Okay so so I had anti/d on an off over the years and in the first few months had the issues with not climaxing but it always came back after a while. I just thought that’s how it was for me. I got into a really truly bad relationship and I felt crazy so I went to a psychiatrist and she gave me mood stabilisers and anti psychotics! I was so depressed. I did NOT need this shit. It’s hard medication for people with epilepsy! Meant for ‘bipolar’ which I do not have, I had a binge drinking problem and self confidence issues coupled with abuse in a relationship and past abuse trauma which I never dealt with. This shrink was a muppet with a script book. Anyhow I just didn’t feel right I felt like I was being poisoned and we all know after a while we feel numb. I came off them and had a fucking seizure when I tapered off (I don’t have epilepsy lol) and after this complete numbness down there, ZERO sexual desire. Could not feel pleasure. The distress as we all know, is beyond devastating. I have cried myself to sleep so many times for being maimed. Like my femininity and sexual powers all gone. I wanted to kill myself. I decided I would not give up and have faith. I put my life force into trying to fix myself because I believe the body can heal. So I’m 9 months sober. I stopped drinking. Always been healthy with food etc just the binge drinking was so bad for my mental health. Cleaned up my diet even more like full healthy. So after a few months of this condition destroying my soul, I got a lot of acupuncture. The first day after I got it (I got the needles in all the sex organ meridian points (not in genitals, I told her I had sexual dysfunction) and that night I had one of those dreams at night and I felt it! In the morning I was am happy thinking okay that’s progress at least even though it was felt in a dream state. It did something! I persisted in going but then it stopped again. Then I’ve had a few of those dreams since but stopped the acupuncture. Then I got onto only filtered water no fluoride or chlorine etc I don’t think I mentioned it’s been over two years of NO medications because I think medications give us heavy mental and toxic shit in our systems. Anyway continuing with my story. I had massage on my lower lumber area and sacrel region and was reading a lot about meridian points and this also helped me start to get a little feeling there. But then for months on end I felt like I couldn’t feel any more, just felt emotionally numb like I’d ha d labotomy or something. I couldn’t see a future for myself you know how it is. Was seriously considering suicide. THEN, I just focussed on being a good human, having faith, and being happy. Just choosing to be happy even if I wasn’t and just changing my vibration. Being mindful. I was reading about chakras and I believe my sacrel shakra was blocked (responsible for a lot of emotions and sexuality and pleasure and creativity etc. I believe I had intense trauma from that relationship as well as damage from the medications which blocked this shakra. I felt also in the sacrel area which is like lumber back area and tail bone all in there was sore alot, which makes sense! The energy was stuck and not flowing. So I got a accupressure mat which I swear by, I learned how to use it and it seriously unlocked something felt pleasure again after using it one day I couldn’t believe it. I believe there are lots of nerves and muscles down there responsible and connected to the meridian points that are connected to the pleasure centre in our brains I swear I am on to something. Then he went away again after 1 day. But I had hope. So I have just persisted with the health routine then gave gave up for a while. Then I decided to get back into exercise again, and I’ve been doing 40 mins a day if daily movement, and I did hip exercises that works the psoas muscle, hip flexors and just stuff that opens up the sacrel chakra as I was feeling fucking dreadful! And I kid you not the last few days I have regained feeling down there from doing these exercises! And had full blown organisms. I can’t even describe I almost forgot how they felt. Wet everything, felt horny as well. This has been going on for a fe me days now. I was scared to try again thinking I would be left disappointed and crippled with sadness again but it’s still working and I feel different! If anyone wants to contact me on here I can try send these exercises I found on Instagram it literally has done this for me. I hope it doesn’t go away! But I feel different I swear my sacrel chakra was blocked. It’s not just about medications but out energy fields too and a build up of emotional energy and toxic systems. I say come off all the shit medications and let your body naturally heal and detox. That’s just me though peeps. I fucking hope it stays but I do literally feel like a valve has been loosened I even feel my emotions coming right back at me. Download the app GAIA and watch the shows on there like healing matrix and search all the shit they say about how shit all that medication is! They are ruining people’s lives people die of suicides for this reason and nobody even knows this is why some people end it! It’s fucked. I literally could not believe the feeling I had the at came back, I thought I was doomed. Please try anything and don’t give up. Learn about the chakras and energy. Do these exercises and get healthy so not give up. Please keep trying, try anything. I know this is all sounding all over the place but I wanted to get on here and I’ve hope! I read so much in the midst of my doom and I was convinced it was for life. I’m here to say it’s not and just believe you can heal and just keep trying anything. Get healthy and just try. I was so desperate to feel I even watched porn a few times when I don’t even do that! Just to see if I would feel any desire! I got a sex toy for the first time to see if I could feel anything and that didn’t work either! Now the last few days I’ve been getting it out every day and Fucken hell! Feels amazing. I don’t want you to feel sad I’ve said that, god I hope it stays this way!!!! Even if it goes again I know it’s got to do with that lower back and sacrel lumber area. So I’ll keep doing those exercises. Contact me if you want the exact exercises! But for me, I don’t drink alcohol, literally no medications. And I’m healthy as fuck. So my body I feel is healing. Oh and I forgot to mention I tried lots of things thinking I was needing dietary supplements and vitamins etc but they all ended up Making me feel sick. Nothing beats a balanced diet. Gut health is a thing of interest too, that’s connected to our brain believe it or not. Okay! Happy to talk to anyone if they want! It’s only been a few days for me of feeling so let’s hope it carries on! Fuck PSSD! Don’t give up people.

      • Wendy says:

        The exercises I did on Instagram were off a random site

        mwellnesscoach posted on September 4th called ‘hips workout at home’ after I did these the feeling came back, it’s a man doing hip exercises.

        🙂

        I’ve since had up and downs with this condition but I’ve had relief and I know I’m on to something these exercises help me. The nerves in this area have something to do with it, it’s a brain thing too. I believe in miracles. I’m not 100 per cent but I know I’m on to something. Everyone’s body and experience is different. I’ve had times where is totally gone again but I won’t give up it means something is still there working it’s just a matter of finding the switch. It’s a bad thing that’s happened to us all, but I can’t give up and I won’t. Exercises help. Xxx

    • Oliver says:

      Wow that sounds truelly amazing, I too have been effected with sexual dysfunction and cognitive stuff. I was very healthy before, exercising, eating healthy and sharp.
      I would love to hear more of your progress. Sounds very hopeful!

      Look forward to hearing from you 😊

  32. Mary says:

    Prior to antidepressants I was actually highly sexual, maybe it was raging teenage hormones, I don’t know. I was put on an SSRI at age 16 for a year, I was off it for another year before doctor’s advice of being back on again. I took myself off not noticing the sexual issues being an oblivious child and dealing with other mental side effects such as emotional numbness, my life went on with the focus of improving my mental health and ignoring any lack of sexual desire. Being aroused has always been the issue as well as having very low sexual desire, but reaching climax has never been a problem until this past week. I was advised to add an SSRI to my Wellbutrin recently, beginning to get over the hump of initial side effects like exhaustion, loss of appetite, nausea, headaches, etc. I thought to myself, “maybe this is a good combo”. Trying to fight through my long time low libido I have recently been unable to reach orgasm. I know being on antidepressants runs the risk of lowering your libido and it’s always been a worry in my marriage and something we have always struggled with. BUT NOW THIS!!! I am scared! It has also dawned on me that my low libido problem for the past 17 years quite possibly is the PSSD from my first prescribed SSRI in my teen years. I never knew about this, why didn’t anyone warn any of us?! I am terrified that this past week is just a glimpse of my future and the chain reaction it will have on my mental health and marriage terrify me more. I am 32 years old, I have always been told my low libido is caused from my childhood trauma, now I am convinced this PSSD is my current trauma especially because it has been occurring without anyone ever telling me this might be why I am the way that I am and now it worse! I’d say I feel like crying but I can’t cry either, that emotional numbness has returned as well with the exception of my current anger.

  33. Wanda B. says:

    I’m in my 50s, never had depression or anxiety, then a traumatic event happened and I was prescribed anti-depressants over an 18 month period. I tried dozens of time to self harm, but somehow backed out at the last second. I have since been off of them for almost 18 months. For the last 18 months while off of them, I have had PSSD, brain fog, incredible anxiety and depression, and continued/worsened anxiety and depression. I feel that the permanent damage of PSSD is only the tip of the iceberg. I think these SSRIs have also made me more resistant to recovery. I wish these psychiatrists were more informed/honest when prescribing these poisons to trusting/desperate patients. I just found a Health Canada warning about SSRIs for patients of all ages – not just those who are 25 and under: https://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2004/13708a-eng.php

    Please, somebody stop these dangerous chemicals from being prescribed without adequate warning of their inherent risks. Medical professionals, please consider the possibility that these medications harm people in the most profound ways possible. PSSD, emotional blunting, and increased anxiety and suicidal ideation.

  34. Regretfully lost says:

    I had pain wich left me getting suspended from work componding my depression & insomnia. After deaths, living in pain & getting screwed by my lawfirm for the car accident that left me this way. My body was shuting down & family doctor wouldn’t didn’t comprehend I yelled I didn’t care if I lived or died but wouldn’t take my life. He sent me to a psychiatrist where I tried multiple versions of ssris, snris ended on cymbalta. Then thyroid type 2 ect.. Diagnosis related I don’t know. But I do know I’ve lost all desire & memory of the last 14 +? Years. I lost friends my job the ability to work. Now no future so yes there is a major problem with what these treatments leave people like WORSE OFF if a class action in Canada takes place I’m in. I had a good job just wanted to marry be happy now I???

  35. Regretfully lost says:

    I had pain wich left me getting no sleep & couldn’t get a day off without phoning sick. I got suspended from work componding my depression & insomnia. After deaths, living in pain & getting screwed by my lawfirm for the car accident that left me this way. My body was shuting down & family doctor wouldn’t didn’t comprehend I yelled I didn’t care if I lived or died but wouldn’t take my life. Instead of physio & time off,He sent me to a psychiatrist where I tried multiple versions of ssris, snris ended on cymbalta. Then thyroid type 2 ect.. Diagnosis related I don’t know. But I do know I’ve lost all desire & memory of the last 14 +? Years. I lost friends my job the ability to work. Now no future so yes there is a major problem with what these treatments leave people like WORSE OFF if a class action in Canada takes place I’m in let me know! . I had a good job just wanted to marry be happy now I??? The side effects are not treatment they made an intelligent individual a basket case. No love for, desire for, anything. Male it hits us just as bad I ended up with pills trying to conteract side effects on side effects.

  36. Jeremy says:

    Once upon a time I was happy. Physically fit, mentally strong, well off, great family. I had everything. Now I have PSSD, and I can’t stand living. These antidepressants have burned my anxiety and anhedonia into my brain. I am losing everything. Help stop this madness. I’m seeing a psychiatrist who has 25 years experience, and all he has to say, is the medication takes a couple of weeks after you stop it, to leave your system. People must be informed about the risks associated with antidepressants. I am worse off now than I have ever been in my life, and it’s been 2.5 years since I stopped my medication. A perfect life, ruined by these drugs.

    • T says:

      Hi Jeremy, 21 years since last tablet
      & it doesn’t get better sorry to say
      I wish some of these doctors that think it will return to normal within weeks would try taking them.

  37. BEN says:

    fuck it!
    Now i understand what’s going on with me and they were telling me it’s just psychological and i knew it was not because i never had this symptoms until i took this poison!

    if i don’t find any solution to this i will just commit suicide!
    this shit is unbearable !

    I’m not like i used to be anymore

    • Lisa says:

      Ben, I know how you feel. Please try to hang on, and get the message out to those who prescribe these poisons. Their good intentions are driving some of us to the edge, and some of us over the edge. They need to be warned of the harm that these anti-depressants can cause. These drugs come with significant, potentially life threatening risks. They need to let their patients know this. Your first hand experience with these meds must be heard. You count, and your experience matters.

  38. V says:

    I was prescribed fluoxetine when I was around 19 and it took me some time to realise that I lost all sexual function since I was mostly asleep while on this medication. I took fluoxetine for more than six months and have since lost all sexual function. This medication caused excessive penile shrinkage along with gynecomastia. I was shocked by these effects. I quit the medication cold turkey and had to go through a year of rapid cycling bipolar disorder. I am talking about four entirely different moods in an entire day. After four years I started working somewhere but my ability to concentrate or articulate a sentence was severely hampered. It took me a while to understand something and then formulate a reply. Since then I have changed many jobs and now find it very difficult to do anything. I am well past 30 but there is no improvement in sexual function. It is difficult to even masturbate let alone have sex. I had none of these issues prior to taking fluoxetine which was prescribed for situational anxiety. The doctor who prescribed me this medication later told me that such effects are rare.

  39. Erica says:

    I have been taking my antidepressants for 21 years. My libido has very significantly gone down as soon as I started taking the medication. My libido didn’t improve with time, and what’s worse it started disappearing. Reaching orgasm became bordering with impossible. Getting to arousal is a very long process when I feel no pleasure and when instead of enjoyment all I think is “what is wrong with me”? “Why can’t I feel pleasure”? If on some rare occasion I feel pleasure it lasts no longer than one second and than it stops right away leaving me so dissatisfied and stripped of that feeling, totally unable to hold on to it. I have been married for over 20 years and I love my husband very much but we are definitely lacking that essential bond which has been disappearing with years. We basically have no sex life with trying maybe twice a year. I am off the meds now for 2 months and so far nothing has changed. I am very afraid that this might be permanent.

  40. Terry B. says:

    Why won’t my GP or psychiatrist acknowledge PSSD? I have been off meds for 2 years now, and my equipment is dead. My emotions continue to numbed. I can’t even show love to my children. I did not have these symptoms before I started medication. I recently asked my psychiatrist about my unrelenting anxiety. He recommended a particular antidepressant. I just about lost it. Nothing I have said over the last 2 years has sunk in. I pulled myself together, and asked what the med’s method of action was, and his response was ‘I don’t remember. I could look it up for you.’ This is an experienced and highly regarded psychiatrist. The head of a team of psychiatrists at a large hospital. These so called professionals are simply peddling whatever the pharmaceutical companies are telling them to peddle. I am so discouraged. I want to end everything. We turn to these professionals for hope, and they poison us with these medications. Do these medications actually help anyone? The more I read, the more it appears that they hurt people. I feel so naive. No wonder psychiatry has such a spotted reputation. I would like to take a test, MRI, EEG, something, to quantify the physical damage that these meds have caused to my brain. PSSD can’t be the only thing they have caused. If any psychiatrists read my post, I beg you, please listen to your patients. Please do not turn a blind eye to what these meds are doing to many of your patients. It’s not only their lives, it is the lives of those in their families that you are experimenting with.

  41. Patti says:

    So I have been on three medications for 20 plus years. Lost my libido years ago and yes have blunt emotions. However I always thought that they were just towards my ex because of resentment and bitterness. He was a narcissist and I was codependent for years I finally pulled the plug and was kind of excited to possibly have a loving genuine relationship I feel like I can still love even though I have no sexual desire or function. I have been able to enjoy life in general my children and grandchildren traveling and personal interests. It is an effort to get out of my comfort zone but now being free from my exnarc I really am feeling excited about the future and making it the best it can be I don’t know what that looks like but I am hopeful. Yes I am on board we need to scream it from the rooftops, educate parents so they don’t do this to their children. I’m all in let’s all do something about this please keep me up to date.

  42. Sid says:

    I’m a 32 year old male, 6’2″ 200 pounds, athletic, and got on sertraline in early 2019 when I relocated and got a new job. In July 2021 I realized something was wrong when I started dating again and got intimate again. This is the only thing that makes sense since, before this, my libido was overactive and it contributed to my anxiety because attraction could be so strong with me.

    This is the only thing I took and it did work for my anxiety but it snuck up on me in that I didn’t realize the damage it had done below. When I went to my Doctor and told him, He checked my testosterone but those came back normal. I got off of sertraline but I’m just numb. I don’t feel brain fog, so I’m fortunate in that regard but this is now affecting my life in finding someone. I now find myself avoiding any women that show interest in me because I feel I’d just disappoint them and myself.

    It’s really difficult to deal with this and it’s sad that someone got away with not making this a primary side effect or letting potential patients know that, to get rid of anxiety or mild depression, you may have to give up your love life or a future with a potential mate because I have found that if you can’t perform they’ll think you’re not attracted to them or they just don’t want someone that can’t please them in the right way.

    My condolences go out to you all and I wish I had found your stories before I took the med that rewired my brain to be less emotional which is also the erotic, sexual, attracted emotions.

    If anyone with power is reading this, I only ask that you make this information more public. This is ruining lives. We wanted to be happy not be chemically castrated.

  43. Sadie says:

    I’m in my 50s (UK) and have struggled with bouts of deep depression since my early teens but avoided medication until, in my late 40s and following a few years of fallout from a major bereavement, I began to struggle with suicidal ideation.
    I went to my doctor who interviewed me and prescribed citalopram, starting on 10mg and moving up to 20mg.
    I had always had a healthy libido and pleasurable orgasms prior to starting medication but within a few weeks of taking citalopram I noticed that it was getting harder and harder for me to reach my orgasm and the pleasure was way less intense than normal, even doing it for myself, which never fails.
    My doctor said this would “sort itself out” but it never did. After about a year, I weaned myself off the antidepressants as I was also conscious of a creeping brain fog that I couldn’t put down to anything else.
    It’s been about six years now since I last took any form of SSRI but in that period I’ve gained about four stone in weight, am unable to shake the brain fog, I have no enthusiasm for anything that I formerly loved and my sexual response never came back. To say that I am devastated is an understatement.
    This is the first thread I’ve ever come across where I’ve heard from others in the same boat, so thank you. Please let there one day be a cure.

  44. Cassie says:

    Hi my name is Cassie and I was put on antidepressants starting at the age 14. With little to no knowledge on what the long term affects could do I am now 22 and release I have no libido. My next step is to speak to my psychiatrist and start going off of my medications. I always thought this is how I was. I appreciate reading this article and spreading awareness of what could potentially happen.

    • Sylvia says:

      I really appreciate all of you sharing your experience. Makes me feel less alone. I struggled with depression my whole life but I refused medication until I was 40. I admit it helped me enormously though I wish there was another way. I’ve tried several but I think it’s been Pristiq desvenlafaxine that has been the death nell for sexuality. ‘All of the above’ results. I’m now 53. The shrink wants to blame it on menopause but I can feel in my body the weird sensation, or utter lack of sensation, as being something unnatural. I am trying to come off it but don’t know if I will be able to. I run and that helps a lot so I hope someday maybe if I can afford other interventions (not covered by health insurance). My family has a history of manic depression so it’s not a mild case unfortunately.

    • Gojko says:

      Oh my god… I feel you you. You must go slowly off this SSRI. Dont stop cold turkey… You must taper down slowly and then stop it. You will probablly feel sick at first, then youll start to recover… and I wish you to recover. I have PSSD for 12 years, Im now 33… and I took paxil only for 2,3 week.

  45. Michael Lonitur says:

    I took Paxil for 2 weeks 12 years ago. And still I have PSSD. I feel chronic fatigue, memory and concetration is bad,sleep also bad, so ERECTILE problems and sexual problem are part of this.

  46. Robert Tanner says:

    It is a relief to know it’s not all in my head.( as I have heard many times from my Dr.”Like the others in this thread,not only have I lost the ability to have an erection,I have no libido in any case.I have also lost feeling in the area.However as a 60 year old unattached male,this is not all bad.It is a new reality I must accept and the energy I previously put into dating,relationships,etc is now being channeled to many other projects.

  47. Mark says:

    I had an idea that this sort of condition may be being discussed somewhere on the internet. I first took Prozac at the age of 24 when trying to leave a distructive relationship and was suffering a mild level of depression, my GP slid a prescription over the table and muttered the words “well most of this town is on it, I don’t see why you shouldn’t be” with such arrogrance. Attempting to come off them brought about many other mental health problems that I’d never suffered before and some of which have followed me on in life 23 years later. I’m currently having another go at coming off the SSRI that I’m currently taking as I’d like to have some sort of sex life before it’s too late. Over twenty years of struggling to reach orgasm and having a less than sensitive penis has been mental torture as it has destroyed my confidence in finding a partner which I’d dearly love. I’m feeling as mentally well as I’ve ever felt and am almost off this vile drug but as someone else has mentioned, it has also affected the way I feel passion to things that I’ve always been interested in and loved. A friend of mine was on a much higher dose of the drug I’m taking and a few weeks after he withdrew from them, his sexual performance and feelings returned to normal so I guess I/we can live in hope!

  48. S says:

    I was prescribed a small dosage of citalopram to take when I was feeling lots of anxiety around over a year ago. I was in a bad place and stressed out to the point where from the moment I woke up to when I went to sleep my heart would beat what felt like a million miles a minute. From all the stress I had at the time I really wanted to kill myself. The citalopram managed to calm down my heart but it cost me my entire sex drive, my concentration and attention span and it’s been taking its toll on my 5-year relationship with my partner. I was 20-21 when I took this SSRI and I was only on it for a few weeks before I weened myself off of it because it took away my arousal. My partner is hopeful that I’ll get it back, I don’t really feel that optimistic though. I spent months getting referred for a sexual health therapist and managed to get 2 appointments before they said they couldn’t solve my issues and now I’m being referred to someone else? I also got someone from the pharmaceutical team in the surgery to look into it. And I think they gave me some data on there being a rare chance of taking citalopram to never regaining sexual arousal. I also got COVID and it took away my sense of smell and taste now most things taste horrible or just okay. I’ve looked about and there doesn’t seem to be a cure or good odds for recovering, same as the sex drive. And I’ve lost a lot of passion for my hobbies in life, one of my biggest hobbies was reading fanfiction and I have been doing that almost every night since I was like 11. So life feels pretty joyless right now, I’m also scared COVID will take more from me so I’m too anxious to meet with friends and family. So I spend all my time in my room on the computer and can maybe force myself outside once a week (I have really bad anxiety). I’ve seen a lot of comments about people wanting to kill themselves here, I do understand that. I’ve lost my hobbies, my sexual identity and most recently my sense of taste and smell. But I don’t want to give up. Brighter days may be ahead, new passions can be found and happiness may just be out of reach. In my lifetime perhaps there could be a cure for all of this? And is life really all about what you feel, maybe this is just a way for me to focus on making other people happy for now 🙂 Sorry for rambling, but I really appreciate being able to see other people in the same position as me and I hope my experience helps you somewhat.

  49. I just talked to my 25 year old son about this after being on anti’s in his teens and it is affecting his libido and erections. I would like to become part of the group or at least be informed.

  50. Damn says:

    I’ve been on a slough of medications for years to treat my depression. No loss of libido or function. The latest med was prozac, and I have only been on a small dose for the last 3 years. I only noticed a small increase in time before orgasm and increased refractory period. It wasn’t until I started weaning off the tiny dosage that I started having PSSD effects.

    I noticed emotional blunting, but just chocked it up to having an off month, mentally. Soon after, I noticed a distinct decrease in libido, and getting and maintaining an erection are now significantly more difficult than before. Again, I thought it was maybe an off month, and that they would go away on their own.

    It has been at least 6 months, and all symptoms have stayed. I’m scared to continue staying on the medication because it caused the effects in the first place. But I’m also scared to quit it completely, since it was the weaning off that started the symptoms in the first place. I don’t want this to get worse, and I don’t know what to do.

    I hope my comment as well as others can bring the spotlight to this issue. It is truly robbing people of a huge part of their humanity. I would never have taken these SSRIs if I had known this was a risk of being permanent. Nobody told me the risks.

    If you are having these symptoms, speak up. Post it here, and elsewhere. Prevent others from going through this. There are other ways to treat depression, but there is currently no known cure for PSSD.

    • Liam R. says:

      I feel the same way after taking antidepressants for the first time. I was on them for 2 years, and I’ve been off them for 2 years now, but I am not ‘me’ anymore. I’m 55, and I was in great shape, physically and mentally before antidepressants. My psychiatrist is in complete denial that antidepressants caused my PSSD, or that they can leave you feeling worse mentally and physically after taking them. When I find the courage to end my life, I want everyone to know that these drugs were responsible. They scrambled my brain and killed my soul. I have undergone a CT Scan, an MRI, and a plethora of blood tests to eliminate other possible causes of feeling this way. Thank you for listening. For those who are feeling the same way, please stop taking them if they are making you feel worse than you did before.

  51. Liz says:

    Hi, Emily,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with PSSD. I too am suffering from complete numbness in my clitoris due to PSSD. Sometimes I get this very unique feeling of desperation to feel something down there, and I feel kind of crazed trying to get a sensation to register. The feeling of numbness there can actually create this very strange and uncomfortable sensation in my body, if that makes any sense at all. It’s like not having a clitoris has made me realize how much my clitoris made me feel grounded and present in my body. It’s so hard to describe this “feeling” that the numbness creates for me. It’s like this really odd blank space that I become hyper-aware of sometimes (usually in bed at night), and nothing can make the feeling of blanknesss—an actual feeling of absence, a feeling that something key and core to my body is physically missing— go away. At times I can get so obsessed with the “sensation” of feeling nothing down there that it leads me to feel almost panicky/desperate (this happens most often in bed at night). I know this is all very weird and nebulous, but I wanted to know if you can relate to any of what I’m saying.

  52. Jane says:

    I’m 26 years old and I’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression . I was prescribed a cocktail of drugs including lithium, fluoxetine and an anti psychotic . I feel like I’ve been chemically lobotomised. Every day I feel like a mindless automaton or a Stepford wife just going through the motions not connecting with anyone or thinking deeply.
    My sex drive is non-existent and I find it very difficult to orgasm . I’ve gained over 3 stone in weight since lockdown began so I feel quite unattractive anyway! When I talk to doctors about it they are very dismissive and tell me to change my diet. I can’t raise the sexual problems with my psychiatrist because he’s a man. I just want my emotions and sex drive back

  53. Karen says:

    Wow I’ve been searching to find out what happened to me ,I googled the side effects of the antidepressants I was on a couple of years ago ,for one year . While on them I started noticing changes ,I no longer had sensation in my clitoris and wasn’t able to have an orgasm, I told my GP and it was dismissed and no longer mentioned, I am 60 years old and have been married 40 years , I haven’t had sex with my husband in two years .
    Although I am 60 sex was a big part of my life , I don’t feel anything so it’s not bothersome that way but I do miss having that feeling, also emotionally I am devastated because my husband feels like it is him and this is not fair to him .
    Had I been aware that this could be a risk I never would have taken them .
    I so wish there were some way to reverse this.
    I want my life back!

  54. Please help me with the facts that Depakote and Zoloft has damaged for weeks months or years

    Please tell me what you know about about my sexual attractions returning to me

  55. Ali says:

    This needs to be talked about so much more, and in my opinion there should be so much more research done on how antidepressants can ruin the sexual development of teens and children. I started Zoloft when I was 13 and kept taking it for about a decade. Nobody told me about the sexual side effects. I’m not even sure what attraction feels like. Physically I still have an independent sex drive, but barely, and I’m not noticeably attracted to anyone sexually or romantically no matter how much I want to be. Everything’s so muted. I think I’m queer but my attraction’s not even strong or consistent enough to label it and find solace in any community. I feel so robbed of an important part of me, and NOBODY talks about this happening and I feel so broken and alone. I feel like I’m a way that I wasn’t meant to be.

  56. Jake says:

    Please help…Has anybody with pssd had surgery? I plan to have liposuction for gynecomastia with sedation. Since doctors are unaware of this situation I wonder how people react to sedation or general anesthesia? Please let me know if you had surgery with sedation

  57. Samantha Turnbull says:

    I am a 35 year old female, I have been taking Sertraline for about 4 months after being diagnosed with PMDD, that I have had for years but with a terrible healthcare system in my small community didn’t get diagnosed until later in life. Sertraline has changed my life for the better right now, it controls my terrible violent mood swings, excessive crying, paranoia. I feel like I’m a totally different person. But on the other hand, I’ve completely lost feeling in my clitoris, I have no sexual desire anymore, the size of my clitoris is small and shrivelled, and I have a lot of pelvic pain. I’m so disappointed to hear about pssd as I feel the meds were actually helping me and making me a better person. But after hearing everyone’s stories I feel I may have to ask my doctor to ween me off these meds, I had a very active sex drive and now I am numb with no sexual desire.

  58. Jenny says:

    They are speaking about hypersexuality following SSRI treatment, but what about unwanted and distressing hypersexuality and compulsive sexual ideation and masturbation that intetfere with normal life!!

    • T says:

      Yes that was me 20 years ago & it was getting very bad “hypersexuality” Zoloft did control this , but shut be down sexually completely.
      would have been okay if I could have had both by controlling the tablets, but not so.

  59. Andrew M says:

    Hey I have pssd and wanted to see if you guys could help me get back to me and I’ll get into details

  60. Jerry says:

    Why doesn’t the media do an investigative report on antidepressants? The fact that demonstrable damage is occurring on a wide spread basis needs to be communicated to the public. Being afraid to discuss the facts, the risks, as it might detour people who ‘need’ ADs is no justification for denying patients their right to the information required to make an informed decision on whether to take ADs or not. This is especially true as many ADs are prescribed for off label purposes (e.g. as an aid for sleep problems). Imagine having PSSD after taking ADs to help you sleep. Not being told about the risk is criminal.

  61. Robin Wood says:

    I just began taking Abilify as a mood stabilizer for a currently undiagnosed mood disorder as my doctor put it… my sexual body parts are desensitizing and I’m concerned as this happened to me as an adolescent as well. I am also struggling to feel love which is not like me… I am an artist and can’t lose my passion please help!

    • Tonya A. says:

      I was put on Celexa 6yrs ago and it made me feel great! But when it came to sex my libido was gone I can relate to the numbing of the clitoris and no matter how hard I tried I could not reach a orgasim. I quit taking it after a family member died and I could not feel emotions from their death..and 6 yrs later my libido never returned. I use to have a high sex drive but no more. It’s hard to even get aroused. I miss that part of my life.

  62. Iyad says:

    Hi i was on 5-htp pills for about a month 200mg/day and at night taking melatonin .. i had sex and when cum immediately my muscles mass start shrinking and was feeling it with loss of hair .. anybody have clue ?

    Thanks

  63. Michael T says:

    12 months of trying several SSRIs and SNRIs have changed my brain permanently. I’ve been off of them for 3 years, and I feel like a different person. Always anxious now, dropped IQ 20 points, and personality is gone. Also suffering from PSSD, and mild tardive dyskinesia. Way worse than before I tried meds to reduce anxiety and depression. I pray the media cover the dangers of taking ADs, as my doctors did not. After looking at many studies on ADs, they appear to only help 20% of people. From researching and experiencing the side effects, they appear to cause more harm than good. The black box warning on all ADs is a huge RED FLAG, and only the tip of the ice berg.

  64. Iyad says:

    Hi ,
    Anybody lost connection with muscle mass ? Mine shrinks and feels doughy in just use 5-htp pills for only a month .. its been 4 years now and cant feel i have muscles like when i work out i dont feel them like they dont engage since they are watery .. any suggestion what its and how to fix ?

  65. thomas says:

    I had the unfortunate situation of being put across several antidepressants over many years. Each time I was told my partner would love the increased performance. But, when I was able to get off the meds, I not only lost the ‘enhanced performance’ but the previous stamina and sensation. Now I have neither of both. Had I known this would have happened or could have been a permanent consequences I would not have accepted them after the first time. Even specialist in sexual health don’t even consider this as a cause and just shrugged the sensual loss off. I don’t believe these side effects were deliberately hidden from the treating mental health practitioners, more that they honestly didn’t know as they told me at all times the side effects would cease when the meds were discontinued.