Is Depression decimating your libido?
At its most severe, depression can be a wholly incapacitating disorder, one that is commonly stigmatized with moodiness, laziness and an inability to play well with others; and the problem is so severe, that depression is ranked the top cause of disability in adults in the U.S.A.
There are plenty of articles out there on how to not let depression take control of your life, energy and work ethic. But there is one issue that is commonly related to depression that seems to be addressed inadequately, and that is the result that the disorder has on its sufferer’s sex life.
I’m sure you would agree that sex is an integral part of our lives, so when something like depression starts to hamper it, one needs to look at what the relationship between a sound mental state and a healthy libido is.
I aim to explore this relationship here, by asking how depression might affect your sex drive, what can be done to increase your libido in times of mental strain, and possibly even use sex and intimacy as a means of alleviating the weight of depression.
"Sex is an integral part of our lives, so when something like depression starts to hamper it, one needs to look at what the relationship between a sound mental state and a healthy libido is..."
How to Increase Libido: Why Depression Can Lead to a Lowered Libido
Typically, various types of depression are not wholly tied to sexual health.
However, the many debilitating side effects of this affliction are likely to cut into the bedroom as they stamp out their sufferer's desire to partake in sexual pleasure, or indeed make it difficult if not impossible to enjoy the act.
Symptoms such as impregnable sadness, loneliness, lack of interest, insomnia, fatigue, irritability and general apathy are all felt strongly on a consistent basis by those suffering from depression; and while some might find the act of making love to be a relief from these symptoms, they are often felt so severely as to destroy the sufferer’s sex life.
Beyond that, many of the treatments and remedies used to alleviate depression have a direct impact on your sex drive. Not everybody who seeks treatment will be affected in this way by their medication, but most will.
Start by treating your depression
If you are suffering from a severe enough case of depression that it is hampering your sexual desire, you can be sure that it is wearing away at many other aspects of yourself as well.
In this case, treatment for depression shouldn't only be sought as a means to enjoy better sex, but to achieve an overall better quality of life. You may be put off by the fact that many treatments are likely to further dampen your desire, but even still, putting your need for sex to the back of the importance line and seeing to your mental health should be a priority.
The ease at which a case of depression can be treated depends largely on its severity in the sufferer. In some cases, a short course of medication can alleviate and even cure the symptoms, while in others, extensive courses of anti-depressants as well as counseling may be necessary.
Breaking the habit
Those who have been suffering from depression for an extended time will find help and relief through the right medication which acts to normalise the chemistry in the brain. However, even once this chemistry is balanced, there is still the matter of habitual thought processes to deal with.
A long time sufferer of depression has likely formed a habit of thinking in a certain way, and this habit of thinking will likely undermine the effectiveness of clinical treatments. For this reason, it is a good idea for a sufferer of depression to do their best to will the energy that will allow them to apply themselves to new activities and ways of thinking; a goal which is often only possible with the assistance of therapy.
Try take walks, instigate sex and foreplay, using a ‘fake it til you make it’ approach.
On the other hand, if it is your partner who suffers from depression, attempts to coax her out of her hazy bubble to get intimate with you, will likely only push her deeper into the void of her thoughts.
Foster honest communication with your partner
When depression hits your sex-drive, it becomes essential to try and foster open and honest communication with your partner on the matter.
Those who are in relationships with sufferers of depression might mistakenly take their sour moods, lack of libido and apathy as a sign that they are not interested; which can make them feel like the problem is personal. A slump in your sex drive due to depression doesn't have to be a boon on your partner.
Be honest with them about your affliction, communicate openly and ensure that they understand what you are going through. When it comes to matters of sex, any disinterest can easily be taken personally by your partner, both in a frustrating and confidence-undermining way.
So try to make her understand that it isn't her, it's you.
This will also allow you to seek treatments and reliefs together, which will bring you closer even if it doesn't stir intimacy.
Find out more about your medication
More often than not, the means used to treat depression will have a number of different effects on the body and mind, and side effects vary between available drugs as widely as they do between users.
Some may have an initial impact on your sex drive that fades as your body gets used to the medication, others might completely stamp out your sense of desire, while some might have no effect at all.
What is important to remember is that most treatments need to go on for a few months before any of the beneficial side-effects start to show, and the unpleasant ones start to fade. So patience and persistence are necessary.
You should always speak to your doctor before starting or discontinuing a course of antidepressants.
They are powerful drugs which alter your brain’s chemistry. As such, one must be exceptionally careful not to break their treatment (even in the face of unpleasant side effects), as it could lead to a far more severe case of depression, anxiety, general health problems and in the worst case, even suicide.
How to increase libido when you’re depressed
The first thing one should do is find treatment. Since depression is the root of the problem, it should be dealt with first, but don’t expect a quick fix. Courses of antidepressants and therapy might last anywhere from weeks and months to indefinitely throughout a depressed person’s life.
Secondly, try to take better care of your mental and physical health. Get plenty of exercise to flood your body with endorphins, eat healthy food and ensure that you try and get enough sleep so that your brain can find it easier to regulate moods while allowing your body to produce the testosterone needed to create a healthy sexual appetite and increase your libido. Depression may make this difficult, and so a large part of pulling yourself from that dark abyss of your mind requires a little more will than you think you can muster.
Another important one is to try and cut out any unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking or taking drugs.
These habits not only lower your sperm count and sex drive but also make it difficult for you to combat depression effectively, even if they seem like quick fixes at the time.