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Woman reveals how her addiction to antidepressants crushed her libido


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Barely a day goes by when I don't utter a prayer of gratitude that my experience with antidepressants didn't end in my death or permanent disablement.

I'm one of the estimated 1 to 4 per cent of people who reacts badly to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants, which include Prozac, Seroxat, Cipramil and Lustral.

By that, I don't mean feeling a bit dizzy or not quite myself: a small percentage of us become depressed and suicidal.

My story, previously told in Good Health, started when I was prescribed the anti-depressant escitalopram for sleepless nights while going through a divorce.

Within hours, I became dangerously psychotic, hallucinating that I'd killed my children. 

When I was taken to hospital, doctors failed to spot I was suffering an adverse drug reaction and gave me more pills. Over the course of a year, I became so ill I could barely leave the house.

By a stroke of luck, I was taken to another hospital that took me off all five medications I was on — and within weeks I was better, back at work as a film-maker and training for a half marathon.

That was four years ago, and apart from nightmares and flashbacks, I've come out unscathed and thankful to be alive.

Recently, I've come across a group of people who have given me another reason to be grateful.

That's because — as a result of taking SSRIs — they can't have sex and I can.

It's not something many people, or doctors, will talk about, but sexual dysfunction is a known side-effect of SSRIs while you are taking them.

Symptoms can include erectile dysfunction, inability to orgasm in women and genital numbness.

Around five million people in the UK take SSRIs, and 58 per cent of them could be experiencing these kinds of sexual side-effects, according to one authoritative study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2001.

Regarded as one of the most thorough studies on the subject, this analysed the incidence of antidepressant-related sexual dysfunction in more than 1,000 outpatients, all of whom had normal sexual function before being treated. 

Researchers looked at some of the most popular SSRIs, including fluoxetine, better known by the brand name Prozac.



cannabis: Spring 2002 - Dec. 2007; regularly smoked, stopped cold turkey; symptoms: paranoid and depressed

Paroxetine: 20 mg July 2008, 40 mg October, 20 mg spring 2009, 0 mg summer 2009

Depakote (sodium valproate): October 2008 - Spring 2009

Haloperdidol 1 week Oct. 2008, H caused seizures, went to A&E;  stopped taking it.

Citalopram few weeks in the fall of 2009 to deal with withdrawal symptoms from stopping paroxetine

Paroxetine round 2: 20 mg Feb - summer 2010 -20mg don't remeber if I went up to 40mg

Venlafaxine & sodium valproate (again): Sep 2010 - Summer 2012  

SERTRALINE: November 2012 - May 2016 , 50-100mg (few days @ 150mg in Summer '15). a complete freak out at the end of April. 

May 2016 Prescribed Lithium and Abilify HAVE NOT TAKEN

No medications May 2016 - October 2016

Hospitalised - November 13th 2016 - Prescribed 15 mg Mirtazapine/Remeron. Reducing since 24 December 2016.  9 June 2017 medication free. 


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