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Altostrata

PSSD Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction

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India

Hello all,

 

Although I still have a whole host of symptoms affecting my capacity to be a part of life I want to report on significant progress in respect to pssd. For at least 6-8 months after a basic ct from citalopram and a reinstatement in September 2018,   I felt completely numb down below. I couldn’t orgasm. I had a high sex drive before taking meds and a medium one on the meds. Eventually, in WD, I was able to orgasm but if the intensity of my orgasms on the meds were 7/10, this was 1/10. 

 

Fast forward; I was lucky enough to meet someone who was both romantic, sensual and compassionate to my situation . I consider it a sort of gift from the universe. He was working for 6 months here and hoping to play on the music scene before he had to return to europe to further his studies . I don’t have much interaction with people but it so happened  I went to his shop regularly  and we got talking. 

 

He is a beautiful soul and slowly we got intimate. lo and behold, I found my ability to feel sexually much increased. The intensity of my orgasms back to 7 or 8/10. He didnt put pressure on me but seemed to know my body well. I had multiple orgasms with him too, impossible before . 

 

i’m not sure how this progress happened but I think without me realising it I was slowly healing in that department. He also cooked for me and looked after me when I couldn’t get out of bed which gave me extra energy for recovery which I think helped this aspect also .

 

I hope sharing this will give hope. I think we all have different paths in terms of the time line of symptom recovery. Unfortunately, my cognitive/memory  blocks have not taken same trajectory but I should be grateful for this. 

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India
On 1/8/2019 at 5:11 AM, Lloyd said:

I gave up on talking to psychiatrists about the damage done to me by anti depressants. They know everything & its all in my head - how wonderful they have a complete & irrefutable understanding of how the human brain works. I'm sure that's what they thought back when they were performing lobotomy's on unsuspecting vulnerable children. God forbid if the drugs they are prescribing actually do more harm than good, these people would be out of jobs and we cant have that!

 Cognitive dissonance + arrogance/superiority complex  = a  combination i’d like to avoid. Those who admit their ignorance are safer. 

A number of philosophers call for the need to respect the limits of human knowledge ?? ( can’t remember  exactly who due to memory issues)

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hussy

How is everyone feeling now? Time for an update maybe?

I have been in bad situation and its been 2yrs 7 months off SSRI for me. i had windows early on when i thought i was going to recover.

now things are bad and no window for 1 year actually. How are you guys doing

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lainfalco

Pssd it’s caused by ADs, but it’s the same when is from APs? I think it’s worse when you take APs . Any idea ? I used to have a very hi lívido , after taking abilify for a month I’m complete impotent. I’m taper of APs . I have shirnk penis and feels like cold. And the anhedonia also strong. Desmotivated

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Haleybeans

Does PSSD happen shortly after quitting antidepressants, or can it happen months after you stop?

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Altostrata

@Haleybeans I added your post to our existing very long discussion about PSSD.

 

Sexual dysfunction can start when you're taking psychiatric drugs or when you stop taking them. It is a sign of general nervous system and body upset from the effect of psychiatric drugs, and tends to fade over time.

 

We don't have many reports of PSSD starting after some months off drugs, but it's possible.

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Superwoman

I am having a lot of sexual dysfunction and have been for years. I am relived to find out that I do not have PSSD.  Altostrata says that by definition PSSD is sexual dysfunction that persists after one is off of antidepressants. I am still on Effexor 112.5 mg.  I believe that I may be having some sexual side effects but I am trying to figure out if my symptoms are psychological because of ptsd from childhood sexual abuse or if it is side effects from the antidepressant. I think that it could be both. 

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Superwoman

My symptoms are..,..

 

lack of genital and nipple sensation (80%) numb

low libido

crying after orgasm and during sex (sad not happy tears)

headache after orgasm

chronic pelvic pain

vaginismus

pelvic floor dysfunction 

 

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Superwoman

Does anyone else cry after orgasm or during sex?  Not tears of joy, sad tears. Like you just feel really sad and don’t know why. Is this a side effect of antidepressants?

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Altostrata

Please consult Dr. Google. That is a normal reaction to sex for some people. We don't counsel people about it here.

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CharlieBrown
7 hours ago, Superwoman said:

I believe that I may be having some sexual side effects but I am trying to figure out if my symptoms are psychological because of ptsd from childhood sexual abuse or if it is side effects from the antidepressant. I think that it could be both. 

 

I think it could be both as well. If you tapered off medication completely, you would have an answer. I find things to be a combination of factors.

Childhood trauma is no fun. I can say I'm sorry, I know what serious trauma is like. but I don't live your life. So I can only wish you the best.

That trauma, very likely is having a psychological and in turn, a physiological effect. But it's very possible the medication you're taking, is part of your symptoms too.

 

I've known women who still had a strong libido, normal sensitivity, while on SSRI's, and some women who lost their libido and most of their sensitivity.

The good thing is that usually the side-effects are not permanent.

 

Also... Ditto on what Altostrata said ^^^

"I've known women..."

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Superwoman

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/post-sex-blues-ptsd-trauma_l_5d07ae83e4b01c6757e79aae

 

16 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Please consult Dr. Google. That is a normal reaction to sex for some people. We don't counsel people about it here.


 I found the above article on google about crying during or after sex. The article says that it can be normal or it can be from trauma.  I was just wondering if this can also be a sexual side effect of antidepressants?  Do other people here experience this?  Or is it purely psychological?  
 

There are a lot of sexual problems that I have had for years that I attributed to sexual trauma. Now I am questioning if some of these problems might not be psychological from trauma, but rather a side effect of the antidepressants. For example, I had no idea at all that antidepressants can make your genitals feel numb. I just assumed that this must be a psychological effect from the sexual abuse. I thought that maybe I was dissociating during sex. But I also feel numb down there even when I am not having sex, such as when bathing. I don’t think that I am dissociating then.  How can  you tell if a sexual problem is psychological from trauma or if it is physical as a side effect of antidepressants?

 

The crying during and after sex is very disruptive. It happens a lot. It is very confusing as well because it feels good physically but bad emotionally. My mind and body are not in agreement sometimes.  Sometimes when I am using my vibrator tears are just streaming down my face and physically it feels pleasurable physically but emotionally I feel sad and shame. I feel like there is something wrong with me and my body.  I don’t understand how it can feel both good and bad.  Do you think this is normal?  It is confusing.  It is like things got linked together. Like sex is associated with sadness for me. I don’t want it to be like this.  I want it to feel joyful and ecstatic when I make love with my husband. My husband is so sweet and caring. He just holds me in his arms while I sob. I don’t usually know why I feel sad. It is healing that my husband comforts me. I am lucky he is is so gentle and I love him so much. 


The crying after orgasm was the first sexual problem that I developed. It started when I was a teenager. Before this I never had any sexual problems. It started out as my eyes filling with tears during orgasm. It then progressively worsened to full sobbing for no apparent reason. At the time that this started I did not consciously remember the abuse yet but it was starting to surface as I was waking up with night terrors. I don’t think that I was on any antidepressants at the time but I may have been taking Ritalin or Adderal which I recall effected my libido. 

 

22 hours ago, Superwoman said:

My symptoms are..,..

 

lack of genital and nipple sensation (80%) numb

low libido

crying after orgasm and during sex (sad not happy tears)

headache after orgasm

chronic pelvic pain

vaginismus

pelvic floor dysfunction 

 

Above are my other symptoms. I forgot to add weak muted orgasms to the list and difficulty climaxing.  I also have lack of vaginal lubrications. This has improved a lot since I tapered down the Effexor. I am not sure if it completely back to normal yet since my husband and I have not had sex for months.  Which if any of these do you think are a side effect of Effexor?  The genItal numbing started 15 years ago when the dose of my Effexor was raised from 150 mg to 225mg. Before this I had completely normal sexual function and sensation (except for the crying during orgasm). Even after the dose of Effexor was lowered again to 150mg. the genital sensation never returned to what it was.  I never even correlated this with the change in dose until recently.  At this time I was in a crisis I had just started therapy for the childhood abuse, there was lots of family drama because I revealed it and I had repressed memories surfacing and PTSD. Because of all this I assumed that the sexual dysfunction was psychological and due to the trauma. I had no idea until recently that psych drugs cause genital anesthesia. That is such a bizarre side effect and one no doctor ever warned me about. So now after learning this I am looking back and wondering if some of my symptoms might not in fact be psychological, but might be medication related. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

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Altostrata

In the context of PSSD, you are fortunate in being able to enjoy sex and orgasm. Crying after sex has never been reported as a withdrawal symptom or PSSD symptom.

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Frankgrimes

Interestingly, now that I am off Paxil and Zoloft, I have worse sexual issues.  While moving things around, more SSRI would make me instantly horny - like a hit if cocaine.  When we tried to increase my lexapro to 12.5 from 10, it increased sex drive - but it wasn’t pleasurable.  Perhaps it caused some mania.  Now I feel like I have pssd - although this may just be life on lexapro, Wellbutrin and lithium - and possibly adrenal fatigue.  


Has anyone else ever experienced increased sex drive immediately from an SSRI?

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Variance

I've been spending rather too much time recently going through all the PSSD threads/forums and working myself up into a bit of a state about it all. I don't think it's particularly helpful at all after a point to continually and obsessively research things.

 

Nevertheless, on a positive note, it's interesting to search for some of the users that were posting at the very beginning of this thread. Very many of them appear to have posted significant improvements/recoveries. Others have gone completely quiet for many years - and I think it's safe to assume that they're probably doing alright - clearly they're not obsessing and posting in online forums about PSSD, so I'd guess they're doing better too!

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Spruce30

How long have you had PSSD Variance?

 

Have you reported it to Rxisk?

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Roxane
On 6/18/2011 at 1:45 PM, strawberry17 said:

Sexual dysfunction was a huge issue for me on SSRI's which is one of the main reasons I was so determined to get off them. I have been lucky in that normal sexual functioning has been restored since I have been tapering.

I took an antidepressant for three days and got bad sex dysfunction. It seemed to be getting better after a week and a half and then got worse. It has now been almost three weeks. I don't know if I have PSSD or not. Do you have any knowledge about this?

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Roxane
On 3/11/2014 at 2:17 AM, techtonicPlatez1122 said:

Hello everyone. I just wanted to share my situation (28/m). I posted a longer version of this in the introductions forum - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5948-post-ssri-sexual-dysfunction-pssd/

 

First of all, thanks for providing all of this information and for sharing your stories. It feels good knowing there is hope of recovery, and there are others that understand. I really had no idea until I was browsing the wikipedia page on SSRI sexual disfunction that there was even a possibility of the symptoms continuing after treatment ended. I has just assumed it had to work it's way out of my system. 

 

So, my story. I started taking Citalopram (10mg) January 1st. I thought the side-effects sounded scary, but thought it was worth it because I have been dealing with depression for a long time. About a month into taking Citalopram daily, I started to notice the sexual side effects (unable to achieve orgasm and some genital numbness). So, I stopped taking them cold turkey that day (I know, bad idea). I didn't feel any withdrawal symptoms, but about a month afterward, I became what I can only say was 'blah' for a whole day, and then the following week. I don't know if it is depression or not, but it really bummed me out.

 

About a week after that blah/depressed episode, I decided to ask my doctor about trying taking Wellbutrin (150), because I read it didn't have the sexual side effects that Citalopram has. I've been on it for about 20 days, but I still don't feel very different. It's been about two months since I stopped taking Citalopram.

 

I don't know if I have Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction or if I'm just depressed. My girlfriend has a very high libido and I know I used to, which is incredibly frustrating, but right now nothing really excites me that much. I'll get bursts of joy, but they're fleeting moments. When I look at visual stimulation, the kind of stuff that I usually get aroused by, nothing happens. I just tried to masturbate and couldn't even get a hint of an erection. I do still get erections in the morning, but once it goes away it doesn't come back easily.

 

I've also been taking Propolanolol, and have started tapering off of it in the hopes that it might be affecting my sexual disfunction, but after reading what I have, I don't have much hope that that's the case.

Propranolol DOES affect sex functioning so don't give up hope. It may very well end help your problem.

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IWantToHeal
On 3/21/2019 at 4:18 AM, 1Day said:

I wanted to post a quote which I hope will help people with PSSD feel more hopeful.  It is a quote I found on a website forum from back in 2009.  Although much of the discussion is about potential treatments for PSSD, the quote is from somebody who met a doctor who not only admitted that PSSD exists, but who also said that they have met their fair share of patients with the condition.  The quote backs up what the moderators here say: that recovery usually happens but it takes a long time.  The quote is below and is from the following link:  https://www.remedyspot.com/content/topic/3652447-re-clomide-and-cabergoline-is-working-for-me-now-lets-see-how-long-this-last/ 

 

"On a side note, my local urologist totally surprised me at my first appointment

 

seeking a trial of Dostinex. My primary physician referred me to him with a

 

diagnosis of ED because she was uncomfortable prescribing Dostinex herself.

 

When I clarified the variety of my sexual symptoms beyond mere erectile

 

dysfunction and started to explain my history with antidepressants, he

 

interrupted me and said I didn't need to say anything more. That he already knew

 

what I was going to tell him.

 

He knew all about PSSD - it was not something he was skeptical of or which I had

 

to convince him of - so word is getting out. And for the first time, a physician

 

told ME that a simple script for Viagra wouldn't solve the problem! I nearly

 

burst into tears to finally have a professional really hear what I was saying

 

and validate my condition!

 

He says he's seen his fair share of patients with sexual dysfunctions that

 

persist after discontinuing antidepressant medications and that, in his

 

experience, most recover completely - eventually - but that it does take on the

 

order of years".

 

On 3/21/2019 at 4:18 AM, 1Day said:

 

 

 

This post really helped me! 

 

We don't always hear about all the people who recover because they may not come online to post their success stories. But who to know better about the recovery rate among PSSD sufferers than a urologist who has them as his or her patients.

 

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Variance

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/feb/04/since-starting-on-antidepressants-i-have-trouble-orgasming

 

Plenty of commenters who experienced sexual side effects, and most of them reported improvement or reversal of these, eventually. And one or two who haven't (yet.)

 

It's important to remember that this is a bell curve. Most of us who have found our way here are probably at the unlucky end of it, but at the same time are almost certain to see improvement, or recovery, eventually - just on a longer timescale than we might hope.

 

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Stuckinmyhead13

Hello SA , first time post here I guess it's time to see what's out there. I suffer from pssd since 2018, it's going on a year and 5 months of complete loss of sexual function. I took a drug called anafranil (75mg) for about 3 months starting experiencing issues probably within 3 days I started feeling genital numbness and loss of libido. I discontinued the meds only to find that within months I started getting worse and have complete anhendoina. I have zero thoughts of sex and can't cilmax. Im young male and it's making me very suicidal and angry. I haven't had a window or improvement in any area in a year. I try to stay off forums and internet reading through story's but I find comfort because I'm lonely and isolated now. I barely leave my house. Reading that this might be a change in my dna is making me paranoid. I'm not sure I have years to wait this out for any improvement. I'm depressed, and very angry about my situation. Not sure what I'm going to get out of this forum other than support of others but my feelings of distress is unbearable at this point. 

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Spruce30

Stuckinmyhead13, don't give up people do recover from PSSD, but it can take a long time.

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Superwoman

https://www.zestra.com/
 

I want to report on something that has helped me with antidepressant sexual side effects.  It is called Zestra.  I posted the link above.  It is a natural product that contains a blend of herbs.  You apply it topically to the genital area.  I mentioned it to my naturopathic doctor and she said that the herbs in it are Vasodilators.
 

It is kind of pricey, $40 to $50, but for me it is worth every penny.  It definitely increases sensation.  It is not a cure. I still lack sensation even when using it, but I feel much more numb without it. It is the only thing that I have found so far that helps with the genital anesthesia.  They have a packet of 3 single use samples that is $12. 
 

It is designed for women, but I don’t see any reason why men can’t use it too.  My husband used some of mine and he said that it felt a lot better for him too.  FYI, don’t use it with latex condoms b/c oil based products destroy latex condoms.  The non-latex condoms we use are called Skyn.  We have never had an issue using the product with these condoms. 

It may be a safer bet for us hypersensitive people in withdrawal.  A supplement or drug that is ingested has a systematic effect while this effect is localized. The only side effect they mention is that some people can have a burning sensation.  You may want to first try a little on your arm to make sure you don’t have an allergy.  
 

It is one of the only products for sexual problems that has any research supporting it.  Albeit it is only two studies and probably product funded, but we gotta take what we can get.  The studies are listed on the link.  One is on women with antidepressant sexual side effects.  
 

If anyone tries the Zestra let us know if it helps.  Also tell me what it smells like to you.  It smells like something familiar like a candy.  It drives my husband and I nuts because we can’t place the smell. 

 

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1Day
On 2/1/2020 at 2:40 PM, IWantToHeal said:

 

 

 

This post really helped me! 

 

We don't always hear about all the people who recover because they may not come online to post their success stories. But who to know better about the recovery rate among PSSD sufferers than a urologist who has them as his or her patients.

 

 

I am glad the post helped you.  I often read it when I am feeling bad.  And like you say, it is good to hear a quote from somebody who knows about the condition, has seen a number of people with it and followed their outcomes i.e. they were his or her patients.  And says the same thing that the moderators here say!

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1Day
On 2/4/2020 at 8:43 PM, Variance said:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/feb/04/since-starting-on-antidepressants-i-have-trouble-orgasming

 

Plenty of commenters who experienced sexual side effects, and most of them reported improvement or reversal of these, eventually. And one or two who haven't (yet.)

 

It's important to remember that this is a bell curve. Most of us who have found our way here are probably at the unlucky end of it, but at the same time are almost certain to see improvement, or recovery, eventually - just on a longer timescale than we might hope.

 

 

Exactly.  There are many people out there that have recovered from this.  And most of them probably would not even think to comment on some news article to say that they have recovered.  But at least some do! 

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Bridgetini
On 2/4/2012 at 6:56 PM, Altostrata said:

In response to a request for more detail about my PSSD:

 

I had the absolute genital anesthesia at first for quite a while, then that slowly went away, and sexual response gradually returned. This took several years. It's still improving.

 

I'm a menopausal woman. My hormonal situation may not be the same as yours. I got a little benefit from microdoses of DHEA (an unpredictable prohormone thought to turn into testosterone in women) but it gave me whiskers so I stopped it. I got a little more benefit from microdoses of estrogen in the Menostar patch, but it also helped other symptoms, such as sleep and hot flushes, which may have had something to do with sexual function recovery as well.

 

If you are younger, I suspect your recovery may be faster.

 

I would caution everyone, however, from experimenting with drugs to push PSSD recovery along. They may make other withdrawal symptoms worse.

 

PSSD is only one manifestation of withdrawal syndrome, which is basically autonomic dysregulation. Trying various drugs for PSSD can interfere with your body's attempt to correct its autonomic functioning. This will make recovering from PSSD and the rest of withdrawal syndrome more difficult and take longer.

 

To recover from PSSD and withdrawal syndrome, do your best to improve your sleep (if you have withdrawal insomnia) and calm your nervous system with stress-reduction techniques, healthy diet, and a positive attitude.

 

We are all victims of medical error, but we can take charge of our recoveries. Unpatient yourself and take care of yourself to support your recovery.

Thanks @Altostrata for explaining that SSRI withdrawal syndrome is autonomic dysregulation. Looking up autonomic dysregulation gives the explanations of what it is and the effects. A useful reminder.

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Eulalie

Hi guys, I feel completely trapped and emotionally destroyed by what I can now identify as PSSD, and want to get some insight on it from others who have experienced the same issue.

I'm a 20 year old woman, and I've been medicated for most of my teen and adult life. I started Lexapro (can't remember the dosage) when I was 15, got off of it after a month because it caused severe confusion. Then I went on Wellbutrin, and was functioning alright sexually but it destroyed my short term memory. I was able to orgasm and feel complete sexual stimulation when I was still 17.

 

However, due to the memory issues, when I was 17 I switched from Wellbutrin to a combination of 75 mg of Effexor (Venlafaxine) and 10 mg of Seroquel for depression and psychosis. I stopped the Seroquel after about a year, but I've been on Effexor up until this past January, although my dosage was lowered to 37.5 mg 2 years ago. Ever since I went on Effexor, my sexual stimulation has been horrific. I either feel nothing, or if my clitoris is stimulated, it just feels overwhelming and uncomfortable, with no chance of an orgasm. 

 

I came off of it in January because of the sex issues, but my issues with stimulation still exist, and if anything have worsened. I also have almost totally lost my sex drive. Prior to Effexor, I had a high sex drive and it was easy for me to orgasm. I know this is not a "me" problem.

 

I've tried talking to a gyno about this, but one literally walked out of the room on me as I was speaking, saying I was "too young" to consult about this. Apparently I was "too young" to be informed of the complications of the drugs I was on, too.

 

Other gynos have totally brushed it off as psychological. Unfortunately, my reason for going on meds initially was due to an abusive relationship in my teen years, and that has been the scapegoat by every doctor I've been to. I can't stress enough that that isn't the case. My history with sexual assault has also been used as a easy blame for my issues, despite the fact my assault cases occurred after I already experienced sexual dysfunction.

 

I know I have only been about one-two months off Effexor, which is nothing compared to how long some PSSD sufferers have dealt with, but I am detecting a serious issue here and so far all I've read online has been "this is going to last forever." I am in a long-term relationship and my boyfriend knows all about the issue and has been incredibly understanding and caring and has tried his best to try to work past it, but I can tell it is wearing on him. I don't know how we can deal with it if this is permanent.

 

I'm incredibly desperate here. No doctor will listen to me, my relationship is in jeopardy, and I have to force myself to have sex or engage in sexual activities just to preserve my relationship and it's starting to make me dread sex. I've tried researching but every site says it's hopeless, and there's no treatment. 

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manymoretodays

Hi Eulalie,

You may want to read through this entire topic, if you have not yet.  And then also, do note the sites listed in post one, as well......as places that might offer the best support, to you around this issue now.

 

We are a site for tapering, and support around WD.

 

How did you come off your Effexor in January?

Please start a topic about yourself in this forum

^ will take you to our Introductions forum, where you can start a topic about yourself

Keep in mind too, please, that we are a family friendly site, overall. 

 

You should not ever have to force yourself to do anything to preserve a relationship, I'm a little concerned about that.

And nothing is ever hopeless.

 

Best, L, P, H, and G,

moderator mmt

 

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1Day
On 3/26/2020 at 7:31 PM, Eulalie said:

I've tried researching but every site says it's hopeless, and there's no treatment. 

Hi Eulalie,

 

I have PSSD so fully understand how you are feeling.  But I have to disagree with your statement above: the very site you are on here does not say it is hopeless and also has many accounts of people recovering from PSSD.

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Spruce30
On 3/26/2020 at 7:31 PM, Eulalie said:

 

I'm incredibly desperate here. No doctor will listen to me, my relationship is in jeopardy, and I have to force myself to have sex or engage in sexual activities just to preserve my relationship and it's starting to make me dread sex. I've tried researching but every site says it's hopeless, and there's no treatment. 

 

Don't give up Eulalie. People do recover from PSSD, but it can take a long time, often many years. I completely understand your frustration at being disbelieved by the medical profession, it unfortunately happens to most people with PSSD, and compounds the suffering we are dealing with. It is a disgrace the way the medical profession treats people with PSSD, but keep going as people do come out the other side. 

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CharlieBrown

Yes indeed! Take care of yourself. Take it easy. Don't worry if you have ups and downs, with regard to symptoms. It's a sign of change!

There is hope for recovery!

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Rajat

I have had pssd for 2 yrs now. My biggest symptom is low libido and difficulty getting an erection.  Once I achieve an erection i am able to maintain it and have sex and after I get an erection the libido also returns. I am able to get an erection with partner but not without her. There are some days when i feel like the old self but then it's back to pssd state. Dunno how long will the fluctuations last. The only good part is that I am able to have sex with the partner.

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Auroragirl

I have PSSD but my sexual symptoms weren't that bad while on the SSRI. I just had an inability to orgasm but I still had libido and sensation of my genitals. It was only after quitting that I lost all libido and developed genital anesthesia. I have since reinstated Prozac and while it has helped reduced some WD symptoms, the PSSD remains. Is there anyone here with experience of this symptom  improving after reinstatement? 

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Leo1983

It goes in time. Mine has taken about 2 years.

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Auroragirl
2 minutes ago, Leo1983 said:

It goes in time. Mine has taken about 2 years.

2 years after reinstatement?

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