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techtonicPlatez1122 Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD)


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Hello everyone. I just wanted to share my situation.


I'm 28 and male. 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. At roughly the same time, I met, basically, the girl of my dreams. She feels the same way about me.


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. I was with the girl I mentioned before (now my girlfriend), and I just felt like the magic wasn't as strong as it was, or possibly wasn't even there.


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 (or if I feel depressed as a result of not having much of a sex drive), but I just found out about this dysfunction tonight and it's really bumming me out. My girlfriend has a very high libido and I know I used to, but right now nothing really excites me that much. I'll get bursts of joy, but they're fleeting moments. When I look at pornography (sorry to anyone that takes offense) I don't feel anything. I see the things that I know I'm attracted to, but nothing happens. I just tried to masturbate and couldn't even get a hint of an erection. I feel like my girlfriend and I have to be together in bed before I even start to feel aroused, and even then when she touches me, it doesn't feel right (not in a bad way, but not in a good way, either). I 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.


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.

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Oh, wow. Reading more of the other posts, I now realize the withdrawal symptoms of citalopram can come months after stopping treatment. Now I'm more worried; I don't know what to do. I suppose I should at least set up an appointment with my doctor/physician.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, techtonicPlatez1122.


Adverse sexual side effects are very, very common with SSRIs. A lot of people suffer emotional anesthesia after going off them as well.


Some people do suffer withdrawal syndrome and prolonged adverse effects even after taking them for a short time. Cold turkey is not a good idea.


Reinstating a tiny amount of Celexa, maybe 1mg, may help you feel less blah, but it probably will not help the PSSD. Only time can heal that. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3079-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-stop-withdrawal-symptoms/

and http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/52-post-ssri-sexual-dysfunction-pssd/


If you are experiencing a legacy of adverse reactions from the SSRI, your neurons are already plenty battered. Taking more psychiatric drugs may make everything worse.


If I were you, I'd let my nervous system heal without chemical intervention. It's a good sign you are getting "fleeting moments" of feeling better. This means your nervous system is trying to fix itself. The PSSD and blahs will gradually go away, but this can take months. You and your girlfriend may need to find ways to cope with your symptoms for a while.


In the meantime, you might look into non-drug ways to cope with your "depression." It may be some unhappy habits from your upbringing keep you from finding more enjoyment in life. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1112-non-drug-techniques-to-cope-with-emotional-symptoms/


Many people do well with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see



This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thanks for the quick response. I think starting back on a small amount of citalopram would be a good idea, I'm just terrified of the stuff now.


The genital numbness is the strangest sensation, and I'm still not sure if I know that's what it is. I feel like it only really started within the last week, but now I'm not so sure. I can be a bit of a hypochondriac, so take this with a grain of salt, but I had been riding my bike a lot for about two years before all of this started to happen, and had noticed a slight drop in sexual desire that I attributed to just getting older. Perhaps a combination of damage from bike-riding and the SSRI is a perfect storm of disfunction. I don't know.


I used to help self-medicate my depression with masturbation, and now I can't even do that easily. As with everyone suffering from this, I can't believe how this information wasn't given to me by my practitioner. I mean, I knew there were side effects, but I figured they would all stop if I stopped the medication so I thought 'why not?' Big mistake.


I think the emotional anesthesia might be the worst part. I mean, I am depressed, but I don't really feel a passion or a strong emotion for much anymore....except when it comes to things that stress me out, of course (my appearance, my relationship with others) but it's mostly the negatives. I'm so afraid this is going to continue to the point where I don't find happiness among friends/family anymore. I already feel a bit like I'm faking it around people.


Thank you for the links, I will look through them later tonight.

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This seems so prevalent it's maddening.


I keep finding posts on various sites all across the internet with people talking about having PSSD. I know that's not a large scientific sample, but it tells me that this happens to a lot of people. How is this not a bigger issue? /rhetorical-rant


I suppose that it is a good sign that I have fleeting moments of happiness, but I feel like they are dwindling. I don't know if that's the depression or not, or if it's psychosomatic (but how could I even know). I also feel as though the genital numbness is setting in more and more, but I don't know about that. I suppose it's also a good sign that I can ejaculate when masturbating, but it still requires a lot of effort to get an erection, which is depressing.


Also, so far I don't feel like the bupropion hcl xl (150mg) I'm on hasn't done much. It is supposed to be a stimulant, but I haven't really felt the stimulating effects or positivity or anything really, and I've been taking it for 20 or so days. Should I be concerned about this and bring it up with my physician?

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Sorry for the post-blast, but this is really eating away at my thoughts. Posting about it is at least making me feel a bit better and more at ease.


What's also concerning,/interesting to me is that this genital numbness has only started within the last week or so...within the time I starting taking the bupropion. I was having sexual side effects, like having a weaker sex drive than normal, but not numbness. I have a hope that maybe the bupropion is to blame, but based on everything I've read that doesn't seem likely. Is genital numbness a delayed withdrawal syndrome of citalopram? So far I haven't read anyone having that experience, but maybe it's finally worked it's way out of my system over these two months and now I'm starting to get the symptoms?

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  • Administrator

As I indicated above, any additional messing with your nervous system, such as with the buproprion, may indeed make the dysregulation worse.


If I were you, I'd go off the buproprion -- it isn't helping anyway -- and let my nervous system settle down. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/877-tips-for-tapering-off-wellbutrin-sr-xr-xl-buproprion/


Please try not to focus on the PSSD. This will make you more miserable. Think about giving your system time to heal.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Techtonic, welcome to SA.  


I agree with Alto, try not to focus on the PSSD, It will get better eventually but you

need to be patient. Not always easy to be patient but time is the healer.

 Imagine waking someone up from a coma, no amount of shaking will wake them, 

they will wake when their brain is ready to function again!  

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.



Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014


Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 


My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33


Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible



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Thanks for the responses. I can only wait it out, but I'm hoping it's not going to torture my soul.


Yeah, ending the bupropion sounds like a good idea. I'm going to my physician tomorrow to see what he thinks, but I don't really have confidence that he knows anything about this, so we'll see. I mean, I guess when I think about it, everything has spiraled slowly downward since I stopped taking the citalopram. The only thing that was really apparent before was the depression/blah state I got in, but I realize it's stuck with me. The bouts of happiness are less frequent now, and to get kind of specific my genitals have been cold all day. I was able to get it to warm up after messing with it for about a couple minutes of manual manipulation, but even then it never reached a full erection. I realize now that the last couple of times I was kissing my girlfriend, I wasn't fully in the game mentally. The fact that all of this is starting around now worries me. If it takes two months for the symptoms to really start showing up, how long will they last? (rhetorical).


But yes, trying not to focus on it too much is going to be hard, but probably necessary for my supposed happiness. I have to really try hard not to blame myself, even though it is mostly my own doing (I just decided one day to start taking antidepressants and didn't do much research -- I guess I figured if they were FDA approved, that the side effects couldn't be that bad.)

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One potentially interesting thing to note is that I felt the stimulant effects of the bupropion today (but not the crazy sex drive most people talk about T__T ), for what I think was the first time. I wasn't that hungry most of the day, which was kind of nice, but now I realize that it isn't worth it at all.

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Heh, I suppose my anxiety can't be helping...but I kind of just want to be done with them all. I want to end the proprolanolol, the wellbutrin, and be free of this.

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  • Administrator

You will need to taper propanolol as well.


Anxiety can be a side effect of buproprion. It is chemically related to amphetamine.


Don't expect your doctor to know anything about tapering off these drugs. Most do not.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thanks. Looks like I've got a lot of tapering to do, lol.


And yeah, I don't really know what I expect to happen when I go to my doctor, but I feel like I should at least bring go to him and bring it up. I might ask him for recommendations on therapists... though I'm not sure what to expect either in that regard.


I might start tapering off the citalopram tomorrow or Thursday, depending on how I feel in the morning. I really don't want to put anymore of it in my body, but I think I need to. I think I'd rather have some temporary relief while I taper off, just so I can at least know for sure that I haven't lost interest in everything and it is the medication that's making me more depressed than "normal."


Thanks again.

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  • Administrator

Do you mean taper the buproprion?


Please continue the propanolol as you usually take it. Changing 2 drugs at once confuses things a lot.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 11 months later...

Very much in your boat techtonicPlatez (can I assume from the handle that you're a techno music fan? :) ) It's been a long time since you seem to have posted here, so hopefully things have improved for you.


I'm also trying to taper off the Citalopram and add Wellbutrin for the sexual side effects, waiting to see if any results.


To go back to what the admins and a lot of the people on the board here say, a doctor's advice is often a case of the blind leading the blind. Can you believe that a few people who've been on Citalopram (including myself) have been told it causes the LEAST sexual side effects? In that case, what exactly what would happen with Prozac? Genitals falling off?!?? I brought up the sexual side effects of Citalopram to my psychiatrist and he keeps insisting that the only SSE is delayed ejaculation. Rubbish, absolute rubbish........

Cold turkey off Citalopram September 2014. Bad idea, so went back in October 2014-30 mg.

December 2014, tapered from 30 mg to 20 mg for 4 weeks. January 2014; tapered from 20 mg to 15 mg for 2 weeks. February 2014; now tapered to 10 mg, plan to taper down to 5 mg in 1 week.


Currently on Bupropion SR 150 mg a day. Take Clonazepam 0.5 only when need to sleep.

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