Image from time.com
I'm well known for being an antidepressant hater because of their well-documented effects on sexual desire and orgasm. I should note that the debate continues about whether antidepressants are at fault in all cases or whether those taking them had low desire to begin with, since many times decreased desire for sex is a symptom of depression itself. Whatever.
I'm less well known as an alumnae of Mr. Jefferson's University (aka the University of Virginia) and occasionally read the lame alumni magazine they send me. So imagine my surprise when I read this article in the new issue, which had this to say:
"Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher of Rutgers University and U.Va. psychiatrist James Thomson (Med '74) theorize that the possibility of love itself is blunted by SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), the most common type of antidepressants. They say they've seen evidence that antidepressants alter brain chemistry in a way that reduces the chance a person can fall in love or feel strong romantic attachment."
This is big, I think--while there are patients for whom antidepressants are absolutely necessary, as someone who has been the romantic partner of someone taking these drugs, this speaks to my experience to a certain extent. So we can add "inability to fall in love" to the list of reasons taking antidepressants might not actually be a good way to treat depression. But this is a challenge to Science to figure out how to treat medical conditions in a way that doesn't turn people into feelingsless robots. Prescribing physicians (especially psychiatrists) need to be forthcoming with patients about sexual side effects and understand that, for some patients, these effects are totally intolerable. But that's another post.