Antidepressants Change Feelings of Love

Participants taking SSRIs felt less comfortable with shared thoughts, feelings

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 9, 2014 4:28 PM CDT

(Newser) – People who suffer from depression but are happily in love—perhaps an odd combination—may want to think twice about popping certain antidepressants, LiveScience reports. In a new study, researchers gave two kinds of antidepressants to 192 people who were depressed but in healthy relationships for at least seven months. "Indeed, our subjects were those who could be properly considered smitten by love," says study author Hagop Akiskal. The participants—69 men and 123 women, with a mean age of 41—filled out questionnaires saying how their feelings of attraction, attachment, and love toward their partner changed after taking the drugs. What they found:

  • Participants taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were more likely to be uncomfortable with "sharing their partners' thoughts and feelings," reports LiveScience, and less hopeful that their love would endure, than those taking taking the other kind—tricyclic antidepressants.
  • Men taking SSRIs were less inclined to ask for advice or help from their partners than women taking SSRIs.
  • Women taking tricyclic antidepressants saw more negative effects on their sex lives than men taking the same drug.
"The good news is that there are a variety of agents for treating depression," says Akiskal. Meanwhile, antidepressant consumption has been rising worldwide for the past decade, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in an article that looks at who is using the drugs and why. Teenagers in the US, however, are taking fewer antidepressants—perhaps too few—since an FDA warning about possible suicide risks in 2004, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. (But here's some good news for pregnant women taking antidepressants.)

  (Shutterstock)
Pills are poured from a bottle in Philadelphia.
Pills are poured from a bottle in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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