An impaired sex drive has long been recognized as an occasional side effect of some antidepressants, but recent research suggests the drugs' libido-stifling powers might be far more widespread than doctors and patients thought. The prevalence of users experiencing numbness or fleeting arousal may be as high as 50%, and the side effects can linger even after the person stops taking the drug, reports the Boston Globe.
The numbers are disconcerting, considering that one in eight Americans has tried antidepressants in the past decade. Still more worrying to some is the fact that more adolescents are being prescribed the drugs, potentially setting them up for a lifetime of sexual dysfunction. "This is such an upsetting issue," says a therapist. "There are people for whom SSRIs are really life-saving."