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by Dr Ursula
Last reviewed: January 2017
Sexual dysfunction is frequently experienced during a
depressive illness and may be associated with three precipitating
or maintaining factors:
All three factors can influence each other so that it may often
be impossible to work out the contribution of each
component, thus it is difficult to identify and quantify the
adverse effects of antidepressants alone. Notwithstanding,
antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction remains an important
issue in the clinical management of depression.
In routine practice, clinicians may find it
difficult to ask patients about sexual function. This may be due to
time constraints, a certain uneasiness in approaching the
topic or lack of training in this area. Conversely, patients may
not volunteer to talk about such problems even if they are
significantly affected. Many patients do not realise that such
problems may not just be a result of the illness but can also
The aim of this module is to familiarise
clinicians with a systematic approach to the diagnosis of sexual
dysfunction associated with antidepressant treatment.
If you like this module, you may also be
Antidepressants and psychosexual dysfunction:
Part 2 – treatment by Dr Ursula Werneke
alternative medicine in psychiatry by Ursula Werneke
adverse effects of clozapine by Dr James MacCabe and Dr
The pharmacological treatment of resistant
depression – an overview by Professor Philip J. Cowen
Essentials of Physical Health in Psychiatry (book from RCPsych