(NaturalNews) Patients who regularly take serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, can lose feelings of love and attachment, according to the results of a new study.
Researchers found that men's feelings of love in particular tend to be more affected than women's when taking SSRIs, drugs which work mainly through the serotonin system. By contrast, drugs that are called tricyclic antidepressants, which have less of an effect on the serotonin system, seems to affect women's feelings of love and attachment more than men's, the scientists found.
"The good news is that there are a variety of agents for treating depression, " said study author Dr. Hagop S. Akiskal, a distinguished professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. Except that none of them are really very good, but more on that in a moment.
In the new study, researchers compared the effects of SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants on the love lives of 192 study participants who had been diagnosed with depression -- 123 women and 69 men -- with a mean age of 41. The study also included 13 people who were homosexual. All study participants told researchers that they had been in loving relationships for between seven months and 26 years.
"Indeed, our subjects were those who could be properly considered smitten by love," Akiskal told Live Science.
The results showed that SSRIs had a significant impact on the feelings of love and attachment towards the partner especially in men, while women taking TCAs complained of more sexual side effects than men. These data were supported also by the detection of a significant interaction between drug and sex on the "Love" and "Sex" domains.
The present findings, while demonstrating a dimorphic effect of antidepressants on some component of loving relationships, need to be deepened in future studies.
Study participants filled out a questionnaire that measured their feelings of love, attachment and sexual attraction to their partners for the duration of their relationship. As part of the questionnaire, participants addressed HOW their feelings had changed after they began taking antidepressants, in comparison to before they began taking them.
When researchers measured the results from all study participants, they found those taking SSRIs were more likely to say that they were less at ease with sharing the thoughts and feelings of their partners, and were less hopeful that their love for their mate would last forever, compared with those taking tricyclics.
In addition, researchers found that the men in the study who were taking SSRIs reported that they were not as likely to ask their partners for advice or help, or to take care of their partners, compared with women who had been taking SSRIs.
By contrast, women who had been taking the tricyclics reported being more likely to complain about disturbances in their sex life than men who had been taking similar medications.
The researchers said they were motivated to conduct the study after having carried out previous research with people in romantic relationships, and those who were suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder found that "serotonin function was more deviant in a state of romantic love, than in obsessive compulsive disorder," said Akiskal.
He added that it is important that patients who are suffering depression communicate very openly with care providers about how they are feeling.
"Certainly, a physician should always inquire whether there is any impairment in the love life during depressive illness, because the loss of sexual desire and sexual feelings are common manifestations of depressive illness itself," he said.
Taking any antidepressant is risky and dangerous
The study was published in the September issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders.
As for antidepressants in general, their use has increased dramatically worldwide over the past year, with many people using them just to get by in daily life, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:
Antidepressants and painkillers rank among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States today. In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics published a report that identified about 11 percent of the American public as antidepressant users, a 400 percent increase since the 1980s when previous surveys were taken.
As regular readers of Natural News know, however, there are many more inherently dangerous risks to taking antidepressants, and especially SSRIs, than any potential benefit. See our coverage here: NaturalNews.com.