Antidepressants May Cause ‘Chemical Castration’

From Maryanne Demasi Reports: “Antidepressants can cause serious, sometimes irreversible sexual dysfunction that persists even after treatment is stopped. Sufferers have described it as chemical castration, a type of genital mutilation caused by antidepressants, mainly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The condition is known as post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD), a largely unrecognized condition and whose true incidence is unknown.

David Healy, psychiatrist and founder of, said: «I saw my first PSSD patient in 2000, a 35-year-old woman who told me that three months after she stopped treatment, she could scrub a bristle toothbrush hard on the genitals and feel nothing.’ Josef Witt-Doerring, psychiatrist and former medical officer of the FDA said: ‘This condition is so devastating that it will cause serious changes to your life and those around you.’

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In 2020, during the lengthy Covid lockdowns in Melbourne, 23-year-old Rosie Tilli experienced a growing sense of anxiety and depression. Her psychiatrist prescribed a low dose of Lexapro (escitalopram), an SSRI to help calm down Rosie, assuring her that if she experienced any side effects, they would go away once the medication was stopped. it is a positive sign. ‘At first, I thought it was great because the drug seemed to be working. But then I couldn’t feel my emotions, I couldn’t cry, I had no sex drive and my genitals went numb.’

After four months, Rosie decided to slowly wean off the drug. Some of her symptoms improved and the fog cleared, but over the next two years her libido faded to nothing. ‘It’s been a hell of a couple years. Now, I have no sexual function. I’m numb over there. I can’t have an orgasm. It feels like my soul has just been sucked out of my body. I feel completely asexual,’ Rosie said. She sought help from various professionals, but no one believed she could be on the antidepressant because the drug had already left her system. They concluded that it was all in her mind.

Rosie went to a local youth center for help but they eventually sectioned her under the Mental Health Act with an involuntary treatment order, insisting he take antipsychotic medication. ‘I refused to take an antipsychotic because I knew I wasn’t psychotic. Instead, they forced me to take another antidepressant against my will to leave the facility,’ Rosie said. «It was the most traumatic thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I felt helpless and my parents just looked and said, ‘Trust the professionals, they know what they’re doing.’

In his clinical notes, the doctors wrote that ‘Rosie exhibits fixed beliefs of a delusional intensity about the ongoing sexual side effects from Lexapro.’ ‘A psychologist actually asked me if I’d tried seeing a male sex worker to help bring my libido back. I was shocked. They said he would reduce my anxiety and help me connect with my body,” Rosie said. ‘I’m chemically castrated and nobody believes me. In retrospect, my original anxiety wasn’t even a problem compared to this. This has absolutely ruined my quality of life. I feel trapped in my own body,” she added.

Doctors don’t understand this

«Most doctors are not familiar with the lingering side effects after antidepressants and believe that the side effects end after the drug is stopped,» Witt-Doerring said. . Healy says PSSD is often ignored because the underlying people of depression and patients are enlightened by their doctors and it leads to repeated trauma. I have known many patients who have committed suicide because of the condition. Others have asked for referrals to dignitywhich is access to assisted dying in Switzerland,’ said Healy.



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