An Antidepressant Killed My Sex Drive, So I Switched Drugs

Louise, 44, went on an antidepressant after a serious accident turned her life upside down—and quickly switched meds when they wiped out her libido

"Ive always had a strong libido, so it was like suddenly not liking your favorite food."
In 1996 I had a severe snowboarding accident that resulted in a mild brain injury. It took me a full year to regain my brainpower and the ability to read normally or even walk without holding on to the walls for stability. It was a really scary time, but the depression didnt hit right away.

Then one day I suddenly found myself completely unable to experience joy. At first I used exercise and sex to try and fight it. I would drag myself outside for a three-mile run, hoping the endorphins would snap me out of it, and I had sex a lot. It worked a little but not enough.

The depression was way out of proportion to what was going on in my life at the time. I remember going out to dinner with my girlfriend and a few friends. In the middle of it, I felt myself tear up, and I thought, "This is absurd. I have to get help." Thats when I made the decision to go on medication. After enduring such a hard year of recovery, I didnt have the energy to try to ride this out on my own.

I went to see a psychopharmacologist for help and he put me on Paxil (paroxetine, which is a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI). Either I didnt know or didnt care about how the side effects would affect my sex drive—I just wanted a drug to pull me out of the depression. I was more worried about the risks of using a psychoactive drug after a brain injury.

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As told to: Nick Burns
Last Updated: April 22, 2008

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