You’re feeling despondent, you have low self-esteem, and your body just can’t sexually engage/perform. You know in your heart that something is wrong, but every time you talk to someone they tell you “it’s all in your head”. Could it be depression? Erectile dysfunction? Maybe, like with many men, it’s both….
Depression and erectile dysfunction are distinct and multifactorial conditions. Clinical depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities, feelings of worthlessness, an inability to focus your mind, and accompanying physical symptoms. Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. These separate conditions, however, are often more closely related than a person might realize. This is not simply due to overlapping symptoms, unfair stigma, and internalized blame. Research shows that when one condition arises, often, so does the other.
One group of researchers, (Liu et al., 2018) decided to look at all of the research on erectile dysfunction and depression in order to understand how they were related. They looked at 49 studies, and pooled the data to find that men with depression have a 39% greater risk of developing ED, and that ED is 1.39 times more likely to develop in men with depression than in those without. They further found that men with ED have a 192% greater chance of developing depression, and that depression is 2.92 more likely to develop in men with ED than in those without ED. Given these results, the researchers proposed that the relationship between depression and ED is bidirectional. In other words, depression can lead to ED, and ED can lead to depression.
Additionally, a recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (Nackeeran et al., 2021), investigated the association between erectile dysfunction, clinical depression, and medical management. After analyzing data from over 16 million men, the authors found that men with ED were significantly more likely to develop clinical depression than men without ED. However, the Men who received clinical management of their ED saw a decrease in the prevalence ofi their depression. This research acted to further bolster what we’ve seen all along: that while depression and erectile dysfunction are highly correlated, clinical intervention for one condition can help with the other.
If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, depression, or both, please seek out the help of a professional. These conditions are common, related, and life-altering, but they don’t have to be permanent.
The right provider can help you understand what’s causing your issues, and can help develop a treatment plan that’s as comprehensive and multi-faceted as the symptoms you’re experiencing. At Maze, we’ve treated thousands of Men with ED. Contact us to learn more or schedule a Free Phone Consult!