Some psychiatric disorders — or the medications that treat them — impair sexual functioning.
Most research has focused on depression and antidepressants, but sexual dysfunction also affects people with anxiety disorders, bipolar and other mood disorders, and schizophrenia. Coexisting disorders, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, or cancer, may further impair sexual function. Yet antidepressants may also impair sexual function.
Fortunately, there are steps people with depression and other psychiatric disorders can take to improve sexual functioning. Although this article focuses mostly on depression, the advice may also apply to other psychiatric disorders. If the medication causing sexual side effects has just been prescribed, wait a while to see if the problems diminish. A lower dose of a psychiatric medication may reduce its sexual side effects.
However, it may be difficult to do this while still remaining in the therapeutic range necessary to avoid relapse. If a patient finds that the medication produces more pronounced side effects at particular times of the day, it may be possible to schedule sexual activity for the time when side effects are least bothersome — or to take the drug at a different time.