Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection firm necessary for sexual function. It is a common sexual problem in the United States, affecting as many as 30 million people. Most ED cases have a physical cause including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol can also lead to ED. But for some people, the root of the problem is psychological issues.
Psychological causes of ED
Psychological problems that lead to ED aren’t as easy to identify, diagnose, and treat. The psychological factors most common to ED include the following:
Psychological problems have true, physical consequences. For example, anxiety is something that many people assume is present in your brain. Yet anxiety can cause increased heart rate, problems with blood pressure and tiredness. This may, in effect, affect your performance on sex. Anxiety is probably one of the most prominent psychiatric causes of ED.
Depression is often the result of a chemical imbalance within the brain. It can affect sexual desire, as well as sexual function. Depression is not always an easy treatment for men, however. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, many people do not know the symptoms of depression and some are unwilling to seek aid.
The good news is that most people get back to feeling normal, regaining healthy sexual desire, and overcoming their ED issue with proper depression treatment.
At some point in their lives, everyone feels tension. Stress can sometimes act as a potent motivator. But even basic stress— for example, a presentation at work tomorrow— can affect your ability to maintain sexual performance and keep it there. To affect your sexual health, you don’t have to carry a large amount of tension.
The silent treatment isn’t the only thing you’ll feel when you’ve been fighting with your mate. Emotional relationship disorders can affect your sexual relationship.
Poor communication, arguments, and frustration will affect your sexual desire and sexual function. Talking with your partner through these issues will help ease the ED symptoms.
If you have trouble resolving relationship issues on your own, seek out a counselor or therapist who can help.
Fear of sexual dysfunction
You may become worried the first time you encounter ED that you will never recover normal sexual function again. That may lead to anxiety or low self-esteem. These feelings can affect your ability to maintain an erection in your next sexual encounter or hold it.
You will continue this process until you see a doctor seeking a diagnosis. Once you have found the right treatment, the fear of having sexual dysfunction will subside.
Treatments for psychological causes of ED
Usually, the psychological triggers of ED are not treated with medication. However, in cases where a chemical imbalance causes a problem, medicines may help. For example, men with depression may find relief for their symptoms, as well as ED, when they begin treatment with antidepressants.
Many of the above psychological problems warrant counseling, persistence and time. Your physician can work with you to find the best treatment plan.
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Make mental health a priority
Psychological issues can affect your mental health more than just your own. Depression, anxiety, tension and relationship issues can have a huge impact on your sexual function. If you are getting ED along with psychological problems, talk to your doctor. You and your doctor will find a cause and a cure together to bring back your sexual health to normal.