What are the effects of PTSD on sex?

Among the effects of PTSD on sex are a decreased libido and, for some patients, a deliberate abstention from intimacy. While PTSD can prohibit some from having a healthy sexual relationship, treatment often helps. However, for some people, commonly prescribed anxiety medications, including those prescribed for post-traumatic stress disorder, sometimes have a diminishing effect on a person's sexual desire. Although this is a chemically induced drive reduction, this is still considered by many to be an effect of PTSD on sex.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, often called PTSD, is an emotional and psychological response to a sudden but extremely stressful event. In some cases, the reaction to such an event can also provoke a physical response as found in studies of the effects of PTSD on sex. Some people with this condition share that it is easier to experience sexual intimacy with a stranger than with a partner. Many report, however, that a complete decrease in libido occurs as a result of PTSD. Psychologists and other researchers who closely study the lives of people who suffer from PTSD also report that this is sometimes the case.

One of the many different causes of PTSD is sexual trauma. In girls and women with PTSD, it is often found that there is a complete and ongoing lack of interest in sex or even extreme anxiety about sexual intimacy, particularly if the disorder was caused by incest or rape. The effects of PTSD on a relationship may even require that a woman and her partner engage in counseling in an effort to understand and overcome PTSD.

While many psychologists prescribe anti-anxiety medications for people with this condition, some medications are known to cause a decrease in sexual arousal. In some men with PTSD, medications have made them impotent. Although this is a common side effect of certain anti-anxiety medications, it is also considered by many to be related to the effect of PTSD on sex.

Treating PTSD can sometimes be difficult, especially in people who don't respond well to medication. Other methods include psychotherapy and can be effective. Over time, many people can and do recover from PTSD, and as they do, the effect of PTSD on sex diminishes as well. Natural treatments, such as meditation and hypnosis, are also sometimes recommended.

In addition to PTSD's effect on sex, other signs of PTSD include insomnia, social withdrawal, and repeated flashbacks of the traumatic event. Physical symptoms include chest pains, profuse sweating, and muscle spasms. Among the most severe cases, people with PTSD may experience suicidal thoughts or may act aggressively toward others.

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