Antidepressants Have Destroyed My Sexual Function and Range of Emotions

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Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published on our affiliate site, Mad in the UK.

I’m Simon, a 33-year-old male from the UK. Back in 2012 after I graduated university I had a period of low mood and anxiety. I went to my GP who within a couple of minutes prescribed me an antidepressant, citalopram (Celexa). Little did I know that this would derail my life.

Close-up of a gold padlock hanging from a man's belt

I experienced dark intrusive thoughts, numbed emotions, and numbing of my genitals over the subsequent months. I told my GP, who said that the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, the name of this class of antidepressant drugs) needed more time to ‘settle in’ and take effect. It was at this point that he upped my dose.

This made me lethargic, tired all the time and unmotivated to do my job. I figured this was my ‘underlying depression’ and not the SSRIs.

After a few more months I went back to my GP and he switched me over to sertraline (Zoloft). This made my genitals even more numb and I was unable to orgasm. I moved to Australia around this point and my mood became incredibly low, with frequent mood swings and more dark, intrusive thoughts. Again, I never made the connection to the SSRIs and thought it was my underlying depression. After all, my GP never made the connection and I was repeatedly told this was likely my depression returning.

All I did was trust the ‘experts’

In 2015 I went back to my GP and he said that as citalopram and Zoloft hadn’t worked, I should instead try the SNRI venlafaxine. This was just before I went travelling and I was only on venlafaxine for two weeks until I decided that enough was enough. The withdrawal symptoms were brutal—like someone cattle-prodded my skull (severe brain zaps). I was barely able to stand up and had severe emotional blunting.

At this point my genitals were completely numb. I went back to my GP after returning from travelling and he put me on a low dose of citalopram, which I remained on until June 2022.

Throughout SSRI use I experienced debilitating brain fog, slurred speech, OCD, and bruxism, where I would grind my teeth. All of these symptoms have stopped since stopping SSRIs, but I am left with the sexual dysfunction and emotional blunting.

Buried alive with a deep sense of grief

Since stopping antidepressants for good in June 2022 I have developed erectile dysfunction, severe emotional blunting, and more genital numbing. I feel like a prisoner inside my own body, and nobody is able or willing to help. Chemical castration is a form of torture and is banned in most countries. I feel like I’m being punished for trusting the medical profession.

It wasn’t until December 2022 that I learned about the condition called PSSD (Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction) and that there were thousands of other people just like me who had unknowingly taken SSRIs, or the similar drugs known as SNRIs, which had led to permanent sexual dysfunction. PSSD could break the strongest person.

I’m not the same person after SSRIs/SNRIs

It isn’t just the sexual dysfunction that’s the problem. SSRIs have given me severe emotional blunting (called anhedonia by doctors) and now I don’t enjoy anything. I no longer have a creative spark. I’m no longer spontaneous. I could stare at a wall all day. I don’t enjoy music anymore. I don’t enjoy driving anymore. I don’t get a runner’s high anymore. I don’t enjoy travelling anymore.

Before taking antidepressants, I would get an erection and feel turned on throughout my body if I was in the presence of an attractive girl. Now my body has no physical response.

The impact of PSSD and anhedonia

Finding out I have something that is potentially permanent has been devastating. I run my own business and have a high-pressure day job, and because of the regret about what I’ve done to myself and hopelessness about my future, each day I think of ending my life.

While lots of research is underway to identify the root cause of PSSD, I have had no help from the GP who prescribed these drugs, who simply said that my condition was rare and that I should see a psychiatrist to explore any other underlying causes. None of this helped or made me feel validated.

Having your sexual function and range of emotions stripped from you leads to a lot of grief. Every time I take a shower or go to the toilet I am reminded of my numb genitals. Going to a therapist doesn’t help because I take the damage with me. PSSD feels like pharmaceutical rape.

The prevalence of PSSD

PSSD has been reported to regulators in the US and UK since 1991, with the first studies on the condition in 2006, yet no action has been taken to remove these drugs from the market.

Data released in 2021 under the UK’s Freedom of Information Act by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency showed that in a total of 1654 cases of adverse effects from SSRIs, in 1069 cases the reaction did not continue after the drug was withdrawn, in 225 cases the reaction continued after the drug was withdrawn with the recovery time being unknown, and in 144 cases the reaction continued after the drug was withdrawn and the recovery time was known.

A retrospective review published in The Journal of Urology in 2020 stated that between 2009 and 2019, 4% of the male patients whose charts were assessed in the review (43 patients total) met the criteria for PSSD, having displayed sexual dysfunction symptoms for longer than six months after stopping an SSRI.

A 2023 study, ‘Estimating the Risk of Irreversible Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD) due to Serotonergic Antidepressants’ in the Annals of General Psychiatry, found that 1 in 216 males who have taken SSRI/SNRI medication experience sexual dysfunction long after discontinuation. There are 50 million Americans currently prescribed SSRIs/SNRIs. In the UK there are 8.3 million. When you consider how many took them in the past and have since stopped, these numbers could easily be double the amount currently taking them. For example, in my family, 3 out of 5 of us once took SSRIs, although none of us do currently. This means there could be around 460,000 US citizens and 80,000 UK citizens with permanent PSSD.

Finding a path forward

While PSSD has had a tremendous impact on me and my family, I have received no support or responses from the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), who are responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work and are acceptably safe. I thought the UK was supposed to be the ‘world’s best healthcare system’ so I have lost a lot of trust.

Many experts believe PSSD is either a localised problem, or based in the brain, or both. The genital numbness is theorised to be some form of neuropathy of the peripheral and/or small nerve fibres, but more research is desperately needed. I am currently awaiting a small fibre neuropathy biopsy which is costing me £2644, most of my life savings. The NHS kept rejecting my application to see a neurologist so I have had no choice but to explore what has happened to me privately. As for my emotional blunting, I don’t hold out much hope for a cure for that as it feels like permanent brain damage; although I am no expert, having PSSD has forced me to become one due to the complete lack of support from the medical community.

How you can help make a difference

I regularly help as a volunteer for https://www.pssdnetwork.org, which is run by a group of sufferers and their loved ones. Its mission statement is: ‘At PSSD Network we aim to raise awareness of Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction as well as accelerate research, whilst also offering patients and loved ones support when it is needed. Furthermore, we want to provide a platform where people can find information on everything there is to know about PSSD.’

Here you can find support groups, donate to ongoing research, and read content such as the stories in ‘patient spotlights’. Over at RxISK.org you can find the latest PSSD research developments. I have made new connections with these organisations and our goal is to grow @PSSDNetwork’s following so that hopefully one day, those with the power to do something to protect the world’s 100+ million SSRI and SNRI users will take action, and might even help find a cure. Please join us if you can.

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32 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for using your anger and grief to try and help others. It’s an excellent article. Unless someone’s depression is making them absolutely non-functional I don’t think antidepressants should be prescribed. They are prescribed too often and too casually.

    I never would have taken an antidepressant if a doctor had told me it could cause permanent sexual dysfunction, emotional blunting, damage to vision, high blood pressure, diabetes and protracted acute withdrawals that can disable a person for years. The dangers are just too great to prescribe for depression and anxiety that can be treated with natural remedies.

    I’ve realized that one problem with psychiatrists steering people away from drugs is that they would be advising themselves out of a job since all psychiatrists do these days is prescribe meds.
    Unfortunately that would be a drop in the bucket regarding the numbers of prescriptions written, because in the US 4 out of 5 psychiatric meds are prescribed by physicians who are not psychiatrists.

    The over prescribing of psych meds is a worldwide crisis. Antidepressants, benzodiazepines and antipsychotic drugs are “prescribed harm.”

    It is taking me 6 years to safely taper off Cymbalta 60 mgs. That’s a relatively low dose, nowadays most people are taking 120 mgs. And more people are prescribed Cymbalta for pain than depression; it is the go-to drug for fibromyalgia.
    It is taking 6 years to taper to avoid the horrific withdrawals that almost killed me. I narrowly escaped PAWS and suicide.

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  2. Dear Simon, Thank you for your bravery in sharing your story. I am deeply saddened by your story and think the medical profession and drug companies are culpable for and extremely negligent in addressing the conditions you raise. I will certainly support your work and share your article.

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    • Thank you Ann, it’s been a painful 11 years, meeting girls I thought I should fall in love with and wondering why despite liking them with my heart, there’s no physical response. I feel like a heterosexual man trapped in an asexual body. Just got to keep going and keep driving awareness so fewer people end up with PSSD, it’s a bloody nightmare.

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  3. The harm is made worse because of the context of the AIDS crisis. The side effects were seen as a benefit. When confronted with these side effects of SSRI’S the response was ‘there’s an AIDS crisis, you shouldn’t be having sex anyway.’

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    • Amen to that. (I’m a woman who got off Wellbutrin two years ago…yet the sexual dysfunction has only gotten worse, not better. Before taking Wellbutrin, I never had any form of sexual dysfunction whatsoever. Orgasms were intense, daily pleasures. Now it’s been years since I’ve had an intense orgasm. In the first two weeks after taking Wellbutrin it started…and it has only gotten worse ever since).

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  4. Hi Simon. My brother (TX, USA) is going thru the same thing. 44 yrs old and hasnt had the ability to enjoy his physical existence with his wife for almost 10 yrs. Thanks to…ssris. Ive had 2 friends, my 19 yr old nephew and my 22 yr old neice commit suicide within months of being put on these. Now, nobody in my family will touch them. I tried them briefly and, within 3 days, I was suicidal and Im not prone to any mental disorders previously. Drs prescribe these things and dont care about patients bc….the US legal system allows it. If Big Pharma can get the FDA to approve their medications, of course vetted by their own studies as the FDA rarely conducts any of their own, then they can legally prescribe with zero legal consequences to them. Instead the consequences are allocated to the pharma companies, which are funded by million dollar lawyers and ready to stop any litigation. It should be a criminal issue, but America is now corporately owned. Corporations have zero of the restrictions our government is bound to by law and Constitution. So they purchase politicans who write the laws as the lobbyists and corporations want them to. Americans no longer have the power in our country and our fatcat pharma companies are killing Americans everyday and there is nothing our corrupt government will do. Your dr has apathy bc theyre not legally liable. If they were, theyd care more to give better care. Sounds like he wasnt a very good dr anyway, just prescribing pills to you and forgetting about you the moment you left office. Im so sorry this happened to you.

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  5. Hello Simon,

    I had experienced some similar side effects after taking sertraline for two years (my sexual feelings have come back) but my blunted emotion and severe brain fog keep me working in slow motion compared to who I was before.

    I know your main focus is the side effect of sexual dysfunction but have you found out or have any resources regarding the cognitive impairments? I feel like another person since my discontinuation of sertraline.

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  6. Thank you Simon.
    I want to report my side effects as you asked. I went on RXed and listed all my many many chronic conditions (All are caused by psych meds btw.) including g sexual dysfunction.
    But even if I’d just listed one side effect, they want to know which drug caused it.
    Well that’s a little hard to answer considering I was on 6 different psych meds.
    And I’ve been on over 20 different ones for the past 40 years.
    Any suggestions on where or how I am supposed to report that?

    I probably sound angry. And that’s because I am. Very! But not at you Simon. Definitely not at you.

    How are we supposed to fight this? How can we even prove that these drugs are harmful? They don’t use science to prove these drugs are safe. But if we want to disprove that they are safe, we are asked to use science. But how can we? We don’t have the resources. They do. And even when I try to prove it, how can I when I can’t isolate which drug did what?
    Is it really as hopeless as it seems? Or am I just depressed????

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    • We shouldn’t have to prove they are dangerous. The standard is that the doctors/pharma need to prove they are safe. I think the biggest problem is we have hired a lot of foxes guarding the henhouse of drug safety. If we had a REAL set of standards with honest, non-corrupt people applying them, we’d all be a lot safer and it would be a lot easier to get complaints heard and acted upon!

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  7. Hello Simon, So troubling to read your story. Clearly the medical establishment has harmed you. I do not know if my self-help EMDR program could help you, but it focuses on discovering and expressing emotion. It might be the beginning of recovering your emotional self. If you email me at: [email protected], I will respond with a free link to download the program. You can preview it before you decide at Se-REM.com. Take care, David B., LCSW (retired trauma therapist).

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  8. Simon, this is such an important topic. Your article is being shared far and wide including internationally where words are used differently.
    I must ask, please change ‘attractive girl’ to ‘attractive woman’. I would hate for your message to be compromised by a misinterpretation of ‘girl’. It’s just too important. Thankyou.

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  9. Hi Simon, I am living out your story. Sadly, by the time I was prescribed an SSRI, the medical community was well aware of PSSD. And yet my GP said nothing about the risk when she prescribed. Informed consent be damned. I think doctors are making life changing decisions for us and without our knowledge or agreement. This must stop.

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  10. I’m in the same boat too, I’ve been like this since 2016 from only 2 weeks on Sertraline. My memory has improved over the last couple of years but the anhedonia remains and I can only have sex with viagra and experience zero pleasure. The UK was a real let down, the NHS psych docs just said I’d get better one day and that was that, they also refused to prescribe Nardil and Parnate which could help the anhedonia, they just offered me SSRIs again. I’m not sure they would help with the sexual disfunction but there are 2 drugs in development (KarXT and Xen1101) which could help the anhedonia, fingers crossed.

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  11. The work of John E. Sarno, Howard Schubiner and many others has shown that many chronic conditions can and do persist ONLY because have actually become self-perpetuating, that their very real symptoms can and do continue to manifest long after the offending insult or injury has been removed….and that understanding this can bring about heating.

    Kindest wishes, and heartfelt thanks to Simon and to MIA for yet another invaluable essay.

    Tom.

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  12. Oops, sorry: HEALING, not heating, even if both occasionally go together during “faith healing.”

    When I suggested to the (very kindly – no: TRULY) psychiatrist responsible for the drugs I was having forced upon me that one or more of them had destroyed my libido, he (kindly – truly) offered me one which could cause priapism – as an alternative.

    I kid you not.

    And this was in holy, holy, holy Ireland, where condoms were illegal, and later available on prescription, when I was growing up, insofar as I did.

    “God” rest ye merry!

    Tom.

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  13. “…..and priapism, Mr Kelly?”

    I kind of wish I could boast that it was hysterically funny at the time. It wasn’t funny at all. Not just because drugs which cause anhedonia and loss of libido aren’t funny, anyway, but because, unless you are a Zen master, which I was and am not, those same drugs can drag you down to those levels of consciousness where one forgets how anything could ever have been funny or be ever funny – like, ever.

    Also, heavily sedated or not, on top of the “antipsychotic” and “mood-stabilzer” (aka humorlytics), just being locked up indefinitely in a funny farm can seem pretty unfunny, too.

    And, besides, when you absolutely know there is no one there to share the joke with now, or possibly ever, then it’s really, really hard to find a laugh.

    But there was definitely some realization that there was something surreal about this entire conversation, and, along with that, the vaguest glimmer of a hope that, one day, there might be someone with whom to share that surreality, and maybe even the humor, if it existed, of it all, after all?

    When I’d told Dr R that I’d lost my libido, and suspected that the olanzapine might be the cause, with a very straight face, he had asked me if I’d like another antipsychotic, instead.

    Huh? I must have looked at him askance, as though he had asked me, “Have you stopped beating your wife, yet?” Or “And which kind of rope might sir prefer for his noose, please?”

    R had to know by now that I wanted no drugs, at all. He must remember, for it was only recently I had told him, “You’re titrating your drugs against my belief in God!”

    Whether he did or not, that sweet Indian consultant psychiatrist (from India, and, truly, R was a very kind and very gentle man) flanked by those two very kind Nigerian psychiatry residents (St and Su were actually both dear angels of mercy, one of either sex, also), sat there and consulted his MIMS (drugs handbook) in all seriousness, and consulted me about what he found there.

    “Ah, perhaps you might prefer, let me see….”Blah, a red tablet…side-effects: blah, blah, blah and blah?” he paused to raise his eyebrows at me. I had no words.

    “….or perhaps Blaah, a blue capsule? Let me see…yes, side-effects: blah, blah, blah?”

    I still had no words.

    R read on:

    “….ah, or Blaaaah, perhaps? A white tablet. And side-effects? ……blah, blah, blah and…priapism?”

    Vaguely flattered that R seemed to assume I knew what the word meant, and vaguely conscious that, in some universe, PERHAPS, there MIGHT be some angels laughing at this joke, some day, maybe, I could offer nothing.

    I scrutinized R’s kindly face. I could see no trace of humor or of irony. The two dear African angels remained, as ever, inscrutable also.

    Much more than just Stockholm syndrome, 14+ years on, I still thank all three for finally delivering me from my compatriot (Irish) captors, and expect to remain forever grateful to them, one and all, for successfully taking on the Irish clinical director and staff as they did

    Later, much later, I got the joke. Oh, goodness gracious me, did I get the joke, the all…or nothing, at all joke.

    And, eventually, I have to believe, absolutely everything becomes funny, for us all, however many eternities it may take.

    Oh, goodness, GRACIOUS me.

    “From New Delhi to Darjeeling
    I have done my share of healing
    And I’ve never yet been beaten or outboxed…”

    https://youtu.be/03DKl3lOY4k

    …to be continued, I hope, “God” willing…

    Tom.

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    • …continued:

      Needless to say, I was utterly unprepared for such weirdness, and yet the tragicomedy which played out a week or so before had been equally bizarre.

      My belief is that when we think we have summoned up the courage to demand the courage to find our courage and to use it, we have already been given all the grace and courage we need, and that, once we have screwed up or been graced with enough courage (and, once we have screwed up enough and so suffered enough, how can we not find our courage?) to commit to action, Ms Universe has invariably already opened wide her doors to us. Yet, somehow, each time, She contrives to astound us delightfully.

      Days before that interview with those three benign foreigners, I had approached the nurses’ station in trepidation.

      “Yes, Tom?”

      Rachel had one day not long before gone so far as to reach out and lightly touch me on the forearm. She was about the only female nurse to treat me as though – well, as I wished everyone else had treated me, and as though I did not stink if I approached them.

      “I, I have no libido.”

      “You what?”

      “I have no libido. And I think it may be because of one of the drugs.”

      “Oh. And, and, er, which one of them?”

      “I dunno. Maybe the Zyprexa [olanzapine], not the Epilim [valproate]?”

      “Tom, you know Dr R is away, don’t you?. And he won’t be back until Monday. Would you like to speak to one of the other doctors instead?”

      “Oh, yes! Yes, please! I would!”

      To my astonishment, a female doctor I had not spoken with called me into her office moments later.

      “Mr Kelly, you, er, you say – you told Rachel you have no libido, is that right?”

      “Yes.”

      “And, and, and you’re concerned…?”

      “Yes.”

      “Why?”

      “Well, because I think it may be due to one of the drugs I’m on. And, if it is, you know, well, I think we should all be told this. I mean, it’s bad enough being in here and feeling bad and, and kind of blaming yourself, you know, for everything – everything else, and thinking we are, you are, you know, without feeling that, that that is due to your, to our, to our own, you know, and blaming yourself, oneself for that, too, you know, too, if you see what I mean?”

      “Well, you see, Mr Kelly, if that is actually a side-effect in your case, as it is possible it may be, then it is a very rare one, you know. And, and you see, we, we are only obliged to tell patients about the commoner side-effects, er, the commoner possible side-effects – like the, er, the one-in-ten ones, you see, that might occur, but not about any less common, about any much less common ones, like any, say, any one-in-a-hundred ones, you see? So…”

      “Dr, I have come from Carraig Mor [forensic/high security psych ward under same management]. I spent five and a half weeks there. MNost of the time, there were about eight of us guys on the ward. All the others were younger than me. In all that time, I heard just one, one single – just one single smutty or dirty joke. That was it! And it was told by a male nurse. As far as I know, most if not all the other guys there were on Zyprexa, too. So…”

      “Very well, Mr Kelly, then if you’d like to talk to Dr R about this when he gets back, I’m sure he will be happy to discuss it with you.”

      “Thank you, Doctor. I would.”

      I returned to my four-bed room.

      Maybe just some 20-30 minutes later, A., a roommate of mine, returned. He was blubbering very loudly, uncontrollably, head down, wiping tears from his face with his cuff.

      A. was a very innocent, slightly “backward” chap, of probably about thirty. From all he’d told me, he seemed to have led a very, very sheltered life. He’d been sent to the psych ward by the nuns who had been looking after him as he had tried to dry off booze when they became concerned about how down he was.

      “What’s the matter, A?”

      “Dr, Dr, Dr C [the lady who had just interviewed me], she, she, she she told me, she just told me dat me ting might fall offa me!”

      “She what? Your what?”

      “She, she, she told me dat me ting might fall offa me! Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ, Tommy, what, what am I going to do?!”

      Later, much later, I figured that when A. had asked her what his “libido was,” the chaste Dr C may have nodded, and demurely indicated below his waistline.

      “Oh, A, A, A, please, please, PLEASE don’t worry about that, at all! She just meant that your libido – you know, your sex drive – that it might fall off a bit, for a while, you know! But that’s only while you’re on these drugs, you see! There’ll be no problem, at all, later on, I’m sure – when you’ve come off all of them again!”

      A. settled down. Sadly, I was too self-absorbed and too out-of-it to think to have offered him further comfort.

      To be continued, I hope – this mad tale, I mean, and not mad drugging.

      With sincere and undying thanks to MIA,

      Tom.

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  14. Hello Simon,
    based on my own history, I would like to add a little bit, already wrote in an pother way by Tom Kelly, and to share this with you.

    I have been dealing with trauma and the processes in the nervous system, especially the autonomic system. The famous trauma researcher Robert Scaer describes the physical symptoms after trauma and how they arise in the nervous system and affect the body.
    In one chapter of his book he writes about the old neurologists of the 19th century – Charcot, Janet, Freud, Breuer. I think we can learn a lot from them and their observations.
    The Salpêtrière was the first “insane asylum” in Europe in Paris, where mainly women were treated. It was there that the concept of “hysteria” was born at that time. For the doctors at that time Hysteria was a certain physical condition in which the women remained. Janet also clearly associated this condition with the state of dissociation. This term is still used today. The symptoms of dissociation Janet recorded: loss of sensation, blindness, deafness, silencing, and daze, associated with sensory and perceptual dissociations of certain parts of the body. Disturbances of the ability to feel are called “anesthesias” and can include the above symptoms, but also the complete loss of any ability to feel in any part of the body, or even cause paralysis.

    Robert Scaer has dealt with patients who developed paralysis in other parts of the body after a whiplash injury, without a specific physical cause in that part of the body.

    Janet has intensively researched the life stories of the women in the Salpêtrière. He attributed the strong dissociations to sexual abuse. His famous colleagues later distanced themselves from this and called it the “idea” of the women.

    Now the jump to PSSD. First of all I would like to say that dissociation is a massively altered state of consciousness, which can result in the above mentioned physical symptoms.
    Meanwhile the three states of the autonomic nervous system under threat – fight or flight, freeze – are well known. In case of a threat, a person has two options – fight or flight. If both are not possible, the nervous system goes into the freeze state. If this happens again and again, dissociations develop. This is of course a short version of what happens.

    It is my opinion that psychochemicals shoot the brain into a highly dissociative state, even within a very short time. They produce not only mental and emotional negative symptoms, but also directly affect the body with “anesthesias” and loss of sensation. For me, they should be taken off the market immediately.

    The women in the Salpêtrière were almost sexually abused and developed the strong dissociations because of this trauma. For me psychochemicals are the other way into trauma. A pill chemically induces the dissociation in the brain which then manifests physically the trauma. One time it is a traumatic event that is followed by dissociation, the other time it is an induced dissociation that is followed by the trauma. The vicious thing of these pills is that the trauma they trigger has nothing to do with a specific event but a permanent re-experiencing of trauma, day after day.

    I am further convinced that our sexuality is the most sensitive part of our life and does not only consist of hormonally controlled sexuality. The Yoga of the East talks about a sexual energy that includes the entire spectrum of our being – creativity, love of life, will to live, a.s.o. and ALSO sexuality. When this complex balance is disturbed, whether by trauma or by psychochemicals, the result is the same.

    Finally I would like to say, a dissociating brain needs a counter pole by the body. What I mean, if therapy, then body psychotherapy, a lot of grounding (forest, swimming, being with animals, only sports that are good for you, eating regularly); everything that establishes feeling your body and brings you to earth; little PC and smartphone, I know, it is not easy. Maybe a breathing therapy to bring the three diaphragms into balance. Conscious breathing also calms the upset thoughts.

    If you are interested in the book:
    Robert Scaer, “The Trauma Spectrum, Hidden Wounds and Human reseliency.

    I wish you all the best and stay strong.

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  15. Hi, liberationfromdrugs.

    That’s a pretty good mind-blowing essay you wrote, thank you.

    And you have helped further convince me that there is nothing of any significance that loving compassion cannot heal, for which I feel exceedingly grateful to you.

    Do you ever wonder if at least certain dissociative states, at least, may be a necessary step on one’s way to transcending ego, to enlightenment, to what Jung called “consciousness,” and to what Cohen called Democracy – at least in this song, please?

    https://youtu.be/DU-RuR-qO4Y

    And do you believe it IS coming, and rapidly now, please?

    Warmest wishes, and thanks for a magnificent piece of writing, and for all the living and work and inspiration it took to create it.

    Tom.

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    • Hello Tom,

      first of all, thank you very much for your kind reply. I am happy when people are touched by what I have to say and when it helps them to better understand themselves and the complicated structures in our bodies, our feelings and our mind. This does not solve the problems – unfortunately – but I think we can look at them with different eyes, with a clearer mind, not overwhelmed by our feelings.

      Yes, I believe that dissociations can lead to enlightenment, but only in the upper fields in the body, in the mental field.

      I distinguish the type of awakening. I distinguish an awakening by meditation, spiritual practices or just suddenly, and “trauma-based awakening”. I believe they are two sides of the same coin. Both awakenings are exhausting because the nervous system is transformed and altered states of consciousness arise. So the “trauma-based awakening” has another quality, because especially at the beginning, the negative symptoms predominate, and the so-called “psychosis” must be overcome.

      Some years ago MIA posted the report of Sinead Gallagher, an “enlightening” report what psychosis really is/can be. If you read the link, please read the comments. Pkolpin writes on the 10. July 2020 in one comment a quote from Joseph Campbell (The Hero With the Thousand Faces): „The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight“ I pinned this comment on my refrigerator. I’d say, that’s it.
      Sinead has found Sean Blackwell working with people with “trauma based awakening”.
      So I don’t think “trauma based awakening” leads to enlightenment, but I do think you can work on navigating it and changing it. However it can’t be mastered with our current psychiatry and its drugs. It requires people who are spiritual, who are familiar with the “other world”, who are well grounded and who may have a Kundalini raising, which means they also have energetic experiences.

      https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/07/child-abuse-psychosis-healing-journey/

      Sinead’s trauma primarily affects the mental and emotional world. Now the question arises, what about the trauma that triggers sexual dysfunction and causes numbness and too little or loss of feelings; those traumata where dissociation manifests more in the physical than in the mental field?
      Unfortunately I have to say, I have no answer. In my opinion, it is physical dissociations and not tissue damage. In my opinion, it is an energetic problem. In my opinion, we are more than our body, as the “psychotic” people show us….. and the spiritual people too. So also our body can show symptoms that medicine cannot explain, because they are not directly in the body.
      I tend to think that physical dissociations, especially related to sexuality, do not lead to enlightenment.
      Nevertheless, a spiritual life is always good because it helps to fill up a little of the missing life energy, because that is what happens in sexual dysfunction.

      Best wishes and stay as calm in your heart as possible.

      Marlis

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  16. Dear Marlis,

    Thank you once more – from the bottom of my heart and deeper.

    Gorgeously put, again.

    If anything since the last big bang and maybe that hugest pollution event in human history – when this planet’s surface was flooded with oxygen – has been about spiritual awakening, do you agree that everything must have been?

    And that this must equally apply of course not just to our species, but to the cosmos/es, at least?

    “Groaning under this age’s yoke” – Shakespeare’s Cassius to his Brutus.

    “All Creation groans,” according to Saul/Paul, I think.

    But we need not groan, need we, if we see that the tide is always right?

    And then that all the rest must be merest details, each essential in any one universe, of course, but never to fret over any more once we have, you know…?

    You didn’t get the whether or not you detected signs of our collective enlightenment emerging all over the place these days, not least here, thanks to MIA, did you?

    Do you, please?

    With undying gratitude to you, to all at MIA, to our species and to all the other ones,

    Tom.

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  17. Dear Simon,

    Thank you for your article. I’m deeply sorry for what you’re going through. Reading the article was like seeing myself. I go through the exact same things that you describe. I’ve tried to get off the meds but the withdrawal symptoms were unbearable.

    I lament my situation every single day and I also often think of taking my own life. It’s like being buried alive living this way.

    I wish all the best to you.

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  18. Dear Leonidas,

    I have just read your heartrending comments.

    I beg you not to despair.

    I am convinced that we human beings are all equal.

    If we are, then I presume we must each suffer/sacrifice equally, if not in any one, single lifetime, then over multiple ones.

    In order to suffer as a human being, we need to be so overwhelmed by fear that we lose hope, be in for a moment or for decades.

    I believe I have suffered greatly in this lifetime of mine, but far less than countless others appear to have in a single lifetime. If a great deal more suffering does not still lie ahead of me, therefore, I believe it must have been dealt with in one or more previous lifetimes. I hope so.

    “If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as a human being, no humility, no compassion. You would not be reading this now. Suffering cracks open the shell of ego, and then comes a point when it has served its purpose. Suffering is necessary until you realize it is unnecessary.” ― Eckhart Tolle.

    My belief that we all ultimately suffer equally until we suffer no more helps me to realize that there is nothing I need try to forgive those who have tormented me, for they, like me, were simply acting out of whatever levels of consciousness, awareness, enlightenment or love at which they found themselves AT THE TIME: I cannot fully accept, acknowledge, appreciate and “forgive” my own past ignorance and stupidity unless I ditto that of others.

    In mid-May, 2008, having lost almost all that was dear to me, I had three brief experiences of what might be called indescribable bliss. They occurred over two days, and each lasted perhaps no more than 30-90 seconds.

    During each, among other things, it was as though I experienced the entirety of the last big bang as a background, while in the foreground I savored to the full, but compressed into brief moments, every moment relief and joy and triumph and glory and ecstasy and euphoria that any human being has ever experienced or ever will or could experience (aka “the peace that passes all understanding”), to the power of, of, of anything you could imagine or utter. But, after that thing very rapidly got immeasurably better, faster.

    Funnily enough, even though on each occasion (there were two episodes on the evening of May 16 and one the following morning) it was as though I was asked whether I wished to remain “there” – in that more than exponentially infinitely deepening and intensifying bliss (or Bliss?) – or to “return,” I not only unhesitatingly chose to “return,” but it did not occur to me until 19 months later (on reading a colleague’s account of what he called an NDE) that what I had experienced might be called a “near-death experience” (or three) by some. Later, I decided it more likely that what I experienced was death (three times, at least) and that this, therefore, is my “after-life.”

    Worried by the fact that nothing seemed to worry me any longer, my family had three doctors examine (or “examine”) me, before finally managing to coerce a fourth to move to have me involuntarily committed….and deeply drugged indefinitely – or for 82 days, as it turned out.

    On my release, I immediately proceeded to come off the gram or so of valproate and of quetiapine prescribed me.

    My libido fully returned very quickly, although I have endured much angst in the 14 years since.

    I believe our greatest trials all turn to glory and that, looking back, eventually, we none of us would have had things any other way that how they went – as though we each pre-agreed to get lost in each incarnation (or “intarnation” as one “NDEr” has dubbed them) in advance, to play out our every Sisyphean roles “here,” all but convinced that despair is the only rational response to the intolerable circumstances in which we repeatedly find ourselves.

    If, having fully recovered your libido, as I hope and pray you very soon may do, you were to one day find immense joy in helping and encouraging even one other fellow-sufferer back to full health, you might count yourself richly rewarded, and even to have broken even again. After that, each win would be pure profit.

    I sincerely wish you what you have so sincerely wished Simon, and fast.

    And THANK YOU for all your own tremendous sacrifices.

    Tom.

    “I know exactly where I am: I was lost here before. And, since I gave up hope, I feel A LOT better.”

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  19. OK…….. during the last few days I have read Simon`s links, thought a lot, read again books I have already read, reconsidered my own experiences and have now decided to write something that may seem very unusual to many people, perhaps even called esoteric nonsense. Nevertheless I will start an attempt.

    I have already written to universities some years ago and with a lot of work I presented my point of view. The answer was friendly and one sentence short, otherwise there was no response. The thinking of medicine beyond the body into an energetic field is not possible, and that of psychology beyond the “psyche”, or what it defines as””psyche”, is not possible too. In addition, patients/clients are not seen as “professionals of their own”, but both disciplines claim for themselves the interpretative sovereignty over a syndrome of which they don’t know anything and which they face with an overwhelming helplessness. That is why psychiatrists in particular also try to shift all the blame for the human catastrophe they have caused with their pills to the patient and his “psyche”.
    I repeat here again, as in my comment before, these pills have to be taken off the market immediately.

    So here again is my attempt to take a different look at the problem of sexual dysfunction of any kind

    I will use terms from the field of Indian Yoga and explain them. I am not a follower of this system, but I think it is a very good system of explanation and reading. The time is ripe for science of the West to deal with this system and integrate it into medicine, just as acupuncture has also been integrated……after many, many years.

    I will tell something about the Kundalini Energy, which is well known in the spiritual field. By the way, it is called this way in all spiritual systems, also in the West. Only in ancient Egypt there is another term, but it is not in common use.

    The hard facts of a spiritual path are to establish altered states of consciousness, to let them become finer and finer in their frequency, until finally the realization arises that everything is light and we are one with the universe, without polarization in the matter. The person then becomes pure energy. S/he realizes that s/he and the universe are light and that s/he is one with it, without any separation. This is where the term enlightenment comes from. It is the old alchemical “solve et coagula”, solve and connect ( in a new way ), or in more modern terms, work on old traumas, experiences, wounds, etc., dissolve them and build your emotions and thoughts in a new way of yourself and realize who you really are.
    This path normally is exhausting and tedious and requires a lot of practice in meditation and silence.

    Then there is a second way into these experiences and that is the rising of Kundalini Energy. Those who meditate also want this energy to become active at some point. So Kundalini Yoga is also becoming more and more popular in the West.

    Mysticism says that Kundalini Energy rests in the 1st Chakra, an energetic center below the coccyx. It is in this Chakra where we are procreated and born. It is the Root Chakra that grounds us, where we stand with both feet firmly on this earth and create life. It is a material Chakra and has its counterpart in the 7th Chakra, the Crown Chakra, which is a mental Chakra and where we enter the spiritual world, the cosmos, after we have purified all other Chakras piece by piece.

    Especially for people in the West, Kundalini Energy often activates very suddenly and people are overwhelmed by what is happening. The transformation of the nervous system, which is necessary to be able to hold highly altered states of consciousness and which is usually practiced in years of meditation, breaks over the person like a giant wave. A sudden Kundalini rising, in opposit to meditation, is the highway to enlightenment. Kundalini is completely autonomous in its activities and cannot be controlled by our will (Thy will be done).
    Now there are many reports about these sudden Kundalini risings. The most famous of modern times is probably the first book on the western market about a Kundalini rising by Gopi Krishna.
    But……all these risings take quite a good or easier course even after the most difficult times.
    By the way, what I also experienced is the fact that many people with Kundalini risings stay away from psychiatry.

    It took me years to understand that all these Kundalini risings with “happy endings” also have a twin, namely the risings by trauma or psychotropic drugs. These ones caused by trauma are probably as old as mankind, these ones caused by psychotropic drugs, on the other hand, belong to modern times and are the result of people trying to intervene in the complicated mind-body or better energy-body process, which is not known to science at all.

    A large part of Kundalini Energy is sexual energy. This does not mean sexuality alone in the sense we know, but an all-encompassing creative aspect, our creative self, to which sexuality also belongs, and what is activated by this energy in high potency.
    Reportedly, some people have an increased sexual drive during a Kundalini rising, others do not have the slightest sexual drive, for others nothing happens in sexuality.

    I now provide the hypothesis, or rather I am convinced, that Kundalini rising occur as a result of trauma and psychotropic drugs too. If this Kundalini rising expresses itself predominantly in the first Chakra, sexual dysfunctions can occur. The same thing happens in a”positive” rising, where the sex drive, in whatever direction, can change. But that happens in a bad way.

    The first Chakra is a material Chakra. People who have a “trauma based awakening” (Kundalini rising) in this Chakra, have more physical symptoms that are highly sexual or asexual, to the point of numbness. Just like a “positive” rising, sexuality is completely exaggeratedly enhanced or “turned off”. The state then occuring, often very suddenly, is difficult to bear for a person and can certainly be compared to the state of torture.With a „positive“ rising, however, these various sexual drives are followed at any time by a sexuality adapted to the inner state of the individual, or it is already transformed into states of intense love.
    By the way, in contrast to this bodily rising the “awakening” of Sinead happens, which I linked in my comment above. In her case Kundalini evokes symptoms in the 6th and 7th Chakras, the mental Chakras. Accordingly, she has less physical than mental problems.

    The other US trauma researcher in addition to Robert Scaer, is Peter Levine. He wrote a chapter on “Trauma and Spirituality” at the end of one of his books (“In an Unspoken Voice. How the Body Realeses Trauma and Restores Goodness”).
    He writes that both Buddhist and Taoist traditions say that four paths lead to a spiritual awakening. The first gate is death, the second gate is serious practice of meditation, the third gate is forms of (tantric) sexual ecstasy, and the fourth gate is TRAUMA.
    Gate 1, many people who have had near-death experiences report this feeling of oneness and the profound life change that follows.
    Gate 2, meditation as a steady path I had already mentioned above.
    Gate 3, tantric means esoteric and is always related to the Kundalini Energy. The sexual path is only a partial path to enlightenment and is, as also often read, not without danger.
    Gate 4, the trauma many people have to cope with and is not considered with this special spirtual side at all by the overrated science.

    Enlightenment by trauma is as old as the ancient wisdoms too. For a long time, trauma was considered to be “grinding away the ego.” That is, why for example, the monks in the Middle Ages hurted themselves as Christus has been hurted in order to finally come to the experience of God, which they could not achieve by praying and piety alone.

    Peter Levine “dares” as a scientist to write the term Kundalini and reports the same symptoms in his patients that people with “positive” Kundalini risings have.
    I take the liberty of adopting Peter Levine’s list of symptoms commonly described during a Kundalini awakening, so I don’t have to compile them all by myself:
    Involuntary and spasmodic body movements, pain, tingling, itching, vibrations, trembling, alternation between hot and cold, changes in breathing rhythm, temporary paralysis!!!! Strong pressure, hypersensitivity to light and sound, synesthesia (coupling of two separate areas of perception, e.g. music and colors), increased sexual drive, feelings of physical expansion, dissociation and out-of-body experiences, and perception of “internal sounds” such as roaring, whistling and chirping.

    I would add: Insomnia, sleep paralysis, trance occurrences, often described as brain fog, frequent yawning, which is related to the permanently altered state of consciousness, inner humming, buzzing or thundering, buzzing in one ear, which is often misinterpreted as tinnitus.

    Peter Levine also writes that his clients have not experienced these symptoms so explosively, but more subtle inner changes in general.

    In conclusion, I am quiet sure that medicine will not find a way out of the dilemma so quickly, as long as it continues to try to search in the body and possibly steer the neurotransmitters back on the right track. Energies cannot be influenced in this way and certainly not Kundalini Energy. The way always goes from the energy into the matter and not vice versa, always from the higher frequency into the lower.

    Sexual dysfunctions are increasing due to the use of psychotropic drugs. They were there before and were always, until today, ignored and stigmatized by medicine as personal inadequacy. Often, however, problems already existed before in the emotional field. Anxity is a very bad companion and it is the opposite of love. At some point I have learned that anxity only arises in the imagination, in the opposite of real threats, such as accidents, natural disasters, diseases etc.. But we have to learn that imagination is the same thing for our nervous system as an actual threat outside.

    I myself had a “depressive episode with panic disorder” 17 years ago. When this period began, I often woke up at night feeling an electrical buzzing in my spine at the level of my heart. This lasted about an hour, then it stopped and I went back to sleep. In addition, incredible energetic shivers kept running down my head and back in my apartment. At that time I knew nothing about Kundalini. These were the first signs of a “trauma-based” Kundalini rising, as I learned years later.

    I would like to tell, please pay close attention to your inner self. Sometimes there are only very slight vibrations at the coccyx, hardly noticeable, at the sacrum or elsewhere in the body. Stinging in the toes or anywhere in the body. Itching, pain that comes suddenly and goes suddenly. Sometimes waves running through your body. There are many symptoms that cannot be explained immediately and can be disturbing, but are not dangerous.

    Kundalini has many faces. So we have to develop therapies that can accompany people continuously and train these body perceptions with people and, as Peter Levine also does, energetically release the “slags” of mental and emotional wounds.
    Therefore, I repeat again Josepf Campbell’s statement from my comment above. “The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with joy”. The life jackets that one commentator asked for are our traumas that need to be brought to a conclusion. However, this applies not only to mental Chakras 6 and 7 (“psychosis”), as Sinead explained, but also to material Chakras 1 to 3, where the symptoms manifest more physically.

    I would also like to see a solution by medicine, But first of all, medicine has to understand that people with PSSD are no longer complete, They still have a body, but the other half of their being has been taken away, namely their creative aspect, which is always connected with feelings, thoughts and love of life. When we activate this, the body follows and goes into action. This process has been taken away by trauma and drugs. It is not just about sexuality, it is about the whole energetic base of our life.

    Marlis

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  20. Dear Tom,

    first of all I beg your pardon for my late answer, but the last days were a lot of work and “the most precise translator in the world” unfortunately is not so precise :-), and I have to correct a lot. Further I do not sit over hours at the PC.

    Unfortunately I can’t say anything about Brutus and Cassius. Of course I know that Brutus murdered Caesar. As a young girl of 14 I went with Caesar from one battle to the next in “Gallia” – very pleasurable for a young, female teenager – but I forgave my parents, teachers and Caesar :-).
    I didn’t read Shakespeare, but I think I should, because he is crossing my way more and more, and I know he knew “more”, just like Goethe, Mozart, and I think many European composers who describe transformative processes.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your description of your “journey” to “oneness”. Even these brief insights have changed your life, as more and more people are reporting. I am very happy for you. At the same time, it could also be a comfort for many people that nothing is permanent, and with a healing of the traumas, the sexual energy can also return to normal.

    Yes, what you experienced are Kundalini episodes that come suddenly and overwhelm the person. Then this releases from matter and the person is becoming one with the universe. When we decide to come back, everything is different because we no longer polarize and every “why” becomes needless.

    Maybe you will allow me to say that the big problem of forgiveness is probably very difficult without your experience, but…. I agree with you, quite necessary. The EGO is the most powerful thing we have, and it wants to fight and it hangs on us like a limpet.

    I’ve read that many people with PSSD are very young. I was shocked to read when they start taking these drugs. It is like a delusion, a cult that teaches them pills can change their emotions and take away their fears, instead of telling them how to direct emotions and thoughts.

    A person I respect very much once told me, “With Kundalini it could be that thoughts and feelings have to be created quite actively. This we are not used to from our previous life. Before, you followed your thoughts and feelings, let yourself be carried away by them. Now you have to look at them with distance, then determine and choose them”.
    This is also taught by every serious spiritual tradition.

    Yes people are abel to form emotions consciously. In the USA there is the “Heart Math Institut” explaining it…….perhaps not all but it is a beginning.

    However, all needs to be practiced, like everything else in life, unless we are blessed with a unity experience like you have had. So I would like to add that it is a process that people should begin to forgive themselves and others. The need certainly is not so easy to understand when one has been hurt in such a way.

    Thank you for your „enlightened“ comments and especially for MIA giving the opportunity to look at these difficult human situations from another perspective, which hopefully will become formative for the future.

    Warm greetings
    Marlis

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  21. Hello Simon and others,
    My name is rob, and I’m a 30 year old male from the US.
    Note that I rote up a more detailed comment detailing my experiences, if I’m allowed to I’d like to post it here. However, until I get the green light, I’ll post this shorter one instead.
    All it took was 10 days of Zoloft and now tuns of regrette for me. 6 at 50MG, 4 at 25MG.
    My life feels as if it’s forever changed. I went from creative, happy go lucky and emotional with labito, to now both physicly and mentaly numb as if life is forever a blank slate, inabillity to love things, people and animals like I use to, uninterested in anything that I was interested in, with no labito. And much like most if not all of everyone here, I found out about PSSD after taking a pretty good amount of this med, and after my simptoms have set in. Now I will say that I wasn’t on it for years or months like so many others have been, but the boddy is unpredictable and their are cases of people who have only taken 1 pill who are now fully effected by this condition, and have not yet had, or found a solution.
    I’m also not sure how big or small this possabillity is of my labito and emotions coming back as I’ve only been off of the med for 2 and a half days, however I’m not holding my breath that my life will return to normal for me.
    But weather the effects of the med resolve or not, I just wished to share my ccurrent experience and say that, I want to assist you along with the PSSD comunity any way that I can. I just need some guidance on where to begin. And I also need guidance on how to begin coping if things don’t resolve. How can I live with this, what are some good starting points/tips.
    Thank you for reading.

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