Emotional blunting from antidepressants

Common Antidepressants Can Cause Emotional Blunting (healthline.com)

Though they mitigate feeling sadness it has also been shown to numb happiness too…


" * Researchers say common antidepressants may cause a condition known as emotional blunting, which is characterized by a lack of feeling of both happiness and sadness.

  • They say the condition can also make it difficult for people to process feedback to complete tasks.
  • Experts say emotional blunting can affect a person’s daily life, including sexual activity.

Antidepressants may cause emotional blunting — a lack of feeling for both happiness and sadness — and make it less likely for people to use positive and negative feedback to complete tasks, according to a new studyTrusted Source published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge looked at how people reacted to taking escitalopram (Lexapro), a well-tolerated SSRI antidepressant. There were 66 participants – 32 took escitalopram, and 34 took a placebo for at least 21 days.

At the end of the trial, participants received a series of cognitive tests assessing different cognitive functions, such as

  • Learning
  • Inhibition
  • Executive function
  • Reinforcement behavior
  • Decision-making

Some of the findings of the study were:

  • There were no significant differences in attention or memory between participants.
  • There were no differences in emotional processes.
  • There was reduced reinforcement sensitivity on two tasks in the group that took escitalopram.

“The lack of widespread cognitive harm from SSRIs confirmed in this study generally supports the use of SSRIs in patients at risk for cognitive side effects from other older anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines and antidepressants like tricyclics,” said Dr. David Merrill, a psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Pacific Brain Health Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California.

“Such patients could include older adults or those with health-related anxiety and depression, like survivors of heart attacks or head injuries,” he told Healthline."

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