Srinagar: A new study conducted by the Postgraduate Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College Srinagar has revealed that 61 per cent of women receiving treatment for depression suffer from sexual malfunction, in the valley.
Titled `Sexual Dysfunction in married Female patients on Antidepressants in Kashmir Valley’, the 2018 research paper has been authored by Dr Rehana Amin along with Zaid Ahmad Wani, Muhammad Maqbool Dar, Mohommad Altaf Paul, Waris Zargar and Seema Batool.

Around 100 married females were interviewed by the doctors for the research. Of whom sixty-five per cent were sexually active, and 35 per cent were inactive. The majority (69%) of patients were in the reproductive age group of 25-45 years with a mean age of 37.85. All the patients were married, mostly unemployed (84%), illiterates (71%), belonging to the nuclear family (82%), from class IV socioeconomic status (57%) and differences were statistically significant.

61% of women suffer from Sexual malfunction

“Around 61% of those interviewed felt a change in sexual activity after taking antidepressants. Just 12 per cent reported their problem spontaneously. Sixty-two per cent of women reported decreased sexual desire, 34 per cent reported orgasmic delay and 20 per cent reported difficult vaginal lubrication (20%),” the study revealed.
According to the study, 75% of 20 patients, who were on TCA’s (Tri-cyclic Antidepressants), reported a decrease in sexual desire. Similarly, 80.30% of 66 patients, who were on SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors), reported the orgasmic delay.

“Due to the increasing occurrence of psychiatric disorders like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, somatoform disorder, anxiety disorders, etc., clinicians prescribe a diverse number of antidepressants for the treatment. But the regular use of antidepressants is restricted by their side effects, one of which is sexual dysfunction. This problem affects the patient’s quality of life and can lead to therapeutic noncompliance in long-term treatment,” the study said.

Multiple factors impact sexual dysfunction

Sexual dysfunctions, according to study, are multi-factorial, which includes biological, psychological, physical, socio-cultural and emotional. The emotional causes, the study said, include interpersonal problems or psychiatric problems like depression, anxiety disorders, panic disorders, etc. and physical factors that can lead to sexual dysfunctions include the use of drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine, narcotics, stimulants, anti-hypertensives
“Female sexual dysfunction is experienced as a difficulty by an individual or a couple during any stage of a normal sexual activity, including physical pleasure, desire, preference, arousal or orgasm, causing various distressing sexual health problems like female sexual interest or arousal disorder, female orgasmic disorder, and genito-pelvic pain or penetration disorder. Sexual dysfunction is common in women and can have a profound impact on an individual’s perceived quality of sexual life and medication adherence”, the study said
The research suggested that several factors influence woman’s perception of sexual life, including race, gender, ethnicity, educational background, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation.
“Majority of people don’t report it because of cultural factors. Therefore, there is a need for asking about the sexual clinical history before and after antidepressants are given so that treatment can be initiated for a better quality of life,” the study said.

The study stressed that antidepressants need not be continued for a pretty long time. “It is better to use drugs with less severe side effects to improve patients’ sexual life,” the study said.

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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