Antidepressant drugs, already known to cause sexual side effects, may also suppress the basic human emotions of love and romance. ... But a new theory suggests that SSRI antidepressants may also subtly alter the fundamental chemistry of love and romance, snuffing the first sparks between two people otherwise destined to become lovers, and preventing couples from bonding.Of course, it's also hard to fall in love if you're depressed. Some antidepressants actually raise dopamine levels; perhaps these promote romantic love?
"There's every reason to think SSRIs blunt your ability to fall and stay in love," said Helen Fisher, a Rutgers University biological anthropologist who has pioneered the modern science of love. ...
SSRI antidepressants work by boosting circulating levels of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter that also inhibits desire. The drugs also decrease dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in a wide range of cognitive and behavioral processes, among them desire and arousal. The new research suggests that dopamine may also play a part in romance. ...
According to Fisher, humans have three distinct but interconnected love-related brain systems: one for sex, another for attachment and another for romantic love. This is still hypothetical — nobody knows exactly what love does in the brain — but Fisher has been a pioneering researcher on romantic love's neurobiology, and dopamine indeed appears important.
When couples have just fallen in love, the mere sight of the other causes a jump in dopamine-related brain activity. If they manage to stay in love, with the early flush giving way to long-term affection, those brain patterns stay active.
Reduced dopamine levels, however, are an inevitable effect of SSRIs. Reduce dopamine, say Fisher and Thomson, and the possibility of love itself is reduced.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
If you're on SSRIs, you may find yourself unable to fall in love:
Posted by Amber at 5:03 PM