Scientists say antidepressants can numb pleasure as well as pain

Scientists say antidepressants can numb pleasure as well as pain by making patients feel emotionally bored

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIS) cause “double” pleasure
  • They target serotonin and take away emotional pain but also some of the pleasure
  • The ‘flare’ can affect between 40 and 60 percent of patients taking SSRIs.

Scientists said antidepressants can make patients feel emotionally drained.

One class of antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), target serotonin, a “feel-good” chemical that transmits messages between neurons in the brain.

The side effect of SSRIs is ‘faint’, with patients saying they can’t respond with the level of pleasure they normally enjoy.

Professor Barbara Sahakian, from the University of Cambridge, is a lead author on the study of side effects of SSRIs.

Antidepressants can make patients feel emotionally drained, according to scientists (file photo)

The side effect of an SSRI is 'thumping', with patients saying they can't respond with the level of pleasure they normally would (file photo)

The side effect of an SSRI is ‘thumping’, with patients saying they can’t respond with the level of pleasure they normally would (file photo)

“They take away some of the emotional pain that people with depression feel, but, unfortunately, they also seem to take away some of the pleasure,” she said.

It’s thought that between 40 and 60 percent of patients taking SSRIs experience sluggishness.

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, consisted of 66 volunteers.

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