Do Antidepressants Prevent You From Falling In Love?

Illustration for article titled Do Antidepressants Prevent You From Falling In Love?

While it's common knowledge that anti-depressants can cause sexual side effects, a new theory suggests they may also suppress feelings of love and romance.

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According to Wired, SSRI antidepressants may subtly alter the fundamental chemistry involved in romance:

"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.

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Years ago, when I was on Prozac, a friend who was also taking the drug asked me, "Can you cry? I can't cry. I think it's making it so I can't cry." She had a manic, giddy look about her. While I could, in fact, cry, I did feel that while the drug had smoothed out my rollercoaster emotions, I had become so even-keeled that while I didn't feel like shit, I wondered if it was because I couldn't feel like anything.

Wired's Brandon Keim writes:

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.

Reduced dopamine levels, however, are an inevitable effect of SSRIs. Reduce dopamine, say Fisher and Thomson, and the possibility of love itself is reduced.

While I am no longer on Prozac (it's something else now), I have absolutely fallen in love. While Fisher's theory is biologically plausible, there's no definitive evidence. And I wonder if it's just different falling in love when depressed, as opposed to when not under the thick veil of despair. Could it be that when you're depressed, every emotion is so magnified that the overwhelming cascade of feelings washing over you when falling in love seems epic? When you're more level, are you less likely to lose your head? Not to say that the spark, magic and tingle of love isn't there — but is it less likely to be all-consuming to a stable individual?

Antidepressants May Thwart Quest for True Love [Wired]

[Image via Brent Moore's Flickr]

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icecreamisawesome-old
IceCreamIsAwesome

When my bf of two years broke up with me he said that I had become emotionally unavailable, I didn't agree with that but wasn't about to waste any strength convincing him otherwise and went on my merry way. All my friends and family kept saying how good I was doing and how strong I was, blah blah. Sure I cried a few good sobs that first month I certainly didn't see the breakup coming but I never laid in bed all day and I didn't stop being social or doing the things I loved. Now that several months have passed it's become very apparent that what he thought was passion was really just me being manic. I started new meds 2 months before the break up and it worked really well, but too well for him. He's much older than me and is one of those lawyers who has trouble letting loose and when we met he felt like he was finally alive (his words) which is sweet but also pathetic b/c anybody who has to meet a manic depressive ADD film student to feel something should just join a kickball league or something, get a hobby -ya know? It always bothered me that he liked my manic phases b/c I always knew that right around the corner was a black hole waiting to swallow me up. It was exhausting and I'm so happy that I switched to a doctor who really cares about what my meds are and aren't doing for me. Anyway the ex is doing his best to crawl back but I don't feel the strong emotional connection I use to and I'm wondering if it ever was there or all that time it was just the chemical imbalance talking. It's so weird that last fall I was so sure this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and now I don't feel anything more than a friendship. If I had to choose between falling and staying in love or being mentally healthy enough to do what I love I think I'd go for the second, I'm still young so I'm not too worried about the first hopefully on down the road I can have both.