Understanding Emotional Blunting from Antidepressants

Understanding Emotional Blunting from Antidepressants

Antidepressants have helped millions of people manage their depression so that they can live more fulfilling lives. When taking an antidepressant, it’s important to discuss the medication in detail with your psychiatrist or doctor. As it is with any medication, antidepressants can have side effects, including the possibility of what is termed “emotional blunting.” According to studies, nearly half of people taking antidepressants at some point experience emotional blunting from antidepressants.

What Is Emotional Blunting From Antidepressants?

On antidepressant medication, it is possible that you might experience a sense of feeling numb and less like yourself. Though the symptoms of depression have decreased, there may be a sense that other emotional responses – laughing or crying, for example – are more difficult to experience. This is termed “emotional blunting,” which is the experience of dulled emotional states caused by an antidepressant.

What Are the Symptoms of Emotional Blunting From Antidepressants?

The symptoms of emotional blunting can include the following:

  • Not experiencing the same level of enjoyment that one normally would
  • Lack of motivation or drive
  • Being less able or unable to laugh or cry in appropriate situations
  • Feeling less empathy for others

Less commonly, emotional blunting can also involve slower thinking, decreased libido, and loss of concentration.

Emotional Blunting from Antidepressants: Correlation or Causation?

Studies have shown that nearly half of people who take antidepressants experience emotional blunting. In an internet-based three-country survey offered to 66,000 individuals in the U.S., 40,000 in the U.K. and 98,000 in Canada, it was found that 46 percent of the patients who were taking an antidepressant to treat a major depressive disorder experienced dulled emotional states, or at least restrictions to their range of emotions.

The study separated the patients into two categories. The first was made up of patients with depression who were taking an antidepressant for at least two months. The second was made up of patients recovered from depression and had not taken medication for at least two months.

A significant difference was found between the groups in that the only group that experienced emotional blunting was from the first group, thereby creating an association between emotional blunting and antidepressant treatment. The study found that emotional blunting occurred more frequently in men (52 percent) than in women (44 percent). There was no statistical difference between antidepressants being taken in this group. Those not taking an antidepressant did not report an experience of emotional blunting.

It is important to note that, although the experience of emotional blunting can occur, patients who are treated successfully with an antidepressant experience less emotional pain than their depressive episodes.

What to Do About Emotional Blunting From Antidepressants

If you are experiencing emotional blunting from antidepressants to the extent that it is impinging upon the quality of your life, it is best to see your psychiatrist or doctor as soon as you can to discuss options such as:

  • Decrease the dosage of the current antidepressant
  • Switch to a different antidepressant
  • Work with a therapist to work on the psychological component of the depression by finding ways and behaviors to elevate your mood
  • Incorporate exercise (a natural way to stimulate serotonin) into your day, eat healthy, and avoid alcohol (a depressant)
  • Explore treatments options, like TMS, that do not have to involve antidepressant medications

Resolving Emotional Blunting From Antidepressants With Mid City TMS

If you’re experiencing depression and you feel the emotional blunting from antidepressants to be too bothersome, there are other options to consider. Mid City TMS provides patients with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which has been proven to be one of the most effective procedures available for the treatment of depression. TMS is safe, effective, and noninvasive and has helped patients experience:

  • An uplifted mood
  • More energy and motivation
  • Ability to more effectively concentrate
  • Better sleep patterns

If you have experienced emotional blunting from antidepressants and seek an effective treatment for depression, contact Mid City TMS today. You will work with some of the best doctors and professionals who care deeply for their patients’ ability to live the most enjoyable life that they can.

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