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Understanding How Psychological Factors Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction

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Understanding How Psychological Factors Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction

A majority of men will have experienced some degree of sexual erectile dysfunction because of not being in the right conducive mindset. The potential thoughts and thinking that could cause that are issues with work or relationships as well as stress and depression that could have a negative effect on the arousal levels.

Therefore, if erectile dysfunction (or ED) occurs on constant occasions, it could be beneficial for you to potentially explore the psychological factors that might cause ED to occur more than usual. Even though psychological factors only make up about 10% of all ED causes, they are likely to be the key reason for ED in younger men, as well as older men.

Therefore, the following Pharmica article identifies and investigates how psychological factors can lead to Erectile Dysfunction and provides the best ways to tackle these issues.

What Factors can cause Psychological ED?

Performance Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem:

One of the contributing psychological factors that lead to ED is the anxiety related to your performance in bed. This occurs in many men of all ages but the chances of this occurring are higher among younger men who might have limited to no sexual experience. It is also common that this issue surfaces later in life, especially if the sexual activity was low previously.

A 2015 study found a strong link between performance anxiety or low self-esteem and depression, which also increases the chances of sexual dysfunction. To make matters worse, the pattern of this issue can commonly become cyclical, where occasional occurrences affect your confidence more and more, making the fear of sexual dysfunction more impactful to the ability to perform well, causing further and repeating ED problems.

A similar issue can arise due to low self-esteem and low self-worth perception like the negative perception of the body image or social pressure to compare oneself to others. Many men experience some degree of relationships or social encounters that damaged their self-worth perception of themselves, which can be carried over and affect their sexual performance.

For example, the anxiety or fear of poor sexual performance (e.g. “am I good enough”) can cause multiple complications like being unable to relax and therefore affect the ability to achieve an erection. Perception of the body image can also negatively affect the levels of arousal and even lower the desire to have sex at all due to potential perceived embarrassment related to the partner’s opinion. These self-esteem issues can often cause anxiety and depression in the long run, which are often associated with low libido.

Stress and Depression:

Whenever people are going through stuff, they usually categorise sex as one of the least priorities. Therefore, men suffering from stress and depression are usually focused on other priorities in their life, affecting and disrupting hormone levels which cause arteries to narrow and therefore restrict the blood flow. As a result, the ability to achieve and maintain an erection is worsened, making personal and professional stress one of the most common causes of ED among middle-aged men, especially if they are experiencing job or relationship issues as well as general changes in health.

In addition, depression is becoming a more common condition, which affects individuals regardless of their age or demographics. The Covid-19 pandemic has only worsened this, doubling the depression rates compared to pre-pandemic times.

Due to depression’s long term nature, it can deeply affect personal well-being, personal and professional life, making some activities that used to be enjoyable less attractive, including sex. Therefore, depression can be a likely contributor to lower libido, making the desire to have sex lower and could potentially result in an inability to achieve and maintain an erection. Furthermore, some common anti-depressants like SNRIs or SSRIs are known to lower the libido, directly contributing to ED.

Relationship Problems:

Relationship issues with a specific person can also be a potential cause of decreasing the desire to engage in sexual activity. For example, long term partners and sexual interactions with them could decrease in frequency over time, especially if you are more focused on your career or take on additional responsibilities like taking care of relatives, parents or even childer. On the other hand, relatively new couples could start experiencing arguments that also decreases the sexual interest in the partner. Therefore, whatever the situation is, a negative effect on the connection between you and your partner are likely to decrease the arousal when with them, therefore increasing the chances of ED occurring.

What Are the Erectile Dysfunction Treatments?

ED Treatments:

It is essential to address the deeper and underlying psychological issues that could cause ED, where a combination of psychological and medicinal treatment is the best approach. When it comes to medicinal treatment, there are several cost-effective ED treatments are that are available on the market that are clinically proved to increase the ability to sexually perform like:

  • Viagra / Sildenafil – Sildenafil medicine, which is branded under Viagra name, is a PDE5 inhibitor that causes the blood vessels in the penis to relax, improving the blood flow from the sexual stimulation.
  • Levitra / Vardenafil – Tadalafil medicine, sometimes branded under Cialis name, works in a similar way to Sildenafil but takes half the time (15-30min) to start the effects.
  • Cialis / Tadalafil – Vardenafil medicine, sometimes branded as Levitra, is also a PDE5 inhibitor but this treatment is most suitable for those, who suffer from diabetes.

Therapy:

Speaking to a professional could provide a different outside perspective and professional insight into how your mind works and therefore could help with identifying the behaviour patterns and assist with breaking the negative cycle. There are multiple types of therapy like:

  • Counselling – Identifying and tackling your key stressors and triggers that cause anxiety or depression.
  • Sex Therapy – Therapy that focuses on reducing the stress and anxiety related to sex, focusing on sensational pleasure instead. As a result, it could build a secure and happy sex life in future.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy – The key focus of this therapy is to dig into the subconsciousness to find and identify the deeper internal conflict that could be the cause of the ED

Medication Change:

If you are experiencing ED or suffer from low libido while taking anti-depression medication, it is worth discussing alternative options with your doctor. For example, SNRIs and SSRIs are known to reduce libido but alternatives like NRDIs (e.g. Wellbutrin) do not have the same effect. Therefore, consulting with your doctor could help to find the right solution by alternating doses of medications in general.

Stress Management:

Multiple techniques are available for you to help you identify your triggers of stress and take control of the negative effects that are associated with it. For example, it was identified by the experts that slow tempo instrumental music could be an effective way to unwind.

Also, exercise is also very effective at reducing stress by producing endorphins that are proved to be stress-reducing and cause positive emotions. Other methods like meditation or guided imagery can be an effective way to clear your mind and provide the much-needed relaxation to help you with achieving and maintaining an erection.

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