Anecdotal and published case reports suggest that some patients taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) experience diminution in emotional responsiveness. This study aims to define the individual components of emotion disturbed in these patients. Fifteen patients reporting SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction completed the Laukes Emotional Intensity Scale (LEIS), a questionnaire about various emotions. Compared to controls, patients reported significantly (p < 0.05) less ability to cry, irritation, care about others' feelings, sadness, erotic dreaming, creativity, surprise, anger, expression of their feelings, worry over things or situations, sexual pleasure, and interest in sex. Total score on the LEIS did not correlate with total score on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. In our sample, 80% of patients with SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction also describe clinically significant blunting of several emotions. Emotional blunting may be an under-appreciated side-effect of SSRIs that may contribute to treatment non-compliance and/or reduced quality of life.
- Emotional blunting
- Sexual dysfunction