Help or Hurt? — Credihealth Blog


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic health condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, & impulsive behavior. Unfortunately, it doesn’t vanish in the bedroom. It’s known that individuals with ADHD have a lower sex drive than those without the disorder. Some may find themselves incapable of focusing on sex long enough to thoroughly relish it, while others may become sexually active to the point that it seems to be sexual addiction. Additionally, some may engage in perilous sexual behavior as a consequence of their ADHD signs. In this guide, we’ll discuss the link between ADHD medication and sex drive and find out how to overcome sexual problems linked with this disorder.

How Can ADHD Affect Your Sex Life?

ADHD is known to affect an individual’s sex life to some extent. Below are some problems associated with this condition.

Incapability to Pay Attention & Focus

ADHD-affected individuals usually jump from one thought to the next. They may discover that other thoughts keep them from completely relishing sexual activity. Undoubtedly, sex requires a certain amount of attention and focus. Having issues in your life can race through your head while having sex & preoccupy you. With ADHD, you may even find yourself incapable of finishing a sexual act, as you become preoccupied & lose interest.

Impulsivity

With ADHD, patients may impulsively engage in sexual activity. They have lower levels of brain chemicals dubbed neurotransmitters. Indeed, reduced levels of neurotransmitters may make you more prone to be impulsive & take risks. Besides, that same impulsiveness may cause risky sexual behaviors like unprotected sex. ADHD individuals may even find that their impulsive nature makes them imperfect lovers, as they are super anxious to move swiftly to the next activity. During sex, they need to get through it as quickly as they can, not considering their partner.

Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity can affect the libido of individuals suffering from the disorder, leading to a high level of arousal that results in frantic sexual pursuit to relieve their inner tensions. They may find themselves drawn to edgier sexual practices such as exhibitionism & fetishism.

High or Low Libido

ADHD patients may have a high sex drive [1]. They may think about or try to have sex regularly. Besides, they may use pornography continually. On the other hand, some meds that treat ADHD, e.g., antidepressants, can induce a low sex drive.

Unexpected Shifts in Mood or Desires

Mood swings are typical in individuals with ADHD. They can likewise be hypersensitive. That means sensations, like touch, that may feel normal to a healthy individual and can feel too intense for an ADHD patient.

Changes in Sex Drive During ADHD Treatment

Some ADHD meds are known to affect an individual’s sex drive. Except for bupropion (Wellbutrin) & trazodone (Desyrel), antidepressant meds used to treat the condition may cause a decrease in libido or sexual functioning [2]. Additionally, ADHD stimulants like Adderall & Ritalin can impact sex drive, although studies vary regarding that effect. For instance, some references state that stimulants heighten libido, while others claim that they reduce sex drive & even cause erectile dysfunction (ED) in men [3][4].

Hypersexuality is an extreme obsession with sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors that is tough to control. The condition usually causes distress or negatively impacts on your health, relationships, job, or other parts of your life. Not all individuals having ADHD experience hypersexuality. However, for those who do, it’s still achievable to have a healthy sex life. There’s insufficient proof to say that hypersexuality is more typical in individuals with ADHD, so the link is unclear. 

Still, those with ADHD oftentimes report having hypersexuality & other paraphilias. Although the disorder doesn’t trigger compulsive sexual behavior disorder (another name for hypersexuality), there are possible connections. Some include:

  • impulsivity & fixations;
  • escapism (sex as a form of escapism for ADHD patients);
  • dopamine: An ADHD brain processes dopamine differently [5]. This neurotransmitter plays a function in how individuals experience a pleasure. Those with ADHD may have lower levels of dopamine transporters compared with the brains of those without the disorder [6]. As a consequence, to activate the dopamine system, an ADHD individual may resort to masturbating or watching pornography.

Overall, the disorder can affect the severity of hypersexuality in both men and women, but a connection with problematic pornography use seems to be stronger in males.

ADHD Medications and Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction, a common negative effect of antidepressants, can have a substantial impact on your quality of life, mental health, relationships, & recovery. The sexual problems range from reduced sexual desire and delayed orgasm to erection or ejaculation difficulties. Some other sexual negative effects associated with ADHD meds include priapism, penile anesthesia, painful ejaculation, loss of sensation in the nipples & vagina, persistent genital arousal, as well as nonpuerperal lactation in women [7].

Some antipsychotic meds may impact sexual function more than others. Men administering antipsychotics report ED, diminished orgasmic quality with delayed, impeded, or retrograde ejaculation, & reduced interest in sex. Women who take the same drugs may experience low libido, difficulty reaching orgasm, shifts in orgasmic quality, & anorgasmia [8]. Stimulants used for the treatment of ADHD can also be associated with some sexual problems. For instance, Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) oftentimes causes erectile dysfunction in adult men [9].

Overcoming Sexual Problems Associated with ADHD

Meds like Cialis & Viagra can help manage ADHD-related sexual problems. They are phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors used to aid you with attaining & sustaining longer penile erections by dilating the blood vessels in the penis. 

If you’re using meds like Vyvanse to treat ADHD & have impotence, you can consider mixing it with any ED drug, e.g., Viagra, the world’s most popular ED medication. Viagra and Vyvanse mix well. Such a combination helps lessen or entirely get rid of sexual negative effects. It provides astounding results & generally ameliorates the quality of life for men & women alike.

Resume

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can have an impact on your sex drive & behavior. It induces low libido, hypersexuality, hyperactivity, mood changes, & impulsivity, etc. Besides, some ADHD meds such as Adderall can cause some sexual negative effects such as erectile dysfunction, while others have no impact on your libido or sexual functioning. Nonetheless, there are potent drugs that can help overcome ADHD-related sexual problems. Brand-name Viagra, generic sildenafil, & other ED meds are frequently used to treat ED caused by ADHD drugs.

References

  1. How ADHD Can Affect Your Sex Life. By Keath Low. Updated: January 29, 2020. Medically reviewed by Aron Janssen. Verywellmind.com.
  2. Depression and Sexual Desire. By Robert L. Phillips, Jr., and  James R. Slaughter. Published: 2000. Aafp.org.
  3. Amphetamine Use and Sexual Practices. By Anette Skårner and Bengt Svensson. Published: October 2013. Retrieved: October 18, 2022. Journals.sagepub.com.
  4. Adderall Side Effects in Men. By Jacqueline Sinfield. Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD. Updated on February 18, 2022. Retrieved: October 18, 2022. Verywellmind.com.
  5. Evaluating Dopamine Reward Pathway in ADHD. By Nora D. Volkow, Gene-Jack Wang, Scott H. Kollins, et al. Published: September 9, 2009. Jamanetwork.com.
  6. Striatal Dopamine Transporter Alterations in ADHD: Pathophysiology or Adaptation to Psychostimulants? A Meta-Analysis. By Paolo Fusar-Poli, Katya Rubia, Giorgio Rossi, et al. Published: March 1, 2012. Ajp.psychiatryonline.org.
  7. Antidepressant-Associated Sexual Dysfunction: Impact, Effects, and Treatment. By Agnes Higgins, Michael Nash, and Aileen M. Lynch. Published: September 9, 2010. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  8. Drug-Induced Sexual Dysfunction in Men and Women. By Helen M. Conaglen and John V. Conaglen. Published: April 2, 2013. Nps.org.au.
  9. Vyvanse and Erectile Dysfunction – A Phase IV Clinical Study of FDA Data. Retrieved: October 17, 2022. Ehealthme.com.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors, not Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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