Background: Comorbid anxiety disorders and depression are commonly seen in men with sexual disorders such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and premature ejaculation (PE). However, they are often undiagnosed and untreated, and their relationship to sexual dysfunction is complex. This study examines the frequency and correlates of comorbid anxiety and depression in men with ED or PE.
Methods: The case records of 64 men with ED or PE attending a clinic for psychosexual disorders in a general hospital psychiatry unit during the period 2010-14 were reviewed. Information on comorbid anxiety disorders and depression was extracted from these records, and their clinical and demographic associations were analyzed.
Results: Eight (12.5%) men had comorbid depressive disorders, and fifteen (23.4%) had anxiety disorders. These disorders predated the onset of sexual dysfunction in the majority of patients. Generalized anxiety disorder was the commonest anxiety disorder. Men with comorbid depression had significantly elevated rates of suicidal ideation or behavior related to their sexual dysfunction, and were more likely to report a lack of libido. Men with pre-existing anxiety disorders were more likely to experience performance anxiety related to sex, and to have PE without comorbid ED.
Conclusions: Depression and anxiety affect a substantial minority of men with sexual dysfunction. Men presenting for the evaluation of ED and PE should be carefully screened for these disorders. The links between anxiety disorders and sexual performance anxiety merit further investigation in this patient group.
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