Can ADHD Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is categorized as a mental disorder that results in chaotic thought patterns. If not treated properly, it can result in significant disruption to all aspects of someone's life, from the workplace to relationships nearer to home. ADHD is often treated with prescription medications like Adderall or Ritalin, and can be a lifelong affliction.
A scientific review of research carried out indicates that individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder had higher prevalence of sexual dysfunction and addiction, accompanied by a notable lack of sexual satisfaction.
ADHD occurs in approximately 4 percent of the U.S. population, although exact numbers are uncertain. It remains a misunderstood mental disorder in the United States and one that carries all kinds of stigma against anyone with mental health issues.
ADHD and Erectile Dysfunction
The exact pathophysiology of ADHD is not fully understood. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is thought to be caused by wiring problems between synapses in the brain, so that signals that are intended to go in one direction are sent improperly, or not at all.
Studies also indicate that those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often have irregularly structured parts of the brain. These abnormalities may contribute to forgetfulness, irritability, impulsivity and rapid changes in mood. These fluctuations affect concentration and can make maintaining an erection difficult.
Indeed, certain aspects of sex can be particularly troublesome for adults with ADHD. They may experience discomfort with certain smells, sensations or situations surrounding sex, making arousal more difficult, which in itself can create stress that furthers the problem. It's also important to note that erectile dysfunction (ED) is not present in all cases of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but there is an increased risk of it developing if ADHD is a preexisting condition.
Coping with ADHD and Erectile Dysfunction
Something that both ADHD and erectile dysfunction share is a social stigma surrounding open discussion about either topic. This off-limits reputation can make those with either condition feel as though disclosing information about their experiences is a sign of weakness. Partners of those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder should be aware of the complications this mental condition can create regarding sex. If you are experiencing intimacy issues, using a slow and direct approach can be a great way to maintain a healthy sexual relationship.
If a partner is dealing with ADHD and erectile dysfunction, talking with a doctor is the best approach and can eliminate the possibility that ED symptoms are not in fact signs of a more serious medical condition.
Besides talking with a physician, using communication strategies that help your partner, family and loved ones understand how your condition is affecting your mood and thoughts can be a great tool toward cultivating empathy from those closest to you.