Psychological Causes of ED
Erectile dysfunction may be caused by psychological or medical problems, so it’s important for men suffering from ED to see a doctor to diagnose the cause.
However, ED can sometimes be caused by, or worsened by, psychological problems, including:
- General anxiety
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Performance anxiety
- Relationship issues
Sometimes men have both medical and psychological issues. For example, men with mild to moderate ED may also experience performance anxiety, making it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection even when they use medications such as Viagra or Cialis.
Many men are reluctant to seek treatment for psychological issues, but it’s important to realize that a qualified counselor can help men (and couples) dealing with ED. A study in the treatment of psychogenic (psychological) ED showed a net improvement of 58% among men who received counseling1.
The Mental Health Impact of Erectile Dysfunction
Even men whose ED has a physical cause will find counseling helpful to deal with the impact of erectile dysfunction. ED can trigger a variety of mental health issues, including:
- Loss of self-esteem
- Lack of sexual desire
- Difficulty sleeping
- Relationship problems
As you can see, it’s easy for men to get trapped in a cycle… having erectile problems causes psychological issues, which can make the problems worse.
In a recently conducted survey on the impact of ED, 85% of the men who responded said that their condition has had some impact or a major impact on their self-esteem and general happiness, and 80% said that ED has had some impact or a major impact on their relationship with their partner.
Partners of men with ED may also experience emotional and mental health issues. For example, they may feel unattractive, or feel that they are doing something wrong. Depression is very common among the partners of men with ED.
Because men have a hard time talking about ED, this can lead to communication issues with their partners, which can magnify the problems and even break up relationships. A qualified sex coach or counselor can help overcome these communication issues.
Strong feelings of depression or anxiety – in either partner – may require short-term medication to get past the problem. If you are seeing a psychiatrist, they can prescribe these medications; other therapists will refer you to a doctor if they feel medications are necessary.
Some counselors offer only in-office visits, but many accept remote clients using services such as Skype, Zoom, or VCee.
You can search online for a coach, counselor, or therapist who specializes in sexual dysfunction. You may also get a referral from your doctor.
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Types of Counselors
Psychiatrists and Psychologists
Both psychiatrists and psychologist often treat deep-seated problems and provide long-term therapy.
A psychiatrist is a Medical Doctor (M.D.) who has graduated from a medical school. In additional to counseling, psychiatrists can prescribe medications to deal with stress or anxiety.
A psychologist has a “doctorate” level degree, but it does not include general medicine. A psychologist cannot prescribe medication.
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT’s), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW’s), and Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC’s) hold Masters Degrees; they provide counseling and therapy for individuals, couples, and groups.
Intimacy Coaches or trained Sexologist Coaches are certified by either a University or private training program. They are result orientated. They are adept at working with your current situation and finding solutions that work for you, helping you to achieve your ultimate outcome. Many also train in specialties such as ED, sexual awareness, and bodywork. They work with individuals and couples.
For More Information
- Baum, N; Randrup, E; Junot, D; Hass, S. “Prostaglandin E1 Versus Sex Therapy in the Management of Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction.” International Journal of Impotence Research. Dec 2000; pp 191-194. <https://www.nature.com/articles/3900544.pdf>