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How does the substance abuse affect a sexual aversion disorder?

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Practicing since : 2003
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How does the substance abuse affect a sexual aversion disorder?
Posted Fri, 14 Dec 2012 in Sexual Problems
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 1 hour later

Substance abuse has a strong association with sexual disorders. Specifically, with regard to sexual aversion disorder, substance abuse is known to play a role in the causation or worsening of this disorder. The prevalence of substance abuse is significantly higher in people diagnosed with sexual aversion disorder and vice versa. Several studies have shown that 50 to 60% of persons with alcohol abuse alone reported a decreased sexual desire. Some studies have shown that painful sex was associated with illicit drug use and marijuana use. Narcotic abuse and prescription medication abuse has also been significantly associated with disorders of sexual desire.

Now, there are several mechanisms by which substance abuse affects sexual aversion disorder:

Firstly, abuse of substances like alcohol can directly result in decreased libido or poor sexual drive by affecting the oestrogen or testosterone levels.

Secondly, the medical and neurological complications of substance abuse (e.g. neuropathy, vascular diseases, liver disease, testicular atrophy, etc.) can result in sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction, orgasm disorders, etc. and this can in turn indirectly lead on to an aversion to sex.

Thirdly, the psychological effects of many substances, for example, the depressant effect of alcohol, can lead to decreased motivation, low mood, poor sexual drive and thereby worsen sexual aversion.

Fourthly, substance abuse can cause other psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, panic disorders, psychotic disorders, etc. and these can indirectly cause or worsen sexual aversion disorder.

Finally, but importantly, substance abuse very often results in significant interpersonal problems, relationship difficulties and social dysfunction, which are all major factors in the causation of sexual aversion disorder.

It is also important to note that persons with substance abuse and sexual aversion disorder often go into a viscious cycle of one worsening the other. So, when it comes to the diagnosis as well as management of sexual aversion, substance abuse problems should specifically be looked for and dealt with appropriately.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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