Reviewed by Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
Finding out that you have erectile dysfunction (ED) is something that can change your life in several different ways. Many men feel inadequate when they discover that they have ED, but they shouldn’t feel this way. It’s very common for people to suffer from some form of erectile dysfunction as they get older. Even so, this isn’t going to keep you from going through mental health struggles because of ED. If you feel like you’re depressed or anxious because of your diagnosis, then you should know that you’re not alone.
Read on to learn more about what causes ED and what you can do when your mental health is suffering. This should give you an idea of how you can try to get things on track for the sake of your health. It might feel like things are a lot worse in your life due to ED right now, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t turn things around. Erectile dysfunction is a treatable condition, and you can also get your mental health back to a positive place when you take the right steps.
Erectile Dysfunction Causes
When it comes to determining what causes erectile dysfunction, it’s important to know that there isn’t just one thing involved. ED is fairly complex and can be caused by a number of physical things and many mental-emotional things. When someone is diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, it isn’t necessarily going to be easy to pin down the cause. Your doctor might recommend trying to make some lifestyle changes to see if that will help the issue to resolve itself.
For instance, some people wind up dealing with erectile dysfunction because they are overweight. Obesity makes it more likely that you will have erectile dysfunction issues at some point in your life. There are lots of physical problems that can cause people not to be able to get an erection. Sometimes ED is about not being able to sustain an erection for a long time.
You might wind up getting ED if you have physical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, clogged blood vessels, low testosterone, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Even actions such as tobacco use and drinking too much alcohol can impact whether you’ll be able to sustain an erection. What is the main cause of erectile dysfunction? It’s not something that you can determine without knowing more about your specific health. You could have many physical factors playing a role in what is happening.
Even emotional and mental health issues can cause people problems. You might have a tough time getting an erection if you’re feeling depressed or anxious. Even something as simple as stress can cause impotence in some cases. If you’re worried that your relationship isn’t going well, then that could harm your ability to perform sexually. Your emotional well-being and a general sense of confidence play more of a role than you likely realize.
So what can be done if you’re feeling depressed or anxious specifically because of ED issues? You have many actions that you can take. Keep reading to get some specific advice about how to get your life on track after being diagnosed with ED. Some of these tips might even help you get your ED problem under control, but most of them are focused on improving your mental health regardless of how you’re performing sexually.
Exercising is something that could help you out quite a bit when you’re feeling down. You might be aware of the fact that exercising can act as a natural antidepressant in certain ways. When you spend some time exercising, positive endorphins will be released in your bloodstream. This will help put you in a better mood, and it should do a great job of alleviating depression symptoms. Many doctors recommend using exercise routines as a way to help combat depression.
This could also be good for you because of your physical situation. You just read that many potential physical problems contribute to someone developing ED. Knowing this, it would be great to start exercising so that you could try to lose some weight. If one of your problems involves being a bit overweight or being obese, then you could start to make progress. Losing weight over time might help eliminate ED from your life, but time will tell. Even if it doesn’t change your ED situation, it’s going to be worthwhile.
One of the reasons your mental health is suffering after your ED diagnosis is that your self-confidence has been hurt. Not being able to get an erection can weigh on a man’s psyche, and it’s going to keep you from feeling as confident as you normally would. Getting into great shape is something that could make you feel significantly better than you have in a long time. Not only will you start to feel fantastic physically, but your mental health will get a significant boost.
You’ll be able to look in the mirror and see that you’re making progress toward your fitness goals. This can help you to feel a sense of satisfaction that will turn things around quite a bit. It will likely take time to realize your ultimate fitness goals, but it’s a very worthy pursuit. You can even endeavor to find exercise routines that will be both fun and challenging for you. Just make sure that you speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen to know that you’re capable of doing so safely.
Stress can have a huge impact on your mental health, and it can even make your erectile dysfunction worse. This is why you should try to eliminate sources of stress in your life. It isn’t going to be possible to eliminate stress from your life completely, but you can try to make things better. Figure out what things are adding unnecessary stress to your life so that you can cut them out.
If you aren’t able to cut out stress sources from your life, you can at least do a good job of reducing your stress levels. People can reduce stress levels by doing things such as having fun, talking to friends, playing games, reading books, or working out. Find activities that you like to do that will help you to feel less stressed. If your sex life is the main thing that is causing you to stress out, you need to focus less on that aspect of your life. Find other things that you’re passionate about and spend some time doing things that will benefit your mental health.
Find A Supportive Partner
Having a supportive partner can make it a lot simpler to get through life, but it can be especially helpful when you’ve been diagnosed with ED. One of the biggest reasons you might feel depressed about having ED is that you don’t want to let your partner down. If you have a very supportive partner, then you might not need to worry about that at all. For example, your partner might tell you not to worry about your erections so much because that isn’t the reason why you’re together.
You can still have a very satisfying romantic and sexual relationship with your partner when you have ED. Sometimes you might be able to have a good normal sexual encounter, but you can learn to please each other in different ways. When you’re having a tough day because of your mental health, a supportive partner will be there by your side. Being with someone who truly loves you makes a world of difference.
Talk To Your Doctor About Mental Health Issues
If you know that you’re suffering from mental health issues related to erectile dysfunction, it’s good to talk to your doctor. As mentioned earlier, depression and anxiety can play a role in whether you’ll be able to get an erection or not. It’s possible that your mental health struggles could be holding you back from being able to perform sexually. Thankfully, this is something that can be treated.
You can get officially diagnosed with depression or anxiety after talking to your doctor about what you’ve been going through. If you’re not sure whether you have a problem or not, then you might want to take this online anxiety test first to see how you’re doing. If you indicate that you have an anxiety issue, it’ll be better to discuss this with your doctor.
Treatments for anxiety and depression can help you to feel substantially better about life. If you’re anxious, then you can be prescribed anti-anxiety medications that will make a difference. Antidepressants can alleviate depression over time so that you can start enjoying life again. It’s possible that these changes could lead to you being able to perform better in the bedroom as well, but that shouldn’t be your entire focus. Just being able to feel more positive about life will put you in a better place.
Consider Going To Therapy
Therapy is something that can help you to come to terms with your ED diagnosis. You can address your mental health struggles while also getting support from a compassionate professional. Millions of people suffer from ED, and a diagnosis like this often causes people to feel down about themselves. You might be lacking self-confidence right now, but you can learn to look at things differently. With the support of a therapist, it’ll be possible to learn how to cope with your mental health issues.
You can also work through the anxieties that you have that are related to ED. Talking to someone who understands will help, and you might find that your situation will improve once you’ve made progress. Being able to feel more confident in yourself again will be great. You can stop associating your self-worth with your ability to perform sexually. After a while, you’ll feel your mental health getting closer to what it was like before your diagnosis.