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Homechevron_rightSciencechevron_rightAntidepressants linked...

Antidepressants linked to emotional blunting in a new study


Antidepressants might be causing their users to feel emotionally blunted, claimed a new study looking into the adverse effects of the medication. Findings suggest that these medications have an effect on reinforcement learning which is a behavioural process enabling humans to learn from their environment.

Researchers have defined emotional blunting as a flatness that limits a person's emotional range and particularly the ability to experience positive feelings like pleasure and joy. The study has been published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. Author Barbara Sahakian, a Professor at the University of Cambridge, says antidepressants work by taking away some of the emotional pain patients with depression feel. The enjoyment being taken away looks like a side effect.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are a family of commonly prescribed antidepressants, especially for people suffering from persistent and severe depression. The drug targets serotonin aka pleasure molecule which is tasked with transmitting messages between brain cells. It blunts these unpleasant messages and helps in recovering from depression.

Sahakian said antidepressants are undoubtedly useful for many patients but the latest findings suggest the need for better medications and prescription decisions. Researchers also noted that most SSRI studies conducted only look at their short-term use but in real-life clinical usage, they are prescribed with long-term intentions.

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TAGS:depression antidepressants serotonin happiness hormone 
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