The Adverse Emotional and Interpersonal Effects of Antidepressants

The High Frequency of Adverse Emotional and Interpersonal Effects Reported by 1829 New Zealanders While Taking Antidepressants


By John ReadaClaire CartwrightbKerry Gibsonb

Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool, Whelan Building, Ground Floor, Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK

 b School of Psychology, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Received 15 October 2013, Revised 21 January 2014, Accepted 27 January 2014, Available online 3 February 2014


In the context of rapidly increasing antidepressant use internationally, and recent reviews raising concerns about efficacy and adverse effects, this study aimed to survey the largest sample of AD recipients to date. An online questionnaire about experiences with, and beliefs about, antidepressants was completed by 1829 adults who had been prescribed antidepressants in the last five years (53% were first prescribed them between 2000 and 2009, and52% reported taking them for more than three years). Eight of the 20 adverse effects studied were reported by over half the participants; most frequently Sexual Difficulties (62%) and Feeling Emotionally Numb (60%).Percentages for other effects included:

Feeling Not Like Myself – 52%,

Reduction In Positive Feelings – 42%,

Caring Less About Others – 39%,

Suicidality – 39% and

Withdrawal Effects – 55%.

Total Adverse Effect scores were related to younger age, lower education and income, and type of antidepressant, but not to level of depression prior to taking antidepressants. The adverse effects of antidepressants may be more frequent than previously reported, and include emotional and interpersonal effects.

Ed. Note: Note that the abstract above only reports the top 7 of the 20 adverse effects studied. The full text of the article, where the statistics for the other 13 adverse effects could be accessed, cannot be obtained without obtaining a copy of the journal, Psychiatry ResearchVolume 216, Issue 1, 30 April 2014, (Pages 67–73) or paying an obscenely expensive fee to the publisher ($36).

Articles by: Global Research News

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