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Panic Attacks and Erectile Dysfunction: What’s the Connection?

Highlights 

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when you can’t get or sustain an erection long enough for satisfying sex.
  • Men with ED may have a less fulfilling sex life, relationship problems, or lower quality of life.
  • ED is caused by physical, mental, and emotional conditions.
  • Mental and emotional causes of ED include underlying anxiety and panic disorders.
  • It’s essential to treat any underlying health problem causing your ED.
  • Getting the correct diagnosis and treatment can help you have a more satisfying sex life.

Panic attacks and erectile dysfunction have something in common: Evidence suggests without proper diagnosis and treatment of both conditions, men experience a lower quality of life. Understanding the link is essential so patients can receive the support, medical care, and prescription medications they need.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED), sometimes also referred to as impotence, is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection that’s hard enough for sexual intercourse. While many men may occasionally experience problems getting or maintaining an erection, ED is only diagnosed when this problem happens routinely or gets worse over time.

You may be diagnosed with ED if you:

  • Can achieve an erection, but it doesn’t last long enough for satisfying sex
  • Can occasionally achieve an erection, but not every time you want to for sex
  • Cannot achieve an erection for sex

ED is the most common male sexual problem, affecting upwards of 30 million men. Some causes of ED are physical due to restricted blood flow to the penis or damaged penile nerves. Other causes of ED include chronic health conditions and medications.

People with hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, may also suffer from ED. Emotional reactions from stress, depression, and anxiety are also known to cause erectile dysfunction in men. Without treatment, ED harms your sex life, relationships, and overall quality of life.

Getting diagnosed with ED

Anyone who experiences frequent episodes of ED should seek medical help. Men with fewer but bothersome episodes of ED may also benefit from treatment. Your primary care doctor may be able to diagnose and treat your problem, or they may refer you to a urologist.

Urologists specialize in conditions that can affect your urinary tract, reproductive organs, and adrenal glands. Finding the cause of your ED can help you find treatment options. If a health condition or medication is causing your ED, adjusting your medication or treating your condition can reverse your ED.

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Medications that treat ED

Originally developed to treat hypertension, Viagra was the first prescription medication available to treat erectile dysfunction. Viagra and its generic equivalent, sildenafil citrate, treat ED by signaling your muscles to relax to increase blood flow to your penis. This helps you achieve and sustain an erection. 

Other common ED medications include:

These ED medications help you get an erection but don’t solve any underlying health condition that causes your ED. If your ED is due to anxiety or panic disorders, treating your underlying condition may help resolve your ED without the need for ED meds.

Erectile dysfunction due to anxiety

It’s normal to experience mild anxiety throughout the day due to problems with work or relationships or if you have an important decision to make. But for people with anxiety disorders, feelings of anxiety and fear may not go away or may worsen over time. 

Types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder. When you experience excessive worry or anxiety on most days for at least six months. Anxious feelings may develop about any subject, which often interferes with your life.
  • Panic disorder. During panic attacks, you may experience physical symptoms that accompany feelings of intense fear, such as heart palpitations and trouble breathing. They happen quickly and may be over in a matter of minutes.
  • Any phobia-related disorder. Phobias are feelings of intense fear or avoidance of specific situations or objects. It includes agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety.

Anxiety disorders affect all parts of your life, including your sex life. A review of 12 separate studies and over 1,200 articles suggests individuals with anxiety disorders have a higher prevalence of erectile dysfunction. The anxiety and ED connection may be due to the condition itself or the medications used to treat the disorder. 

Panic Disorder and ED

Panic disorder, also known as panic attacks, is characterized by repeated unexpected feelings of intense fear or anxiety alongside physical symptoms. The physical symptoms of panic disorders include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, or dizziness. These episodes may happen on their own or be triggered by a specific event or stressor.

A 2016 study from Taiwan shows that patients with panic disorders have an increased risk of erectile dysfunction. This study compared erectile dysfunction in patients diagnosed with panic disorders to control subjects without them. Findings indicate that people with panic disorders have twice the risk of having ED.

How ED impacts anxiety and panic disorders

man holding his head

Patients with ED may experience adverse psychological effects from their condition, whether or not they suffer from anxiety or panic disorder. Men with ED may have lower levels of self-esteem and get less satisfaction from sex, which contributes to adverse mental side effects, such as depression or anxiety.

This research also indicates that psychological problems increase as ED problems worsen. Having ED can make your underlying mental condition worse and vice versa. This shows that treatment for both conditions is needed to resolve health problems.

Treat your ED with eDrugstore

Having a healthy sex life is vital for your quality of life and overall health. You may feel too embarrassed to discuss your sex life or your ED with your primary care doctor. But receiving the correct diagnosis and treatment is crucial. Fortunately, men with ED have other options with eDrugstore.

Our online pharmacy provides customers with complementary online medical consultations and works with U.S. licensed physicians and pharmacies. Your privacy is safeguarded under doctor-patient confidentiality and security technology.

We offer access to our online prescription order system 24 hours a day and ship your medications quickly and discreetly. Visit eDrugstore for all your sexual health and erectile dysfunction medication needs.

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