Christian Counseling - Romantic Feelings and Antidepressant Medication

One of life's greatest emotional pleasures is the head-over-heels experience of new love. From this we likely get phrases, such as "madly in love" and "love is blind." What is responsible for this experience, and what can inhibit this loving feeling?

Spiritually, many Christians believe God's care and His sovereignty provides direction in our meeting, bonding and decisions about a mate.

Psychologically, we all develop an internal representation of our ideal mate, which is both conscious and unconscious. Most people have a list of spousal requirements (conscious), but filling that list doesn't create the spark that ignites passion. What primarily sets our hearts aflame is a mystery (unconscious).

Biochemically,the brain producing hormone, oxytocin, has been shown to increase feelings of love, attachment, and trust, for example. It is released during a massage and a positive relational experience (even thinking about being in love with a particular person) in women (likely in men, as well) who are generally secure in their relationships. It is also released in women during delivery and in men and women during orgasm. This likely accounts for a good amount of the bonding experience between mother and child and also couples.

It is unfortunate in one sense that the brain betrays us in ceasing production of oxytocin after 17 months or so. However, this gives us the chance to develop mature love that is not based on the instability of feelings of love. Scripturally, it may be a move from phileo (affectionate) love to agape (logical, decision-making) love.

It is also unfortunate that antidepressant medication in the form of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, such as: Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, and Celexa) decrease levels of oxytocin. It appears these meds interfere in the experience of romantic and sexual feelings and may even prevent a romantic relationship. Should you be concerned about this impacting your present or future relationships, talk with your medical doctor about your options. There are other, though limited, medication alternatives in the treatment of depression, and psychotherapy can help.

3 comments (Add your own)

1. frankmancusophd wrote:
I apologize for the late posting of your comment Paxil Lawyers, as well as my response.

08/24/2011 @ 5:33 PM

2. frankmancusophd wrote:
Yes, less invasive treatments are the first to consider. Perhaps the only exceptions where a front line use of medication is warranted is when depression is accompanied by suicidal ideation or when a person out on disability needs to return to work as soon as possible.

08/24/2011 @ 5:26 PM

3. Paxil Lawyers wrote:
When in a state of depression, taking antidepressants should ought to be a last option. There have been reports of worsened conditions when taking this SSRIs. Psychotherapy is the best alternative to medicines and of course a supportive family should be a must.

06/23/2011 @ 4:53 PM

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