Antidepressants Cause Emotional Blunting: Study Finds

Emotional Blunting

Mental Health News

A team of researchers at the University of Cambridge explored how the use of antidepressants is linked to emotional blunting. The study is published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

The Study

The researchers recruited 66 healthy volunteers and divided them into two groups. One group was given escitalopram, the other a placebo, over the course of 21 days.

The participants then completed a comprehensive questionnaire about cognitive functioning, reinforcement sensitivity, inhibition, learning, behavior, and decision-making.

The Findings

The results revealed that the use of antidepressants makes people emotionally blunted. Chronic use of the drug over a long period of time can reduce reinforcement sensitivity and positive learning behaviors.

The researchers elaborated: “Emotional blunting is a common side effect of SSRI antidepressants. They take away some of the emotional pain that people who experience depression feel, but, unfortunately, it seems that they also take away some of the enjoyment. From our study, we can now see that this is because they become less sensitive to rewards, which provide important feedback.

To Know More You May Refer To

Langley, C., Armand, S., Luo, Q., Savulich, G., Segerberg, T., Søndergaard, A., Pedersen, E. B., Svart, N., Overgaard-Hansen, O., Johansen, A., Borgsted, C., Cardinal, R. N., Robbins, T. W., Stenbæk, D. S., Knudsen, G. M., & Sahakian, B. J. (2023). Chronic escitalopram in healthy volunteers has specific effects on reinforcement sensitivity: a double-blind, placebo-controlled semi-randomised study. Neuropsychopharmacology, 1–7.

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