The Surprising Side-Effect of Antidepressant Use ‘Emotional Blunting

Antidepressants are meant to help us feel better, but a new study has found that they may have an unexpected side-effect: emotional blunting.

Emotional blunting is a term used to describe the experience of feeling disconnected or numb to emotions. It can be a troubling side-effect, as it can make it difficult to feel happiness, love, or sadness in the same way as before.

The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, looked at data from more than 1,500 people who were taking antidepressants. It found that around 35% of those participants reported experiencing emotional blunting.

If you’re taking antidepressants and are experiencing this side effect, don’t worry you’re not alone. Talk to your doctor about it, as they may be able to suggest a different medication that doesn’t cause this problem.

What Is Emotional Blunting?

Emotional blunting is a side effect associated with the use of antidepressants. It’s when you no longer feel as emotionally connected to things as you once did.

You may feel like you’re distancing yourself from your loved ones, or that you just don’t care about things as much as you used to. It can be a really scary experience, and it’s one that a lot of people don’t know about.

That’s why it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects of antidepressants before you start taking them. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of emotional blunting, talk to your doctor. There may be other treatments available that don’t cause this side effect.

What the Research Says About Antidepressants and Emotional Blunting

Quite a few studies have been conducted on the effects of antidepressants and emotional blunting. So far, it seems that these drugs may be linked to a decrease in empathy and emotional recognition in people who take them.

In one study, participants who had been taking antidepressants for at least six weeks were asked to watch a video of someone being cry and then react to it. The results showed that those who were taking antidepressants felt significantly less emotion than those who weren’t.

In another study, researchers looked at the brain scans of people who had taken antidepressants and found that there was less activation in areas that are associated with emotion, empathy, and social cognition.

So what does this mean for those of us who take antidepressants? Well, it’s still too early to say for sure. But it’s important to be aware of these potential side effects so that we can make informed decisions about our treatment.

Symptoms of Emotional Blunting

You may be experiencing emotional blunting if you have recently started antidepressants and have been feeling a decrease in your ability to feel or express emotion. You may feel like you are living in a “zombie” state, or that your emotions are just not as intense as they used to be.

This blunting of emotion can be a very scary and isolating experience, as it can make you feel like you are no longer in control of your own life or emotions. You may find that you are unable to connect with others in the same way that you used to, and that your relationships are suffering because of it.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please reach out for help. There is no shame in seeking assistance for something that is out of your control. There are many people who want to help, and there is no need to suffer in silence.

What to Do if You Think You Are Experiencing Emotional Blunting

If you think that you may be experiencing emotional blunting due to your antidepressant use, it is important to take action. Talk to your doctor and ask if they can change the dosage or type of medication you are taking, or if there are other strategies that could help.

Your doctor may also suggest taking therapy or lifestyle changes. Some people find that mindfulness and meditation can help them reconnect with their emotions. Others find that physical activities like yoga, running, and lifting weights help them stay in tune with their feelings.

Finally, it is important to stay connected with friends and family. Humans are social creatures, and we need meaningful connections and support from others to keep us emotionally balanced. So don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you start feeling emotionally distant from those close to you.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you have been experiencing emotional blunting as a result of taking antidepressants, it’s important to be sure to talk to your doctor right away. Your doctor or therapist can help you figure out the best way to address the issue.

It’s possible that making changes in your dosage or switching medications may help reduce symptoms of emotional blunting. In some cases, behavioral therapy or even natural supplements may be recommended as an alternative to medication. Whatever it is that your doctor recommends, it’s important to keep in mind that finding the right balance is key, and there will likely be a process of trial and error before you find what works for you.

How to Combat Emotional Blunting

If you’re taking antidepressants and feel like you aren’t feeling as much during your daily life, there are several strategies you can use to help manage the effects of emotional blunting. Here are a few tips:

  • Talk to your doctor about adjusting your dose or switching to a different antidepressant.
  • Practice mindful breathing and meditation techniques to help process and manage the emotions that may be blocked.
  • Increase physical activity, as exercise can help boost mood and reduce stress.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, as inadequate sleep can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
  • Seek out new experiences that bring in more joy and happiness – take a cooking class, try a new hobby or hang out with friends!
  • Spend more time in nature – getting some fresh air can do wonders for your mood.


So, antidepressants might have an unexpected downside: they can blunt your emotions. This is concerning because it means that people might not be able to adequately process their feelings, which could lead to problems down the road.


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