Psychotherapy for Erection Problems

Topic Overview

Psychological issues may play a role in erection problems (erectile dysfunction). These issues may include depression, anxiety disorder, or another mental disorder.

Men with these types of problems may benefit from therapy.

Psychological treatment is most likely to be helpful for men who:

  • Have an erect penis when they wake up in the morning.
  • Can get a firm erection when masturbating.
  • Have gone through a stressful major life event, such as divorce, separation, death of a loved one, change in job, or moving.
  • Grew up in an environment where sex and sexuality were considered negative, wrong, or "bad," or who were sexually or physically abused as a child.
  • Lost their mother or father during early childhood.
  • Have a history of serious relationship problems.
  • Have a history of anxiety disorders or physical problems that have a psychological component (such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, asthma, or nervous bladder).

The type of therapy and how long it lasts depends on what type of problem you have. Both group or individual therapy may be used. It's often helpful to involve your partner in the therapy.

Evidence shows that group therapy helps with erection problems in some men. Adding group therapy to treatment with sildenafil (for example, Viagra) helped more than sildenafil alone. Men who took part in group therapy also were more likely to keep taking their medicine.1

References

Citations

  1. Melnik T, et al. (2007). Psychosocial interventions for erectile dysfunction. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
Last Revised May 14, 2012

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