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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2014 Sep;9(9):1419-25. doi: 10.1093/scan/nst135. Epub 2013 Aug 31.

Preliminary evidence that sub-chronic citalopram triggers the re-evaluation of value in intimate partnerships.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University, Oxford, OX3 7JX, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, England and School of Psychology, Bangor University, Adeilad Brigantia, Bangor, LL57 1AS.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University, Oxford, OX3 7JX, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, England and School of Psychology, Bangor University, Adeilad Brigantia, Bangor, LL57 1AS r.rogers@bangor.ac.uk.

Abstract

Depression frequently involves disrupted inter-personal relationships, while treatment with serotonergic anti-depressants can interfere with libido and sexual function. However, little is known about how serotonin activity influences appraisals of intimate partnerships. Learning more could help to specify how serotonergic mechanisms mediate social isolation in psychiatric illness. Forty-four healthy heterosexual adults, currently in romantic relationships, received 8 days treatment with the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor citalopram (N = 21; 10 male) or placebo (N = 23; 12 male). Participants viewed photographs of unknown, heterosexual couples and made a series of judgements about their relationships. Participants also indicated the importance of relationship features in their own close partnerships, and close partnerships generally. Citalopram reduced the rated quality of couples' physical relationships and the importance attributed to physical and intimate aspects of participants' own relationships. In contrast, citalopram also enhanced the evaluated worth of mutual trust in relationships. Amongst males, citalopram was associated with judgements of reduced turbulence and bickering in others' relationships, and increased male dominance. These data constitute preliminary evidence that enhancing serotonin activity modulates cognitions about sexual activity as part of a re-appraisal of sources of value within close intimate relationships, enhancing the judged importance of longer-term benefits of trust and shared experiences.

KEYWORDS:

depression; intimate relationships; serotonin; social isolation; social judgements

PMID:
23996287
PMCID:
PMC4158381
DOI:
10.1093/scan/nst135
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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