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Updated May 06, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition of Libido

Libido means sexual urge or desire. There is no blanket definition of a "normal" libido — not only does it vary from person to person, but one person's baseline state of sexual desire may change for an extended period of time depending on circumstances. For example, a woman whose level of sexual urge is generally low may find that it increases substantially when she falls in love.

The reason libido is important in bipolar disorder is that changes may occur because of mood and as a side effect of psychiatric medications. During mania or hypomania, a patient may crave sexual activity much more than usual, which is called hypersexuality. In a depressive episode, there can be loss of interest in sex.

Many medications that are prescribed for bipolar disorder can affect the libido. A few of these are:

In addition, many psychiatric drugs can affect sexual performance. You can look up the side effects of medications you are taking in the Side Effects Library.

See The Impact of Bipolar on Sex.

Pronunciation: lih-BEE-doe

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