It is often difficult to determine if ED is caused by physical or psychological causes. However, there are some things in the history that can suggest that ED is psychological or physical.

Physical Signs:

  • ED that comes on gradually (other than trauma)
  • Erections are impaired while awake and while asleep.
  • Many medical conditions are associated with ED like obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and neurological diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. If you have one or more of these conditions it is more likely that your ED is of physical origin, not psychological origin.

Psychological Signs:

  • Occurs suddenly
  • You're waking up with erections but have trouble getting or maintaining an erection when masturbating or with a partner
  • You're experiencing ED only with partnered sex but not when masturbating
  • You have multiple partners and you consistently have erectile problems with one or more but not the others, there’s a good chance that the ED is caused by relationship factors.
  • Age could be a factor. Younger men are more likely to suffer from psychological ED than older men, although both causes occur at all ages.
  • If you suffer from anxiety or depression you are more likely to suffer from psychologically induced ED.

This information is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor. 

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