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Antidepressant Found to Alter Personality

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posted on Dec, 8 2009 @ 10:59 PM
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Medications frequently prescribed for depression may not lighten a person’s mood until they brighten his or her personality. A new study suggests that the antidepressant medication paroxetine, or Paxil, fights depression most effectively when it first modifies two personality traits that predispose people to this mood disorder. The two traits, high neuroticism and low extraversion, have already been linked to depression. Depressed patients taking Paxil reported much greater change in these traits, as assessed via scores on personality tests, than patients given placebo pills. The difference was notable even after accounting for the extent to which each treatment diminished standard measures of depression, says psychologist Tony Tang of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Patients who experienced especially pronounced personality change during four months of Paxil treatment displayed a particularly low depression relapse rate over the next year of treatment, Tang’s team reports in the December Archives of General Psychiatry.


www.usnews.com...


On the surface, this doesn't seem so profound, but when you understand the difference between 'personality' and a 'mood disorder' like 'depression,' the implications are huge....

So what do you all think, if drugs can be used and or developed to alter one's fundamental personality, is that bad? Who would decide which traits are good vs. bad? Is it possible to do so objectively and with a benevolent slant, as surely the opposite is true, if not likely?

More philosophically, would this have negative implications for society, in that some precise balance of individual traits would throw a social-psychological balance out of order?

We already try to isolate sociopaths (which is highly correlated with certain personality clusters such as impulsiveness and lack of empathy) in prison (except for the ones we revere in the media, politics, sports-world, corporate leadership, etc., etc. lol), so can we agree that it would be good to treat people with these traits?

As for psychotropic drugs in general, if we could ingest a substance that would make us more empathic and sociable, with a high level of positive emotionality, would you sign-up? Of course this substance would have to not be prone to causing tolerance if it were to be accepted by society.

Right now many people work for money, but what if we worked for a substance that made things feel great more directly? Maybe society would be happier and advance more quickly (spiritually, socially, technologically, etc.). I understand this sounds like we'd be slaves to this 'soma,' but aren't we already basically slaves that try to maintain an illusion of freedom from our consumerist cages?

I don't know, I see positives and negatives to the widespread use of personality modifiers. However, look at how many people already take legal drugs that change personality/mood/motivation, etc. Sometimes, I think the government/corporate leaders don't want people to feel too good/euphoric, or have too much insight, which are often listed as some of the 'dangerous' side-effects of illegal and legal substances.

I'm aware of how dangerous the chronic use of illegal drugs can be, however, I believe that if science was so focused, much better versions of these sought after chemicals could be developed. I'm imagining something like a combination of MDMA and opiates, that is not destructive to the body, nor physically addictive. How about if such a substance is eventually developed, rather than it being systematically dispensed, should such a substance at least be available for people to choose to take?

Just curious in what other members think about the article, and some of the other issues I was pondering during the 'blizzard of the century' here in Madison, WI.....


Best,
Skunknuts




posted on Dec, 8 2009 @ 11:04 PM
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I think that anti-depressants do obviously change mood and emotion, and therefore they change personality. I actually thought that this was common knowledge. Personality is a pretty vague concept, though.

This study just makes sense to me. If depression is a part of personality, changing the personality can reduce the remission of depression.

However, I do not believe antidepressants are the core solution to depression. No substance is the core solution. I've taken ADs for long periods of time, and in theory my personality would still be "altered" although I have stopped using them.

I stopped because of the moral implications for myself, as well as the side effects that I found noticeable. I don't like mood-altering substances to begin with, either.

Good luck with the snow!

Edit- Your avatar looks just like my kitty who we had to put down about two years ago...


[edit on 12/8/2009 by ravenshadow13]



posted on Dec, 8 2009 @ 11:52 PM
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reply to post by skunknuts
 


I really like this topic of discussion, although I don't typically think long, well-thought-out posts like this get many responses here on ATS.... sadly...




I think the government/corporate leaders don't want people to feel too good/euphoric, or have too much insight, which are often listed as some of the 'dangerous' side-effects of illegal and legal substances.

I totally agree with this one, 100%. It seems as soon as a natural or unnatural substance is found to induce euphoria or a happy state of mind, the government is quick to make it illegal.... While big pharma somehow 'deserves' the sole right to the substance... And make it so everyday people have no access to it.

This really upsets me a lot, as a user of a legal plant that induces happiness and mental stability, because the federal government agencies already have this plant on their watch-list and are systematically working on getting it banned in one state at a time...

It's obvious that celebrities and the wealthy have access to legal and illegal substances that the rest of us do not - Whether because of cost, or because of inability to influence doctors to 'prescribe' it to us.

Drugs and mood-changing substances absolutely have an influence on personality! I believe that natural depression and mental instabilities are biological, being that either our glands that produce happy hormones do not work correctly, or any other hormones or processes in the body are not working as they should.
On this same note, I also believe that mother NATURE herself provides every single thing that we could ever need to induce well-being and a happy life. Obviously the homeostasis of this world is self-containing and that is why the earth itself provides for its inhabitants.

So that said, I think it is terribly unnatural and detrimental to the human species that we allow others to keep these substances from us. Nature provides every single thing we need for a balances society and species as a whole.

Anti-depressants are probably dangerous since they are unnatural to the homeostasis of the human body. This goes for any man-made chemical.
This whole thing would not even be an issue, and we would be allowed to live happy lives as nature intended, if only we didn't allow powerful individuals to keep us from using what nature intended us to.

That was a big rant, sorry... I hope that made sense. Because of my natural problems, and substance used to keep 'normal', I have a really strong opinion on this. Government definitely, without a doubt, wants us as a species to be inherently unhappy.
Please, does anyone know why this is???? I cannot figure it out and it bothers me.



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 12:10 AM
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“We propose that modern antidepressants work partly by correcting the long-term personality risk factors for depression....”

www.usnews.com...


This sounds like the classic chicken or egg problem.

If people feel less depressed then they are likely to be more gregarious and to report such on a personality inventory.

So, did the test result reflect a personality change or the lifting of depression.

Personality inventories for all the good they do, are self-report instruments.

I think the results that the researchers report are real, but the questions in my mind are, Will this hold up in larger studies? and Will these drugs have the same effect on those who have the described personality traits, but who are not depressed?

Drugs affect people differently and often those who are not suffering from some pathology do not respond to a drug in the same way as those who are ill.



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 12:21 AM
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reply to post by GradyPhilpott
 


This is a good point. Without a control, there is no way of knowing whether the antidepressant is changing personality or restoring personality through the supression of depression.

-Dev



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 12:25 AM
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I think that by definition any psychtropic drug that effects the chemical balance of your brain does in some manner create a change in personality. I also think that studies like this are highly subject to intrepretations that are subject. There are serious chemical issues in peoples brains. Neuron receptors, Seratonin, Domamine and other drugs that are out of balance and can be corrected.

We can push the argument of whether or not these conditions should be corrected in the first case to another thread, but to that I would liken a inadequate Dopamine level to high insulin. If it falls outside of the normal range, fix it.

The problem with many of the manifestations of these disorders is that they present as both potentially a physiological issue AND a psychological disorder, and those are subject to rapid resolution, prior to any clear identification of what the actual cause of the symptoms was.

In cases where the chemicals are not within normal range, brief periods on medications can cause the brain to self correct and begin to produce the chemicals in the proper levels, negating the further need for the drugs.

Bottom line, IMO is that these are very complex matters and they are subject to both quantitative and qualitative studies which makes they very difficult to diagnose or make ascertations about.

I can tell you as someone who has had family experience in this area, that if someone is so depressed that they can't get out of bed and anti-depressants enable them to actually have a reasonable life, who cares if they altered their personality?



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 12:28 AM
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Originally posted by ravenshadow13
I think that anti-depressants do obviously change mood and emotion, and therefore they change personality. I actually thought that this was common knowledge. Personality is a pretty vague concept, though.


Actually anti-depressants are used to change hormone irregularities in the brain. I was diagnosed with depression a year ago and have been on anti-depressants ever since, and believe me they do work. I havent had any issues since starting them

Edit to add- My personality has not changed at all, if anything, its back to what I was like before I had depression

[edit on 9/12/2009 by OzWeatherman]



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 12:39 AM
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reply to post by OzWeatherman
 


The anti-depressants discussed in the article are SSRIs.

They affect the re-uptake of the neuro-transmiter, serotonin.



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 12:50 AM
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reply to post by GradyPhilpott
 


He was right that it was a hormone....and he was sort of right about the brain. Serotonin directly affects the Central Nervous System and the brain.

-Dev



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 12:59 AM
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Originally posted by OzWeatherman

Originally posted by ravenshadow13
I think that anti-depressants do obviously change mood and emotion, and therefore they change personality. I actually thought that this was common knowledge. Personality is a pretty vague concept, though.


Actually anti-depressants are used to change hormone irregularities in the brain. I was diagnosed with depression a year ago and have been on anti-depressants ever since, and believe me they do work. I havent had any issues since starting them

Edit to add- My personality has not changed at all, if anything, its back to what I was like before I had depression

[edit on 9/12/2009 by OzWeatherman]


Well, isn't that all we are, a bunch of chemicals and the like, a biological machine. At what point do chemicals become personality? I'm, of course, being tongue in cheek, but this whole issue often makes me seriously doubt the whole concept of free will. I mean we are a combination of genes and environment, both of which, we do not have any control over, really. Sometimes I think life is like a super-complex cascade of falling dominoes. It seems so complex to our brains that it feels like we are making choices, but that might just be a limitation of our lack of intellect.



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 01:04 AM
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reply to post by skunknuts
 


I see what you're getting at but the simple act of consuming foods that spike insulin, a hormone, can cause mood changes; if this becomes a chronic situation, mood changes can become personality changes.


All caused by diet.

-Dev



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 01:10 AM
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Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
reply to post by OzWeatherman
 


The anti-depressants discussed in the article are SSRIs.

They affect the re-uptake of the neuro-transmiter, serotonin.


And there are many types of receptors and sub-types of receptors. Also, the brain level of serotonin goes up almost immediately upon administration of anti-depressants, but symptoms usually don't improve for over a month. This is theorized to be because it isn't the level of 5-HTP that matters, but how many receptors one has, as well as how they react upon bonding with the serotonin....In fact, beyond the cartoon depictions in the ads for the masses, there is no strong proof that the brain level of serotonin is causally related to depression

It's so complex. Psychiatrists, as a whole, like to think they know what they are doing, but the science, right now, is still SO crude. Did you know that in France, one of their best selling antidepressants is a serotonin ANTAGONIST (inhibitor)?

It reminds me of old school TVs, when the picture was getting fuzzy, you could just whack them real hard, and the picture would get clear. Who knows why, but some connection, or something was jarred back into place. That's what these serotenergic modifying drugs seem to do--just whack the serotonin system in the brain, which, sometimes, 'makes the picture clearer.' However, we are far from understanding the exact nature of what we are doing, and while amazing, the whole field is still just emerging from the stone-age.

Best,
Skunknuts



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 01:15 AM
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Originally posted by DevolutionEvolvd
reply to post by skunknuts
 


I see what you're getting at but the simple act of consuming foods that spike insulin, a hormone, can cause mood changes; if this becomes a chronic situation, mood changes can become personality changes.


All caused by diet.

-Dev


For sure, I see what you are saying, and think there is a lot of value in that mindset. However, 'personality' usually means one's long-standing set of traits/ style of interacting with the world, if you will. Something more stable. Insulin spikes will cause an immediate change, less indicative of a personality change. However, as often happens, it becomes the chicken/ egg dilemma again. What makes us choose a certain diet, that in turn affects mood, that can, over the long haul, change personality, which can affect diet/relationships/and on and on.....

Best,
Skunknuts



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 01:28 AM
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I'm going to take a wild guess here that many of us posting on ATS are, in fact, taking prescribed antidepressants. Only half joking.

I'll admit that I was "diagnosed" as depressed back in 2000 — I enclosed diagnosed in quotation marks because, frankly, I don't believe I was or am depressed. It kind of goes without saying that when you visit a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist, you are going to be "diagnosed" with SOMETHING.

In my case, I had some anger issues (not violent anger, just grouchy, grumpy, discontented anger), and I agreed to visit a psychotherapist in order to allay my wife's concern. After a few sessions, the psychotherapist concluded her assessment and referred me to a psychiatrist who promptly put me on Celexa.

After six weeks on this stuff, I finally noticed a profound change in my personality — I had lost all fear. I was no longer angry, but I had also become fearless! This was an astounding development, I thought, and I kind of enjoyed it.

Five years later, I noticed that my anger was gradually returning, and I mentioned this to my psychiatrist.

He nonchalantly changed my script to Effexor — which was a dramatic change, as it turned out. My energy level abruptly went through the roof, and I started building things. Big things. I single-handedly built a brick & mortar island garden in our backyard, 15 feet in diameter, 4 feet tall. This construction was followed by a brick & mortar barbecue pit. I started making modifications to our SUV, as well.

And that was in the first month on Effexor.

I was physically exhausted, but my energy level wouldn't abate. I went back to my psychiatrist and he scripted Cymbalta.

Cymbalta seemingly has no effect on me. I took it for a couple of years, then gradually, gradually tapered off of the stuff. I also stopped seeing my psychiatrist, who was nothing so much as a doctor of internal medicine, dispensing prescriptions on demand.

I have to say now that I have never felt better since I went off of those psychoactive drugs. I feel normal for the first time in almost 10 years.

I understand that today's antidepressants are far more refined than the custom-made sledgehammers of the 60s and 70s. Back then, you took antidepressants and they hammered your ass and put you down for hours or days, like horse tranquilizers.

By comparison, today's seratonin reuptake inhibitors affect your brain chemistry in a very subtle, very sophisticated way. The difference between psychoactive drugs of yesteryear and today is the difference between butchery and very precise surgery.

One thing I've come to understand about these new drugs is that they trigger very precise personality changes.

We all have multiple personalities. It's what makes us such supreme survivors. You have a specific personality for dealing with your pets, for example. You have a specific personality for dealing with your mother-in-law. You have specific personalities for dealing with policemen, and cashiers, and doctors, and people who jump out of the shadows at you. You have specific personalities for sex, for fighting, for appreciating nature, for love, for hate, et cetera.

You have a specific personality for dealing with almost every situation in your life, and we create new personalities as we experience new situations. We have thousands of personalities, and I think we have a capacity for an endless procession of personalities, like a voluminous record collection.

What the new antidepressants do is very subtly bring those other personalities to the fore and let you experience a different perspective. Problem is, you gotta keep taking the drugs to sustain the perspective.

And that sucks.


— Doc Velocity







[edit on 12/9/2009 by Doc Velocity]



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 01:33 AM
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reply to post by skunknuts
 


Good post. S & F.

I've been in treatment for anxiety and depression since I was 8, and that was about 30 years ago. I tried therapy off and on for years, and only ever achieved temporary progress, although I believe that it offers palliative relief in harder times. I've spent years wondering about exactly your question - how much of my depression and anxiety comes from social incongruity?

After so many years, it becomes a 'chicken and egg' game, and eventually, you just want relief from the pain. You want your sympathetic nervous system to have an off switch, and you want your nervous ticks to go away. You want to stop feeling singled out by your awkwardness, or at the very least, blunt the punishment for deviation from the norm.

Medications have been a mixed bag for me. They've seen me through some pretty rough times. I started them again recently, and they do a fine job of shutting up the self destructive skull chatter, like the persistent suggestion that I'd be better off just checking out altogether...

I worry about concepts of my 'real' personality, or ontological authenticity, but in truth, I of necessity must reject that my historical baseline, or my mean, is my norm. In other words, I wonder what I might be like if I didn't have the constant social friction, the resulting anxiety, and the eventual depression that comes from it.

Or is it that my system is just hyper to begin with, and some people are simply born 'spazzy'or 'spacey' ? We don't really know enough about about our own chemistry, or the laws of behavior, to be certain.

Maybe things could have been different if I had been born in a different time or place, but I wasn't, and at the end of the day, I have to be practical. The s---t that's rotting my brain is also keeping me alive.

[edit on 9-12-2009 by TrueTruth]

[edit on 9-12-2009 by TrueTruth]



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 01:40 AM
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Antidepressants are nasty stuff.

When the stress of life becomes unbearable, rather than change our society, we use drugs to change ourselves so we can put up with it.

If it's called "stress", people look for the reasons. If it's called "depression", it's conveniently no one's fault.

TPTB are on a huge winner with antidepressants. The more their society stresses us, the more poisons they can put in us, and the more money they make. Anyone who thinks they made antidepressants to "help up" probably needs to give them up.

My wife was on them last year, and it almost split us up. You could have hit her in the face with a baseball bat and she would have still thought everything was ok. Mid conversation she would suddenly start talking about another subject altogether. She heard what I was saying to her, but never listened. It was hell getting her off the stuff, but now she's back to normal.

The stuff is designed to make you "lose it" if you stop taking it. Then they say "it's because you stopped taking your medication". Ironically, they're dead right...

The people who produce and sell this stuff should be hung...

[edit on 9/12/09 by NuclearPaul]



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 02:24 AM
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Originally posted by TrueTruth
Or is it that my system is just hyper to begin with, and some people are simply born 'spazzy'or 'spacey' ? We don't really know enough about about our own chemistry, or the laws of behavior, to be certain.

This is what I think, after a long and grueling tour of my own mind over several decades: We come into this world essentially empty, our brains are uninitialized hard drives, mass storage devices combined with the most amazing central processing unit and about 7 million years of firmware, just chomping at the bit to start processing external stimuli and an endless stream of data.

Our incomparable human computers are capable of anything, anything... However, our first few years of life are not within our control, and somebody else controls and filters and manipulates all the data we process.

There you go. Whoever is feeding your CPU from the very beginning, that person (or that institution, or that society) is going to shape (or distort) the way your magnificent mind functions.

It's no use assigning blame to those who raised us and abused us. That's a waste of time and energy, it's a non-starter. The most important thing we can do, once we realize that our minds are infinitely flexible and adaptable, is to take control of our own processes. Redesign the way we think, if we wish, wipe away the damage and false programming of the past.

I know this is possible. I know it's possible to erase a shîtty childhood, to take a vault full of painful memories and disassemble them block-by-block and reassemble them into different configuration — like tearing down a wall and using the blocks to build a bridge, right. Take a mental obstacle and turn it into a pathway of understanding.

The human mind can do this. It's an awesome force. We just have to take control of it and use it to its awesome full potential.

— Doc Velocity



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 02:35 AM
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Originally posted by NuclearPaul
When the stress of life becomes unbearable, rather than change our society, we use drugs to change ourselves so we can put up with it.


So you're pretty much saying that I didnt have depression?



My wife was on them last year, and it almost split us up. You could have hit her in the face with a baseball bat and she would have still thought everything was ok. Mid conversation she would suddenly start talking about another subject altogether. She heard what I was saying to her, but never listened. It was hell getting her off the stuff, but now she's back to normal.


I dont know what your wife was on, but if it hadnt been for my anti-depressant medication and my psychiatrist, i wouldve ended up ruining my relationship. Im glad I finally got help, and I dont care what anyone thinks, because for me its worked fanastic. Im back to normal, my relationship is better than ever and I can actually think clearly.



The stuff is designed to make you "lose it" if you stop taking it. Then they say "it's because you stopped taking your medication". Ironically, they're dead right...


No its not, Ive seen friends come off it completely fine, and Im due to slowly come off it soon too.



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 02:38 AM
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reply to post by Doc Velocity
 


Thanks for the reply. I think there's a degree of truth in what you're saying, but also that there are limits to that kind of neurological plasticity, and definitely stuff that we are born with. For example, what could be more instinctual than when we snap into 'fight or flight' mode in response to a physical threat?

We know a few things about how that mechanism works...just as there is variability in things like height and muscle mass, why not variability in subtler mechanisms employed in our survival? What if my progenitors survived by their heightened sensitivity?

If breeds of dogs can have temperaments, why not human beings? Environment has undeniable power, but nothing that is shaped is wholly without form - the limits to a medium of expression give it form. My past experience teaching autistic children taught me to appreciate both the power of biology, and the possibilities of behavioral modification.

I admire your optimism, but I don't believe in the unlimited ability of the brain to reorganize itself. It is demonstrably true that rewiring does happen with learning and whatnot, but 'consciousness' is slave to biology in much the same manner as is a sculptor to stone, or a musician to his instrument.



[edit on 9-12-2009 by TrueTruth]



posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 02:39 AM
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Originally posted by ravenshadow13
I think that anti-depressants do obviously change mood and emotion, and therefore they change personality. I actually thought that this was common knowledge. Personality is a pretty vague concept, though.

This study just makes sense to me. If depression is a part of personality, changing the personality can reduce the remission of depression.

However, I do not believe antidepressants are the core solution to depression. No substance is the core solution. I've taken ADs for long periods of time, and in theory my personality would still be "altered" although I have stopped using them.

I stopped because of the moral implications for myself, as well as the side effects that I found noticeable. I don't like mood-altering substances to begin with, either.

Good luck with the snow!

Edit- Your avatar looks just like my kitty who we had to put down about two years ago...


[edit on 12/8/2009 by ravenshadow13]


Hey Raven,

Too bad about your kitty
The avatar kitty (greisbois) was a stray, but after a month or more, earned her trust w/ bowls of food and waiting outside for her at night to stop by. Brought her in one night, and was about to let her back out, but I saw a coyote running down the road! I live on the cusp of the UW-Madison arboretum. I decided at that point, even though she was one tough and smart kitty, and a zoo already inhabits my house, that she wasn't going back out there. She has become a great indoor kitty, and gets along w/ everyone else. She is so smart, and a great judge of things from having been on her own. I totally can tell that her brain has developed differently from my cats that never had to fend for themselves, which is, at least tangentially, relevant to the topic of chemicals and brain development, lol. Based on how she has grown, although still petite, I think she couldn't have been older that 6 mos. Do you see that her head is in my GSD's mouth! Anyway, thought you might like to hear the kitty's story, much more wholesome than discussing psychotropics and their ramifications, lol....Anyway, have a good night.


Best,
Skunknuts



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