Extra Benefit

Antidepressants Have Big Effects

According to a new study, antidepressant drugs may have a bigger effect than intended on personality, causing a drop in neuroticism and a rise in extroversion, apart from their effects on the symptoms of depression. “Medication can definitely change people's personalities, and change them quite substantially," said the doctor behind the study, Tony Tang. The study focused on Paxil, but Zoloft and Prozac are thought to have similar effects on patients. Research has also found that the bigger the shift in these traits, the less likely a patient is to relapse. “Getting better very solidly seems to predict a longer period before the next episode. That argues against the notion that these medications are just band-aids [that] get people through," said one psychology professor. The recent study, however, is only the tip of the iceberg for research into antidepressants: "The theory of how these medications work is actually still a mystery," said Tang.