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Original Research

Personality Changes in Adult Subjects With Major Depressive Disorder or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Treated With Paroxetine

Arthur L. Brody, Sanjaya Saxena, Lynn A. Fairbanks, Shervin Alborzian, Heath A. Demaree, Karron M. Maidment, and Lewis R. Baxter, Jr.

Published: October 31, 2000

Article Abstract

Background: Human and animal studies point to 3 dimensions of personality that change during pharmacotherapy with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Specifically, harm avoidance has been found to decrease, social dominance has been found to increase, and hostility in social situations has been found to decrease with SSRI treatment. We sought to determine personality changes in subjects with either major depressive disorder (MDD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) treated with paroxetine. We also sought to determine whether or not these personality changes were associated with disease state (MDD vs. OCD) or treatment response (responders vs. nonresponders).

Method: Thirty-seven subjects diagnosed with either MDD or OCD (according to DSM-IV criteria) completed the Cattell 16 Personality Factor Inventory (16-PF) before and after treatment with paroxetine. Treatment response was defined as a Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement rating of”much” or “very much” improved and a drop in Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score of at least 50% for MDD or Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale score of at least 30% for OCD.

Results: No significant differences were found between subjects with MDD and OCD in personality change with treatment. In the whole group, treatment responders had a greater decrease than nonresponders in 16-PF factors relating to harm avoidance. An increase in social dominance factors and a decrease in factors relating to hostility in social situations were found, but these changes were not significantly different between responders and nonresponders.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that certain personality dimensions change with SSRI treatment and that some of these changes are independent of clinical treatment response.

Volume: 61

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