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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2018 Jun 19. doi: 10.1111/acps.12904. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of psilocybin therapy on personality structure.

Author information

1
Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology, Division of Brain Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK.
2
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
3
The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Kings College London, London, UK.
4
Sherman, CT, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To explore whether psilocybin with psychological support modulates personality parameters in patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression (TRD).

METHOD:

Twenty patients with moderate or severe, unipolar, TRD received oral psilocybin (10 and 25 mg, one week apart) in a supportive setting. Personality was assessed at baseline and at 3-month follow-up using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R), the subjective psilocybin experience with Altered State of Consciousness (ASC) scale, and depressive symptoms with QIDS-SR16.

RESULTS:

Neuroticism scores significantly decreased while Extraversion increased following psilocybin therapy. These changes were in the direction of the normative NEO-PI-R data and were both predicted, in an exploratory analysis, by the degree of insightfulness experienced during the psilocybin session. Openness scores also significantly increased following psilocybin, whereas Conscientiousness showed trend-level increases, and Agreeableness did not change.

CONCLUSION:

Our observation of changes in personality measures after psilocybin therapy was mostly consistent with reports of personality change in relation to conventional antidepressant treatment, although the pronounced increases in Extraversion and Openness might constitute an effect more specific to psychedelic therapy. This needs further exploration in future controlled studies, as do the brain mechanisms of postpsychedelic personality change.

KEYWORDS:

NEO-PI-R; Openness; depression; personality; psilocybin; psychedelic

PMID:
29923178
DOI:
10.1111/acps.12904

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