This open-label study (n=20) found that dosages of psilocybin (10, 25mg) in a supportive setting, for those with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), changed their personality. At 3-month follow-up, Neuroticism was decreased, Extraversion and Openness were increased. The changes were similar (but more pronounced) to changes after conventional antidepressant treatment.
“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.”
Authors: David Erritzoe, Leor Roseman, Matthew M. Nour, Katherine MacLean, Mendel Kaelen, David J. Nutt & Robin L. Carhart-Harris
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Effects of psilocybin therapy on personality structure
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Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
June 19, 2018
Depression Personality Treatment-Resistant Depression
Open-Label Follow-up Re-analysis
Authors associated with this publication with profiles on BlossomDavid Erritzoe
David Erritzoe is the clinical director of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London. His work focuses on brain imaging (PET/(f)MRI).
Leor Roseman is a researcher at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College London. His work focussed on psilocybin for depression, but is now related to peace-building through psychedelics.
Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris is the Founding Director of the Neuroscape Psychedelics Division at UCSF. Previously he led the Psychedelic group at Imperial College London.
David John Nutt is a great advocate for looking at drugs and their harm objectively and scientifically. This got him dismissed as ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) chairman.
Institutes associated with this publicationImperial College London
The Centre for Psychedelic Research studies the action (in the brain) and clinical use of psychedelics, with a focus on depression.
The psychedelics given at which dose and how many timesPsilocybin 10 - 25
mg | 2x
Linked Research Papers
Notable research papers that build on or are influenced by this paperPsilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: six-month follow-up
This open-label study (n=20) expands on earlier work by Carhart-Harris and colleagues on the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment-resistant depression (TRD).
Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study
This is the first modern study (n=12) on psilocybin and its effects on treatment-resistant depression. It shows that two sessions with psilocybin (10mg and 25mg) in combination with psychological support can reduce depressive symptoms over periods of one week to three months after treatment. Psilocybin was well tolerated by all of the patients, and no serious or unexpected adverse events occurred.