Neuroethics 8 (2):127-137 (2015)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors’ wide use, combined with the blurry limit between health and psychological illness, have led neuroscientists, clinicians and ethicists to envision the possibility of these medications’ use in non-clinical populations. This prospect has evoked ethical debates, which have often ignored the findings of the empirical literature. In this context, an evaluation of the empirical evidence for SSRIs’ personality enhancing effects is needed. The present paper examines SSRIs’ effects on healthy personality, including the Five Factor Model traits Neuroticism and Extraversion, as well as some of their facets: Angry Hostility, Impulsiveness, Vulnerability, Warmth, Gregariousness and Assertiveness. The review encompasses investigations in healthy humans, human clinical populations, as well as relevant animal studies. Emerging data raise the possibility that SSRIs, when used by people without a currently diagnosable mental disorder, may reduce some facets of Neuroticism, especially Angry Hostility. On the other hand, very limited support exists for an SSRI-driven change in other Neuroticism facets, such as Impulsiveness, in healthy humans. An increase in Extraversion is possible, but currently available evidence is only indirect. Future research is needed, both to clarify methodological ambiguities in existing studies, and to answer unaddressed questions, such as ones of the stability, predictors, moderators, dose- and context-dependency of the effects
Keywords Antidepressant  SSRI  Personality  Neuroticism  Aggression  Hostility
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DOI 10.1007/s12152-014-9226-z
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Listening to Prozac.Peter D. Kramer - 1994 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 37 (3):460.
Enhancement Technologies and Human Identity.David Degrazia - 2005 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (3):261 – 283.

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