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Can a Change in Neuroticism Improve Depression? Part 1

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Depression, when severe, can present with a variety other symptoms like paranoia, anxiety and sometimes delusions. Sometimes it is the individual personality that is often very prone to these symptoms. Now a study using the drug Paroxetine suggests that by controlling personality features or neuroticism, the symptoms of depression can be better controlled.

Says Tony Tang a psychology professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., "Our data suggests that modern antidepressants work partly by correcting key personality risk factors of depression." Tang and his colleagues observed that individuals who tend to be neurotic, experience not only more negative emotions but tend to be very emotionally labile, and experience wild mood swings frequently.

"It's the basic tendency toward having negative emotions," Tang further added. In their analysis it was observed that people who tend to be highly neurotic were also at a higher risk of developing depression. Further these researchers observed that extroverted individuals who tend to be outgoing and more sociable were less likely to develop depression.

It has been known for years that personality traits are affected by certain brain chemicals and that is why this study was undertaken. Perhaps instead of targeting the symptoms, the researcher could target the personality.

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