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Antidepressants make you more extroverted?

Mary

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http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2009/12/08/antidepressant-found-to-alter-personality.html

Meh.
I like being introverted. (I am on antidepressants, for those of you who wish to know. I do feel more of a desire to be around people, although it's not really welcomed.)

This is like what someone, maybe Ashitaria (sp?) was saying - do only the introspecting become depressed because we look within and see the problems we have? And that extroverts are just ignoring the problems they have?

If someone has already posted this, I apologize. This just bothers me. :-/
 

systembust

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http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2009/12/08/antidepressant-found-to-alter-personality.html

Meh.
I like being introverted. (I am on antidepressants, for those of you who wish to know. I do feel more of a desire to be around people, although it's not really welcomed.)

This is like what someone, maybe Ashitaria (sp?) was saying - do only the introspecting become depressed because we look within and see the problems we have? And that extroverts are just ignoring the problems they have?

If someone has already posted this, I apologize. This just bothers me. :-/

I've been trying to think of a succinct way to phrase my views here.

I do think that, yes, extroverts are less prone to depression simply b/c they spend less time in their own heads. In contrast, as introverts we can sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with our own inner narratives, rather than simply enjoying the experiences in themselves.

However I don't think that looking within is a problem at all; I think the problem surfaces when we allow ourselves to be ruled by these narratives... rather than taking responsibility for our own thoughts, and choosing self-supportive modes of thinking rather than self-defeating ones. The important principle here is realizing that it's not life experiences per se that cause depression (or any other feeling), but one's own internalizations, one's own images and beliefs concerning their experiences.

I have used Paxil as an aid as well, usually when I'm starting a new job, taking classes, or anything else that's going to require a good deal of socialization regularly. My experience is that it quiets those voices and allows me to become more immersed with whatever is going on in my immediate surroundings, rather than my thoughts being on loudspeaker 24/7. Personally I find moderate doses of Paxil & daily meditation to be a powerful combination in keeping me on track. Whatever works. The main point I'm trying to make is that being able to look deeply within is much more of a blessing than a problem, as long as we are watchful of the kinds of thoughts we choose to entertain.

Hope this had something to do with your question :)
 

shoeless

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i think introverts and extraverts just get depressed for different reasons.

introversion is more focused on the self -- therefore, when one is excessively negative towards the self, or is constantly finding problems with the self, they will become depressed.

extraversion is focused on the outside -- therefore, when one is excessively negative towards the outside, or is constantly finding problems with the outside, they will become depressed.

that's the simplest way i can think to explain it. i think introverts might have a tendency to become more existentially depressed, or self-defeatingly depressed, whereas an extravert might be more experientially depressed, or hopeless-about-the-state-of-the-world depressed.

(of course it's more complicated than that, but that's the basic dichotomy as i see it.)

...which is only barely related to the thread. as far as antidepressants goes, i've never been on them, so i don't know, but what systembust says makes sense. it's not saying there's anything wrong with introversion -- it's trying to quiet negative introversion, which ends up manifesting as extraversion.
 

systembust

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i think introverts and extraverts just get depressed for different reasons.

introversion is more focused on the self -- therefore, when one is excessively negative towards the self, or is constantly finding problems with the self, they will become depressed.

extraversion is focused on the outside -- therefore, when one is excessively negative towards the outside, or is constantly finding problems with the outside, they will become depressed.

that's the simplest way i can think to explain it.


I think you're absolutely right. Extroverts' moods (of course, speaking generally) seem to rise and fall with the tides of external events. Introverts' moods, on the other hand, tend to rise and fall with the tides of our own internal processes. It seems a matter of where we focus our energy.
 

Mary

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I don't feel more extroverted on anti-depressants (Zoloft, which is an SSRI). May I ask, Mary, which anti-depressants you were on?
Prozac atm. It does make me feel more extroverted, but not in a way that I like. I used to be extremely introverted (I got as 95% on the test the school gave us for that) but now I'm only semi-introverted (75%) Now I don't want to be around people, but when I am, I get energy from being around them. (Or maybe I'm just not drained as much, I dunno) It confuses me.
 

snowqueen

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I wrote this little rant on Personality Cafe but I'm going to post it here too. You can substitute 'therapy' below for 'antidepressants' it'll read the same I expect. (the INTJ reference was to the OP there)


What I notice is that there is a huge increase in teens feeling really unhappy with themselves and feeling angry, confused, lonely, etc. I think it's a social problem more than anything.

The ideas of what a human is and in particular our inner world might be are not fixed. Humans are subject to whatever social, historical and cultural ideas they are growing up into. That means that at a really profound level we are not quite as separate/individual/boundaried as we think. We have absorbed the definitions which we are presented with every day and we think they are real.

Currently in the UK and I suspect most of the Western world, humans are being defined by two really powerful forces - psychology and consumerism.

Psychology is invested in making you believe that your problems are to do with your 'damaged' or 'distorted' or 'unhealthy' or 'dangerous' emotions, thoughts, impulses, feelings etc. So these phenomena have to be defined as an 'object' so they can be made a problem to be solved. This means that you begin to relate to these phenomena as 'my' feelings 'my' emotions. Great if they're pleasant, but what happens when they're horrible? This individualised view of the human condemns you to being trapped inside yourself, always having to deal with, tame and control your inner world. Guess what? IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!!! So you're given the message that you have to engage in 'self-policing' so when you can't do that you blame and punish yourself. See through the lie.

So what to do instead? If you are an INTJ really then you should be able to do this exercise. For one month what you need to do is an experiment. Instead of identifying with your feelings and thoughts (especially those scary images) and thinking they are 'you', step back and simply notice them as phenomena which come into your consciousness. The only thing that can be regarded as 'you' is your awareness - that is within your control. Where you place your attention. So when thoughts and emotions arise, just notice them - sometimes labelling them can help, e.g. 'scary image', 'self-loathing thought', and then the really powerful bit, just let them go. Treat them like you would any other passing phenomena and you will see through them - they are just weird things that your brain produces! I can't stress this enough - commit to doing this for a month and really have a go.

The second tyrant which is tormenting teens is consumerism - you are being brainwashed all the time into keeping capitalism going. Now I'm not saying this from some political ideological position - I like being able to buy things just as much as anyone else, but you need to be aware of just how saturated your world is with messages from the media about what you should buy and you have never lived in the world without these forces - think about it - when I was at primary school TV was first available and only a few homes had one!!! You need to wake up to this because the way the media gets you to buy things is by shaping your idea of who you are and who you should be. And this is also about having to be a totally unique and special individual. Just watch MTV and similar programmes - Miami Ink etc. see through the format - it's all designed to make you feel that you are not quite good enough unless you have x.y.z. or unless you think like a.b.c. etc. and all bases are covered - the girly girls, the sexy girls, the boho girls, the cool hippy chick - whatever. Unless you can show you are special you are nothing. What a horrible thing to do to our children - turning them into pawns for the economy.

And finally the greatest tool in keeping our youth brainwashed - therapy. That's the answer to everything now. So - you are brainwashed into thinking your emotions and thoughts are things you can and have to control - so when you can't you need an expert to help you. Nice little earner as they say. Not to say that therapy doesn't work or that it doesn't have a place but it is being used by society to control people nowadays - every normal experience is pathologised! Grief at breaking up with a boyfriend, confusion about identity (totally normal for teens), upset over friendship difficulties, difficulty with concentrating on schoolwork (why do you need to learn quadratic equations ffs) etc etc Anger ( you have every right to be angry - the adults have messed up the economy, the environment, your future) This is no better than communist Russia sending dissidents into mental hospitals.

I suggest every teen on this board who sympathises with the OP get down to the library and read Brave New World. You are the barbarians - you are the sane ones. This is YOUR world just as much as the adults - decide the kind of adults you want to be, get better role models than the sub-pornographic females and self-absorbed males presented to you through the TV. Listen to Patti Smith! The Clash!
 

snowqueen

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Oh and I loved this comment left under the article mentioned in the OP here

A Different View

http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/What_is_Gifted/learned.htm
"About 60% of gifted children are introverted compared with 30% of the general population. Approximately 75% of highly gifted children are introverted."
They do not need to be drugged to deal with harassment from extraverts in the population.
Instead, extraverts should be sent for "sensitivity" training. Let them get "treatment" for being insensitive to the more insightful and cerebral.
Introverts need not beat themselves up at all (which is probably part of what may be causing the downers in some cases).
You're probably special, not in need of drugging.
Yeah - send the extraverts for 'sensitivity' training!!

 

systembust

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Prozac atm. It does make me feel more extroverted, but not in a way that I like. I used to be extremely introverted (I got as 95% on the test the school gave us for that) but now I'm only semi-introverted (75%) Now I don't want to be around people, but when I am, I get energy from being around them. (Or maybe I'm just not drained as much, I dunno) It confuses me.

My fault, I saw where the link was discussing Paxil so I assumed that was what you were taking as well..
 

Mary

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My fault, I saw where the link was discussing Paxil so I assumed that was what you were taking as well..
No problem. :p
I think they were discussing SSRIs in general though, so the assumption really made no difference.
 

Mary

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Oh and I loved this comment left under the article mentioned in the OP here



Yeah - send the extraverts for 'sensitivity' training!!

Hehehehe.. They do need it. My mum often asked me why I wasn't having more 'friends' over. My teacher in 3rd grade mock my quietness. (He was an obnoxious prat who was inept at teaching. He told me I would never be a good writer because I wasn't 'dedicated' enough or something. He forced me to participate in his retarded rituals of kickball and classroom sing-along.) Blech.


Speaking of that gifted article, I've read that it before, and it made me irritated that the area I live in has such horrid programs for gifted students. I tell them I'm bored, and they just say "OH WELL YOU SHOULD BE DOING BETTER IN CLASSES THEN KTHNX NO ADVANCEMENT FOR YOU." I had to get a waiver for two of my classes so I could stay in my high level. Stupid school.. "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain.

My favorite quote at the moment.
 

Mary

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I wrote this little rant on Personality Cafe but I'm going to post it here too. You can substitute 'therapy' below for 'antidepressants' it'll read the same I expect. (the INTJ reference was to the OP there)


What I notice is that there is a huge increase in teens feeling really unhappy with themselves and feeling angry, confused, lonely, etc. I think it's a social problem more than anything.

The ideas of what a human is and in particular our inner world might be are not fixed. Humans are subject to whatever social, historical and cultural ideas they are growing up into. That means that at a really profound level we are not quite as separate/individual/boundaried as we think. We have absorbed the definitions which we are presented with every day and we think they are real.

Currently in the UK and I suspect most of the Western world, humans are being defined by two really powerful forces - psychology and consumerism.

Psychology is invested in making you believe that your problems are to do with your 'damaged' or 'distorted' or 'unhealthy' or 'dangerous' emotions, thoughts, impulses, feelings etc. So these phenomena have to be defined as an 'object' so they can be made a problem to be solved. This means that you begin to relate to these phenomena as 'my' feelings 'my' emotions. Great if they're pleasant, but what happens when they're horrible? This individualised view of the human condemns you to being trapped inside yourself, always having to deal with, tame and control your inner world. Guess what? IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!!! So you're given the message that you have to engage in 'self-policing' so when you can't do that you blame and punish yourself. See through the lie.

So what to do instead? If you are an INTJ really then you should be able to do this exercise. For one month what you need to do is an experiment. Instead of identifying with your feelings and thoughts (especially those scary images) and thinking they are 'you', step back and simply notice them as phenomena which come into your consciousness. The only thing that can be regarded as 'you' is your awareness - that is within your control. Where you place your attention. So when thoughts and emotions arise, just notice them - sometimes labelling them can help, e.g. 'scary image', 'self-loathing thought', and then the really powerful bit, just let them go. Treat them like you would any other passing phenomena and you will see through them - they are just weird things that your brain produces! I can't stress this enough - commit to doing this for a month and really have a go.

The second tyrant which is tormenting teens is consumerism - you are being brainwashed all the time into keeping capitalism going. Now I'm not saying this from some political ideological position - I like being able to buy things just as much as anyone else, but you need to be aware of just how saturated your world is with messages from the media about what you should buy and you have never lived in the world without these forces - think about it - when I was at primary school TV was first available and only a few homes had one!!! You need to wake up to this because the way the media gets you to buy things is by shaping your idea of who you are and who you should be. And this is also about having to be a totally unique and special individual. Just watch MTV and similar programmes - Miami Ink etc. see through the format - it's all designed to make you feel that you are not quite good enough unless you have x.y.z. or unless you think like a.b.c. etc. and all bases are covered - the girly girls, the sexy girls, the boho girls, the cool hippy chick - whatever. Unless you can show you are special you are nothing. What a horrible thing to do to our children - turning them into pawns for the economy.

And finally the greatest tool in keeping our youth brainwashed - therapy. That's the answer to everything now. So - you are brainwashed into thinking your emotions and thoughts are things you can and have to control - so when you can't you need an expert to help you. Nice little earner as they say. Not to say that therapy doesn't work or that it doesn't have a place but it is being used by society to control people nowadays - every normal experience is pathologised! Grief at breaking up with a boyfriend, confusion about identity (totally normal for teens), upset over friendship difficulties, difficulty with concentrating on schoolwork (why do you need to learn quadratic equations ffs) etc etc Anger ( you have every right to be angry - the adults have messed up the economy, the environment, your future) This is no better than communist Russia sending dissidents into mental hospitals.

I suggest every teen on this board who sympathises with the OP get down to the library and read Brave New World. You are the barbarians - you are the sane ones. This is YOUR world just as much as the adults - decide the kind of adults you want to be, get better role models than the sub-pornographic females and self-absorbed males presented to you through the TV. Listen to Patti Smith! The Clash!
I didn't see this post before; thanks. It's very interesting. :)
 

aracaris

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I've been trying to think of a succinct way to phrase my views here.

I do think that, yes, extroverts are less prone to depression simply b/c they spend less time in their own heads. In contrast, as introverts we can sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with our own inner narratives, rather than simply enjoying the experiences in themselves.
However I've known some extremely depressed extroverts.
One person in particular comes to mind, he's what some would call "a psychic vampire" (but just attention leech works fine too) that was definitely one of the most needy people I've met.

He wanted pretty much constant attention (and became well known for how desperate he was for attention), but was willing to give pretty much nothing in return (thus why he had no real friends as far as I could tell). He would just demand more and more and complain and try to guilt trip people when they didn't give enough.

He had some of the worst social skills too. Such a sad sad example of an extrovert, and clearly very depressed.

I finally gave him a long rant and advice, but somehow I don't think the message got through.

I'm not convinced introverts tend to be more depressed than extroverts, I think it more depends on if the individual is at getting the right amount of socialization, and the right amount of alone time for them, and of course other factors such as chemical imbalances.

I know I can become a very frustrated individual if I can't get my alone time, and when I'm depressed it's usually easier to get over if I have time to myself than if I'm surrounded by people. I do need some time around others, just less than most.
 

Jennywocky

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I have issues with the study as described in the article.

ADs do not impact neuroticism or depression directly, they impact chemical processes in the brain that then impact whether a person can be categorized as falling into one of these categories created by human beings. Neuroticism and depression (and introversion/extroversion) are complex behaviors that cannot be reduced to a specific chemical process in the brain... so why did Paxil have the desired impact on the patients in the study? What exactly did it impact that affected one's extroversion scores?

Next, how is extroversion defined? Does the shift comprise an actual change in the person's personality? I underwent a lot of changes in my life that cured me of depression, and those changes definitely impacted my extroversion factor. Other people now saw me as far more extroverted and outgoing and interactive... yet it never changed my MBTI type. It's just that under the throes of depression, I had trouble coming out of my room even if I badly wanted to, and now I was capable of it and enjoying it (!)... but it did not change my MBTI type. I am now just engaging in the way I wanted to -- and in typical MBTI introvert fashion, despite my enjoyment, it still depletes my batteries and soon enough I have to hide by myself and recover.

So it is really changing type? The Big Five and the MBTI are not the same thing, even if they use some of the same terms. The Big Five is far more behavior-based (outside->in, if that), the MBTI is cognitive-function (internally) based. People are claiming their extroversion is increasing because they EXTROVERT more... whereas that is rather inconsequential to the MBTI, which determines E/I by what charges your batteries.
 

systembust

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However I've known some extremely depressed extroverts.
One person in particular comes to mind, he's what some would call "a psychic vampire" (but just attention leech works fine too) that was definitely one of the most needy people I've met.

I'm not convinced introverts tend to be more depressed than extroverts, I think it more depends on if the individual is at getting the right amount of socialization, and the right amount of alone time for them, and of course other factors such as chemical imbalances.


I have known some depressed extroverts also. That's why I was careful to use the term "less prone." There are also many extremely fulfilled introverts. Obviously (according to statistics), a vast minority of introverts actually suffers from depression. However I still believe that, generally speaking, extroverts are less prone to depression than introverts, simply by virtue of the fact that they spend less time mulling over things.

You're right though - in the end your orientation here plays much less of a role than how well-adjusted a particular individual is. Neither orientation is inherently more geared towards depression, but I think that many times it turns out this way, due to the introverted tendency to overthink (sometimes needlessly).


I know I can become a very frustrated individual if I can't get my alone time, and when I'm depressed it's usually easier to get over if I have time to myself than if I'm surrounded by people. I do need some time around others, just less than most.

Yes, extroverts become charged while socializing, whereas introverts gain energy from space. Once again, neither is necessarily "better" (discounting the fact that space is infinite, whereas people are not, but I digress). I just think introverts must take greater care to avoid self-defeating, functionally stifling, modes of thought.
 
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