Mold and Psychiatric Symptoms


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The neurotoxins made by certain species of mold recently have been recognized in research literature and by practitioners as having the ability to cause or trigger psychiatric symptoms of all kinds.

Following are some articles on this topic.


Mary Ackerley 2

Brain on Fire

Psychiatrist Dr. Mary Ackerley, M.D., discusses specific research studies and the mental-health improvements that she has seen in her patients who have addressed toxic mold issues in a Paradigm Change blog post, “Brain on Fire: The Role of Toxic Mold in Triggering Psychiatric Symptoms.”

Dr. Ackerley discussed the topic in more detail in a video interview with Dr. Sandeep Gupta.


Read The Article

Watch The Video


Mental Illness: The Role of Mold

Environmental physician Erica Elliott, M.D., wrote an article for her blog called “Mental Illness and Mood Disorders: The Role of Mold.”

In the article, Dr. Elliott provides an overview of the topic and shares some case studies that she has seen in her practice.


Read The Article


Dr. Amen

Toxic Mold Syndrome

Popular psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., wrote about the effects that toxic mold can have on emotional symptoms in an article called “Toxic Mold Syndrome: “It Was Like I Lost My Personality.”

He also shared spect scans showing obvious physiological changes in the brain experienced by those exposed to toxic mold.

Dr. Amen and other physicians discussed at length the topic of mold’s effects on the brain and the emotional symptoms that result in the movie “Moldy.”


Read The Article

View The Spect Scans

Watch The Movie


Toxic Mold & Psychiatric Symptoms

Psychiatrist Judy Tsafrir, M.D., wrote about the psychiatric effects that toxic mold can produce and described her own experiences experiencing mild depression after a mold exposure in articles on the Psychology Today website and on her own blog.


Read the Psychology Today Article 

Read The Blog Article



The Depression Response

In a Paradigm Change blog post, Lisa Petrison and Erik Johnson discuss the how the research literature shows that trichothecene mold toxins can trigger cytokine responses associated with both depression and ME/CFS, as well as how attending to emotional responses has helped them to more successfully pursue mold avoidance.


Read The Article



Symptom Survey

In an online Facebook poll in the Mold Avoiders group, 351 individuals with mold-related illness reported on symptoms that they had experienced.

Psychiatric symptoms mentioned included anxiety (79%), depression (65%), mood swings (57%), anger episodes (50%), loss of self-confidence (48%), suicidal ideation (35%), disorientation (29%), obsessive-compulsive behaviors (26%), feeling that friends have become enemies (23%), morbid thoughts (23%), emotional flattening (22%), feelings of dread or doom (9%), lack of inhibition or breaking social mores (9%), auditory hallucinations (8%), paranoia (7%), feeling possessed by evil (4%), and narcissism (3%),


Read The Article


Medical Journal Articles

A number of medical journal articles discuss the extent to which toxic mold exposures can lead to the development of psychiatric issues.

A literature review from 2018 titled “The Effects of Mycotoxins on Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Immune Processes” stated the following:

Exposure to molds is most commonly associated with allergies and asthma. However, it is now thought to be associated with many complex health problems, since some molds, especially Trichoderma, Fusarium and Stachybotrys spp, produce mycotoxins that are absorbed from the skin, airways, and intestinal lining. People exposed to molds and mycotoxins present with symptoms affecting multiple organs, including the lungs, musculoskeletal system, as well as the central and peripheral nervous systems. Furthermore, evidence has recently implicated exposure to mycotoxins in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder. The effects of mycotoxins can be mediated via different pathways that include the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, especially from mast cells.

Journal articles discussing neurological symptoms associated with exposures to moldy buildings are listed on the Paradigm Change website.

The Paradigm Change website also provides lists of articles discussing the neurological effects of Penitrem A and of mycotoxins made by Stachybotrys chartarum.


Read The 2018 Literature Review

Read Abstracts On Moldy Buildings

Read Abstracts On Stachybotrys

Read Abstracts On Penitrem A


Additional Articles

Following is a list of reader-friendly articles on the link between toxic mold exposures and psychiatric symptoms.


What Effect Does Mold have on the Brain? – Mold B Gone, 2018

Mold Can Affect the Brain – Mold Free Living, 2018

Seven Health Problems That Could Be Causing Your Anxiety – Amy Myers, 2018

The Link Between Toxic Mold and Mental Health – Healthy House on the Block, 2017

Mycotoxins, Mood & Mental Health – Ascent To Health (2017)

Depressed? Mold May Be the Reason – Alternative Daily (2017)

Poor Housing Is Bad For Your Mental Health – The Guardian (2016)

Mold on the Mind – Scientific American (2007)



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Pictured: Spect scans show a brain damaged by toxic mold exposures (top of the page) compared to a healthy brain (here). The pictures were presented by psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., in the movie “Moldy.”


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