Psilocybin for Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD

Use of Psilocybin in Mental Health Treatment

Mental health has become a commonly acknowledged subject across all age groups, social and economic backgrounds. It is something that people are coming out and talking about more openly, without feeling any fear of judgment. These include celebrities, many of whom have been and are still victims of different mental health problems. These include depression, anxiety, addiction, and eating disorders, among other things.

The Relationship Between Mental Health Treatment and Psilocybin

To give you a background, psilocybin is essentially a supporter of serotonin receptors and is naturally present in certain mushroom species. According to recent studies, psilocybin may have therapeutic benefits for different conditions. It includes suicidal thoughts, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcohol addiction, and anxiety. So, the preliminary results came out to be quite promising. Medical experts and scientists have been trying to look into the safety. And efficacy and feasibility of psilocybin in individuals with depression. That are resistant to other treatments.

If you give it a first thought, you might find it hard to imagine the use of illegal psychedelic drugs like “magic mushroom” in a clinical setting. However, if you follow recent research, you might find that there is a possibility of this being the potential future of psychotherapy and psychiatry.

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It would involve therapy assisted by psychedelics, which would help treat mental illnesses like anxiety, addiction, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Denver was among the first cities in the United States to decriminalize psychedelics or “magic mushrooms.”

Colorado has not technically legalized magic mushrooms. However, they are placed into the “lowest law-enforcement priority.” This change of attitude is very helpful in drawing attention to all the new experiments. And it is helpful in the tests of psychedelic treatment and medication.

A growing wave of researchers has found evidence that there is an active substance present in magic mushrooms. This substance is called psilocybin. It has multiple health benefits in the area of psychological/mental health.

A lot of studies were done on psilocybin in the era of 1960s. It was utilized in several therapies and finally labeled by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) as an illicit drug (Schedule I) in 1970.

What Psilocybin Research Indicates

In the last 10 years, the research on psilocybin and magic mushrooms has started picking up pace again. These mushrooms have powerful psychedelic effects. Researchers have found that around 200 mushroom species occurring in nature contain psilocybin.

It has the effect of activating serotonin receptors in human beings. It is hence termed as a ‘pro-drug,’ or something that gets converted to psilocybin in one’s body. Psilocybin is especially famous for its psychoactive properties.

Mental health experts explain how serotonin is a very important neurotransmitter and chemical in the brain. It plays a critical role in regulating social behavior, mood, digestion and appetite, sexual desire, memory, and sleep, among other things.

This new wave of scientific research on psilocybin, if proved successful, might finally change its reputation after years of prohibition. Many medical experts believe that psilocybin can offer an improved and more extensive treatment than all the current antidepressants in the market. It could give rise to a new, effective therapy for many other mental problems too. These include eating disorders and anxiety.

Johns Hopkins study

According to a study done by Johns Hopkins University in 2016. 51 patients suffering from serious types of cancer experienced a significant reduction in anxiety and suicidal depression. The effect lasted for around six months and was true in 80 percent of the cases. The drug was able to help these individuals accept death. A study done in New York University in the same year which demonstrated similar results.

Trials are still in progress as medical experts continue to look for positive indications. Moreover also proof that psilocybin can, in fact, reduce alcohol dependency and smoking addiction.

We’ve been using the term ‘psychedelics’ for a while now, and maybe some of you need a clearer understanding of what it actually means. Moreover, Humphry Osmond founded the term Psychedelic in the 1950s, a Canadian psychiatrist, and it refers to ‘mind-manifesting.’ It is basically a psychotropic drug type. Other psychedelic compounds, besides psilocybin, include lysergic, mescaline, diethylamide, ayahuasca and ibogaine.

If you go back to history, several cultures across the world have used psychedelics as an important part of their healing rituals. Every compound has its own unique properties. However, they share the effect of altering the consciousness of human beings to a great extent. Moreover, this is the primary feature that might be a key component in supporting its ability to treat all kinds of psychiatric conditions.

How Psilocybin Works

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA is also taking interest in the research on psilocybin. Moreover, it has approved the conducting of bigger-scale studies with regards to the usefulness of psilocybin in treating severe depressive disorder and TRD.

So, what makes psilocybin so powerful? Current data suggest that it might be able to modify the mind. Moreover, it produces a psychologically modified state wherein there is an altered state of mind and the hurdles to exploring old traumas are lifted, although temporarily.

There is an impact of the drug on the individual’s serotonergic system. According to MRI scans, it causes an increase in the neuronal repartee between different regions of one’s brain. So, these are regions that don’t usually communicate with each other.

Psilocybin-Based Psychotherapy

Psilocybin-based psychotherapy is preferred in a favorable setting. The patient lies on a couch-type of seating with music playing in the background (they need to wear eyeshades for the session).

The setting aims to facilitate an emotional breakthrough. And it typically leads to antidepressant effects, stress relief and mood improvement. These effects are for over six months.

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