Laws in the United States and other countries have made it difficult for scientists to study the effects that psychedelic drugs have on the human mind. The research that has been done, however, suggests that some of these substances could treat mental health disorders like depression, PTSD, and substance abuse.
Although using psychedelic drugs is still illegal in the U.S., attitudes are starting to change as more people discover that some of the substances could benefit people living with mental health disorders that resist other forms of treatment. Each substance has unique effects, though, so it’s important for medical researchers to understand how various drugs may play a role in helping someone’s recovery.
Our doctors at Arizona Addiction Recovery Center are keeping a close eye on emerging studies. This blog is meant to for educational purposes only and by no means do we recommend any form of drug use. If you are struggling with addiction and mental health, our treatment programs have been proven highly effective and our therapy options range greatly. Mental health is a serious issue and can take a great toll on your life if the proper care isn’t administered in a timely manner. Call us today, and let’s start your journey to recovery.
MDMA May Treat PTSD
Recently, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) won FDA approval to study how MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can help people living with PTSD. Results from preliminary studies show that it took three sessions for 61% of participants to no longer qualify for PTSD. During an annual follow-up, 68% of the successful participants no longer had PTSD. Participants in the study had been living with PTSD for an average of 17.8 years. By combining psychotherapy with MDMA, researchers were able to make impressive strides with their patients.
The study found that MDMA only caused minor side effects, such as increased blood pressure and body temperature, in participants. This suggests that otherwise healthy adults can tolerate the drug while under the guidance of a counselor.
LSD May Curb Alcohol Abuse
Many pioneering psychologists in the 1960s turned to LSD to help patients improve their lives in several ways. The practice of using LSD in combination with therapy, however, largely ended when the government listed it as a Schedule 1 drug.
A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reviewed data conducted from six trials with more than 500 people. The meta-analysis shows that LSD may have a positive effect on alcohol misuse. In fact, 59% of participants showed lower levels of alcohol misuse after taking LSD. Only 39% of participants in the control group, which did not take the drug, showed improvements in alcohol abuse.
People who took the drug avoided alcohol misuse for about six months. After a year without LSD, though, most of them reported an increase in alcohol use. Recovery from alcohol abuse is challenging for most people, so it’s a good idea to explore any medication that can improve their chances of success.
Magic Mushrooms Can Treat Depression
About 16.2 million adults in the U.S. live with major depression. The symptoms of depression can make life extremely difficult for patients and their loved ones. Common symptoms include feelings of worthlessness, sadness, and helplessness. Depression can also cause symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
Finding a cure for depression would help millions of people around the world. Magic mushrooms may offer a new chance for patients who don’t respond to conventional treatments options like medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.
During a study at Imperial College, many participants said that they felt like taking magic mushrooms, or psilocybin, had “rebooted” their brains. After the treatment, subjects said that they didn’t feel as depressed as before. They also remarked on improvements in mood and stress.
The study at Imperial College follows two U.S. studies showing that one dose of psilocybin decreased feelings of anxiety and depression in people with advanced cancer. The results from those studies showed that the subjects felt relief for six or more months.
DMT Could Treat Multiple Mental Health Disorders
Ayahuasca, a brew of plants that contain large amounts of DMT, has been used in some parts of South America for hundreds of years. The people who use it in a traditional way consider it a form of medicine. A renewed interest in DMT may prove them right.
Ayahuasca is a powerful hallucinogen that can last for 89 hours or longer. Concentrated DMT, however, only lasts for a few minutes. Although there aren’t any scientific reports showing how DMT affects mental health disorders, anecdotal evidence from users hint that the drug could treat multiple disorders. Some people who have taken the drug describe increased self-confidence and relief from symptoms of depression. It may also curb substance misuse and abuse in some people.
There is a growing awareness of DMT and its effects on the mind. Unfortunately, most countries have outlawed the drug, which makes it difficult to conduct studies. Some covert “ayahuasca treatment centers” have opened outside of the Amazon, but those centers don’t always have staff members with the right training to help people struggle through intense trips.
Psychedelic drugs may become the foundation for a new approach to treating mental health disorders. But before that can happen, countries will need to make them legal for medical use. Developing a new approach to mental health treatments will also require pharmaceutical companies to make consistent products that contain psychedelic drugs.
It is important to note that people who take the drugs without medical supervision will not get the same results as those who experience drugs under guidance from trained counselors and medical professionals. By no means does this mean you should self-medicate with any type of drug. It is also imperative to acknowledge that the drugs administered in the described research are of much different quality than the ones found in the general public. Drugs bought on the street can vary significantly in purity and strength. Some may also contain additional drugs that prevent healing and/or cause adverse reactions.
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