Mind-altering drugs like LSD, ketamine or magic mushrooms could be combined with psychotherapy to treat people suffering from depression, compulsive disorders or chronic pain, Swiss scientists suggested on Wednesday.
Research into the effects of psychedelics, used in the past in psychiatry, has been restricted in recent decades because of the negative connotations of drugs, but the scientists said more studies into their clinical potential were now justified. It’s not the 60’s anymore!
The researchers said recent brain imaging studies show that psychedelics such as LSD, ketamine and magic mushrooms — act on the brain in ways that could help reduce symptoms of various psychiatric disorders.
“Psychedelics can give patients a new perspective — particularly when things like suppressed memories come up — and then they can work with that experience,” said Franz Vollenweider of the Neuropsychopharmacology and brain imaging unit at Zurich’s University Hospital of Psychiatry, who published a paper on the issue in Nature Neuroscience Journal.
But if doctors were to use them to treat psychiatric patients in future, it would be important to keep doses of the drugs low, and ensure they were given over a relatively short time period in combination with therapy sessions, they said.
“The idea is that it would be very limited, maybe several sessions over a few months, not a long-term thing like other types of medication,” Vollenweider stated.
“These are serious, debilitating, life-shortening illnesses, and as the currently available treatments have high failure rates, psychedelics might offer alternative treatment strategies that could improve the well-being of patients and the associated economic burden on patients and society,” they wrote.
A point well taken. The burden of mental illness is astronomical. People who are on some type of treatment plan have to deal with the stigma from insurance companies who are leery of giving them coverage. Yet, those who are not taking medications or supplements, drain the resources behaviorally for those who really need them. It’s a catch 22. That’s why any treatment, even if controversial is well worth looking into.
For anyone who needs local help for depression here in Palm Beach, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is located in Lake Worth, Florida. Their local # (561) 588-3477. They can also help you with any questions or referrals you may need.
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