Benefits of Psychedelic Drugs in Treating PTSD and Depression

Psychedelics have been known for thousands of years for their therapeutic effects. But recently it is found to be beneficial for many psychiatric disorders too.

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As we know, all the serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) do not help everyone going through psychiatric problems.

In 2019, there was this FDA-approved drug named Spravato was used for treating depression. That is when the use of psychedelics was revisited.

The two most common types of psychiatric disorders are depression and PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder.

They are almost similar in the way the brain stores all the emotional experiences and therefore their diagnosis can be worked out parallelly when it comes to the usage of psychedelic drugs.

Here we have gathered information to learn more about the benefits of psychedelic drugs:

1.      About PTSD

PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition in which an individual has a problem with his mental health. This happens due to any traumatic incidents that happened in his life like some accident, witnessing any death or injury, sexual assault, and for veterans, it can be war.

The flashback of the incidents may keep coming up making them go through nightmares, difficulty in sleeping, unable to concentrate and guilt feeling, isolation, and irritability.

Millions of people will go through this PTSD at some point in their life. The treatment for this condition is a combination of therapy and some anti-depressant drugs. This treatment may work for many, but others, may still have to suffer.

2.      About Psychedelic drugs

In the year 1960, a psychiatrist named Jan Bastiaans from the University of Leiden treated patients with concentration camp syndrome using psychedelic drugs and psilocybin(which is an active ingredient in magic mushrooms).

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Though other psychiatrists believed that this drug might be dangerous, Jan Bastiaans still continued with the medication because he was sure about its therapeutic property.

Over the past few years, again psilocybin was used along with the therapy to treat people with mental illness. The results seen were so positive, that it was approved by the FDA.

3.      Working on Psychedelic drugs

As we know the anti-depressants currently used as SSRIs work by increasing the amount of serotonin level in our body. Serotonin is like a neurotransmitter that helps in regulating the mood of an individual.

So, when this serotonin binds with some specialized receptor then it makes the individual feel more stable and content.

Psilocybin works like the serotonin receptor, but sometimes it is even more than that. It is believed that this drug alters the way one neuron connects with the other.

People taking anti-depressants experience side effects like stomach upset and insomnia. While psychedelic therapies work with just a few doses making lesser chances for side effects.

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4.      Treatment

The treatment would require the patient to identify a good therapist or a guide (who is not necessarily a doctor or a psychiatrist. They must have been trained well to help through this experimentation.

The experts would then discuss with the patient his/ her struggle and goals before the treatment starts.

Once the psychedelics dosage is given, it will take around 20 to 40 minutes for the medicine to kick off and will last for around six hours. During this time, the patient will be entertained with some music or a simple talk with the therapist to keep him/her calm and relaxed.

There are chances that the patient might hallucinate due to bad or frightening experiences. In such cases, the therapist would manage all the fear or paranoia that arises.

Here the treatment regimen may include one or several days of dosing, but the point is this treatment is all about giving the dosage along with proper cognitive behavioral therapy.

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There is still research going on about the usage of psychedelic drugs. However, the power of healing the mind with these drugs is real.

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