Psychology

Tripping out: the highs and lows of psychedelic therapy

‘The strongest evidence is currently for addiction, then depression and anxiety, followed by moderate evidence for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD),’ says Professor David Nutt, a psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist I speak to for advice, and who has pioneered the research. ‘In a study we published in The Lancet, one dose of psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms, produced lasting changes in people with chronic depression who hadn’t responded to medicines or to therapy. Half of the participants were still well after six months. It’s not a magic bullet, but it’s very promising.

Psychedelics are considered relatively safe in comparison to alcohol, but experts strongly advise against trying them in a recreational or non-clinical setting, as you may have a disturbing experience. ‘As psychedelics “loosen” your brain’s usual patterns, defences start to dissolve,’ says Dr Rucker, 
a psychiatrist who researches the effects of psychedelics. ‘That can be hard, because it’s the things you don’t want to deal with that you keep locked away. That’s why you need a safe, supportive environment and someone you trust − like 
a therapist − to help you work through difficult things.’ Anyone with a family history of mental-health conditions such as schizophrenia, and anyone taking drugs, including SSRI antidepressants, should avoid them completely.

Original Article (Marie Claire):
Tripping out: the highs and lows of psychedelic therapy
Artwork Fair Use: Luis García

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