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MDMA and psilocybin: the future of anxiety medication?

We’d rather stick to antidepressants of minimal therapeutic impact, not because they guard against addiction – they don’t – but because of a puritanical aversion to supplying unearned happiness and, along with it, a deep-seated belief that people who suffer emotionally should just get over it.

The idea that people become addicted to what are commonly referred to as “recreational drugs” is provably false, however. SSRIs, alongside socially sanctioned drugs like cigarettes and alcohol, are much harder to kick. You’re better off being addicted to pot or cocaine, Lewis and Shelly write, than tobacco. Furthermore, early evidence in the therapeutic applications of psychedelics is promising, making their illegality all the more troublesome… MDMA, they continue, reduces your amygdala’s threat response system, making you less likely to become overstimulated to benign or neutral stimulation, a marker of anxiety attacks. Research on its efficacy in reducing depression and PTSD is also promising. The problem, the authors argue, is that perception of these substances is skewed. Affiliations such as “party drugs” and images of stoners and slackers remain part of the common lore. What these drugs—and the notion of emotional fitness in general—need is a cultural reframing.

Original Article (Big Think):
MDMA and Psilocybin: The Future of Anxiety Medication?
Artwork Fair Use: Public Domain

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