Benefits of Psilocybin Therapy
Psilocybin has been taking its long-awaited seat in the world of alternative therapy. With its immediately tangible effects on a growing list of disorders, Psilocybin has made leaps and bounds in being universally recognized as a potential medicine.
With a long history of being placed under the category of Schedule 1 drugs (drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse), Psilocybin has steadily and successfully made its way into the treatment of patients with various mental and physical disorders. Not only this, it has also found a place in the modern workspace, with new-age creatives and high position executives. With the practice of microdosing taking shape as a much-accepted practice with proven benefits, it has also come to be seen as a potential tool to boost creativity, workspace effectiveness, and all-around improvement in performance.
Apart from these practices, modern medical research has pulled away from the curtains on what was previously seen as a dangerous drug, by showing its myriad benefits on people suffering from psychological disorders. A study showed that almost 80% of patients suffering from ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactive disorder) will have at least one more psychiatric disorder in their lifetimes, with Depression and Anxiety disorder ranking the highest in co-morbidities.
It is then important to take a closer look at the potential of Psilocybin as a mode of treatment not only in cases aimed at a single disorder but its potential effects on a variety of other closely related psychological disorders.
How Does Psychedelic Therapy Works?
Psychedelic therapy has emerged as a groundbreaking approach to addressing mental health disorders, including treatment-resistant depression and providing relief to patients facing life-threatening cancer. With the use of psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin or MDMA, this therapeutic method offers new hope and possibilities for individuals who have not responded to traditional treatments.
Psychedelic therapy involves the administration of carefully controlled doses of psychedelic drugs in a supportive and therapeutic setting. The aim is to induce a deeply altered state of consciousness that allows patients to explore their emotions, thoughts, and perceptions with heightened clarity and introspection. This altered state, often accompanied by profound experiences and insights, can pave the way for therapeutic breakthroughs and transformative healing.
Realm Of Treatment-Resistant Depression
Traditional antidepressant medications may not be effective for everyone, leaving many individuals with limited options. Psychedelic drugs, when administered in a controlled and therapeutic context, have demonstrated the potential to address the underlying causes of depression and provide long-lasting relief. The profound experiences induced by psychedelics can help patients gain new perspectives, process unresolved traumas, and foster a sense of connection and meaning in their lives.
Psychedelic therapy also holds potential in improving the mental well-being of individuals facing life-threatening cancer. Cancer patients often experience significant psychological distress, including anxiety, depression, existential concerns, and fear of death. Psychedelic-assisted therapy offers a unique approach to support these patients on their healing journey. By facilitating deep emotional experiences and spiritual insights, psychedelic treatment can help individuals navigate their existential fears, find acceptance, and enhance their overall quality of life.
While the exact mechanisms of how psychedelic therapy works are still being researched, several theories offer potential explanations. Psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin or MDMA, are known to interact with serotonin receptors in the brain, leading to profound alterations in perception and cognition. These alterations can promote neural plasticity, facilitating the rewiring and reorganization of neural networks. This neuroplasticity may contribute to the therapeutic effects of psychedelic treatment by helping patients break free from rigid patterns of thinking and behavior.
Moreover, the therapeutic setting and the presence of trained therapists play a crucial role in guiding and supporting patients throughout their psychedelic experience. Therapists provide a safe and nurturing environment for individuals to explore their inner landscape, process challenging emotions, and integrate their experiences into their daily lives. This integration phase is vital for patients to derive lasting benefits from the insights gained during the psychedelic sessions.
It’s important to note that psychedelic therapy is still considered an experimental treatment. Ongoing research, clinical trials, and professional guidance are essential to ensure the safe and effective use of psychedelic substances in therapeutic settings.
Psychedelic therapy represents a paradigm shift in mental health treatment, offering new possibilities for individuals struggling with treatment-resistant depression, life-threatening cancer, and other mental health disorders.
Through carefully guided and supported experiences with psychedelic substances, patients can embark on transformative journeys of healing, self-discovery, and personal growth. As the research and understanding of psychedelic therapy continue to advance, more individuals may have access to this innovative approach and find relief from their suffering.
ADHD (ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVE DISORDER)
ADHD has shown a particular relationship with Psilocybin whereas macrodosing has not shown as many correlated effects in improving mental functioning. Microdosing on the other hand has been found to have a great number of benefits on people suffering from ADHD.
One of the largest researches conducted on the self-rated effectiveness of Psilocybin for ADHD was conducted by Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Around 4000 participants reported back on their practice of microdosing.
The practice of microdosing was taking a dose every weekday and not on the weekends, or every other day. This is not the Fadiman cycle mentioned elsewhere on the website: Day 1, microdose; Day 2, no dose; Day 3, no dose, Day 4 begin cycle again. The results showed that most users showed an increase in attention to detail with the ability to creatively look for solutions for a given problem. This is quite in contrast to macrodosing Psilocybin where there is a decrease in concentration and ability to focus on one task.
One of the key domains of ADHD in patients that should be considered in terms of Psilocybin treatment is emotional dysfunction, such as a lack of emotional control and impulsivity.
It is suggested that in micro quantities, Psilocybin has the potential to reconfigure neural pathways to approach a problem in more creative ways which allows for a larger emotional connection to the task at hand. This assists in letting the task at hand become more approachable and consequently increases concentration. This is corroborated by the ability of Psilocybin to create new neural pathways in a recent study where the growth of new dendritic spines was shown to have a positive and enduring effect in problem solving.
DEPRESSION & ANXIETY
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The topic of mental disorders like major depressive disorder or Depression and Anxiety in their neurophysiological similarities, have led to a high number of research projects aimed at how Psilocybin can be an effective treatment for both of them together.
One of the core similarities between brain scans in people with Depression and Anxiety is a decrease in Serotonin (colloquially known as the happiness, well-being and mediator hormone) in the space between a neuron and its target cells. What this means is that communication between the brain and the rest of the body can get stilted and repetitive. In this study psilocybin was shown to have an important effect on neurochemistry where it was related to the activation of several Serotonin receptors, which in turn showed positive outcomes on depressive symptoms.
Another very important part of the research with Psilocybin and neurochemistry was related to the DMN or the Default Mode Network. The DMN is, simply put, a part of the brain that is responsible for self-referential processing, personal memory retrieval and imagining the future. People suffering with Depression and Anxiety show a high correlation to increased activity within the DMN. This usually translates as an increase in rumination and worrying.
Psilocybin has shown a great potential in helping with increased DMN activity by escalating ‘entropy’ that exists within this part of the brain. Entropy basically refers to a state of randomness or uncertainty. What this means is that the brain is able to break from fixed thought patterns and experience new neural pathways creating new communication networks. Simply put, Psilocybin helps to get out of a mental rut and gives new possibilities of thinking, allowing many people to find new tools to deal with mental disorders.
What is more, in a study conducted by the Royal Society UK it was found that after administering Psilocybin, the brain became more interconnected and these connections remained persistent for a long period of time.
ADDICTION OR SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER – (ALCOHOL & TOBACCO)
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Psilocybin has proven to be a highly effective method when it comes to treating patients with substance use disorders with a variety of addictions. In this case we shall consider alcohol and tobacco, the two substances with the highest number of addicted users in the world.
A recent study, conducted by the American Journal of Drug & alcohol abuse, found that after administering moderate doses of Psilocybin to patients, there was a substantially higher 6 month abstinence rate amongst regular smokers.
This was significantly higher than those patients that were only provided with other medications or cognitive behavioral therapy. The study showed that in the context of a structured treatment program, psilocybin holds considerable promise in promoting long-term smoking abstinence.
In the case of alcohol, a study conducted by the Journal of Psychopharmacology showed that Psilocybin showed great promise in research that was aimed at tackling alcohol dependency disorders. In the study, most users reported more contemplative experiences where they were able to address their dependencies more clearly. This was corroborated by the fact that in the first 4 weeks of alternative therapies, there was no change in the alcohol abstinence. However after the first administration of Psilocybin, patients showed a great increase in abstinence, a practice which often held up until 36 weeks.
Often, people who use Psilocybin as a treatment for dependency disorders, describe their experience as emotional and deeply reflective which allows them to clearly understand the addictive nature of their dependencies. This is turn allows them to disentangle themselves from the addictive habits as well as in helping with withdrawal symptoms.
Even though the research on Psilocybin as an effective treatment for dependency disorders is relatively new, It has shown great promise and is in a state of rapid movement towards just how helpful psilocybin can actually be.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.
It can affect individuals of all backgrounds and can arise from a range of traumatic experiences such as military combat, natural disasters, accidents, violence, or abuse. PTSD can have a profound impact on a person’s well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life. However, emerging research suggests that psilocybin-assisted therapy may offer new hope for individuals struggling with PTSD, substance abuse, and other psychiatric disorders.
PTSD is characterized by various symptoms, including intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event, hypervigilance, heightened anxiety, negative mood, and emotional numbing. These symptoms can be severe and long-lasting, significantly impairing daily functioning and overall mental health.
Traditional treatment approaches for PTSD often involve a combination of psychotherapy and medication. However, some individuals may experience limited success with conventional treatments, leading to a search for alternative therapeutic options. This is where psilocybin-assisted therapy, a novel approach gaining attention, comes into play.
Psilocybin-assisted therapy involves the use of a moderate dose of psilocybin combined with psychotherapeutic support, providing a unique opportunity for individuals to explore their traumatic experiences, emotions, and perceptions in a deeply introspective and transformative way.
The psychedelic experience induced by psilocybin can facilitate increased emotional processing, enhanced self-awareness, the release of repressed emotions, and a sense of interconnectedness.
Research suggests that psilocybin-assisted therapy may be particularly beneficial for individuals with PTSD who also struggle with substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders. Studies have shown significant reductions in substance abuse, including alcohol and tobacco dependence, as well as improvements in depression, anxiety, and existential distress. This suggests that psilocybin-assisted therapy has the potential to address both the underlying trauma of PTSD and the co-occurring conditions that often accompany it.
It’s important to note that psilocybin-assisted therapy is still considered an experimental treatment, and ongoing research and clinical trials are being conducted to explore its safety, efficacy, and optimal protocols. Strict adherence to safety guidelines and the guidance of trained professionals are essential for maximizing the potential benefits of this therapy while minimizing risks.
Psilocybin-assisted therapy is not intended as a standalone treatment but should be integrated into a comprehensive therapeutic approach. This includes pre-session preparation, the administration of psilocybin in a supportive setting, and post-session integration to help individuals process and integrate their experiences into their daily lives.
While further research is needed, psilocybin-assisted therapy holds promise as a potentially transformative treatment approach for individuals with PTSD, substance abuse, and other psychiatric disorders. The use of psilocybin, combined with professional guidance and therapeutic support, offers new possibilities for healing and growth. As the field continues to evolve, psilocybin-assisted therapy may provide individuals with alternative paths to recovery, leading to improved mental health and overall well-being.
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