Magic mushroom therapy is gaining momentum as a possible accompaniment to traditional psychology sessions. Research into its benefits and potential uses has been a priority in the mental health field.
Want to know more about the possibilities of psilocybin-assisted therapy and its proposed benefits? Let’s unpack this psychedelic treatment and its highs and lows.
An increasing number of people are seeking alternate forms of therapy or medication. The traditional western methods may not work for everyone, as psychology isn’t a cookie-cutter practice.
Infusing magic mushrooms into therapy sessions is something many practitioners are vouching for after viewing the effects. The methodologies and goals of the session remain the same, but the psychedelic drug may help the patient change their outlook.
So, how does psilocybin work for mental health conditions like depression and anxiety? Multiple brain scan studies reveal exactly how it functions. When the stomach acids metabolize it, it’s converted into its active form psilocin, or 4-hydroxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine.
Once activated, it has a similar structure to serotonin, which holds a multitude of benefits. It triggers neurotransmitters known as 5-HT receptors, promoting feelings of well-being, improving mood, and boosting motivation and focus.
Psilocins’ effects on 5-HT receptors may cause decreased suicidal behaviors, which is a leading cause of death among people with depression.
It may stimulate the 5HT-2A receptor, which controls the release of dopamine. Psilocin could regulate the defective reward pathway present in most people with major depressive disorders.
It takes between 20–30 minutes for the stomach to convert psilocybin to psilocin and it has a 50% bioavailability rate. The effects have a half-life of approximately 2.5 hours.
After many years of research, psilocybin is finally being noticed for its huge potential and low risk. It has a unique mechanism of action allowing it to be administered in isolated periods, producing powerful effects with less frequent doses.
In fact, it’s in s://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8574982/”>phase two of clinical trials to act as an adjunct to psychotherapy specifically for major depressive disorder (MDD).
Antidepressants are typically given to patients with MDD, but magic mushroom therapy may be the next alternative. To understand the benefits of psilocybin-assisted therapy, we must compare it to the existing method of treatment:
|Effective at relieving symptoms of depression within a few weeks
|May be effective at reducing symptoms after the first few sessions|
|Consistent treatment required||Studies reveal one or two sessions improve symptoms of MDD for up to 12 months|
|SSRI medications may induce dependency, leading to addiction d>||Non-addictive chemicals with low risk for dependency|
|When patients stop taking antidepressants, they may experience a relapse d>||Psilocybin-assisted therapy involves only a few sessions of the drug, so there’s a low chance of relapse|
|May have intense side effects including dizziness, mood swings, insomnia, and weight gain||Side effects are rare and may include short-term headaches and nausea|
It’s evident that psilocybin-assisted sessions may be beneficial for several reasons. The FDA has granted it breakthrough therapy designation, meaning it offers multiple potential benefits over existing treatment options.
<p>Research is still underway, but the current climate in the mental health field is positive towards magic mushroom therapy. Practitioners and patients alike are excited about the treatment possibilities.
Psychedelic research centers are being set up, and psychedelic therapy training programs are certifying future practitioners. It’s also garnered the attention of the media, with articles appearing in Psychology Today and the New York Times, among others.
The most suitable way to use psychedelics during therapy is still being established. It’ll likely follow suit of the stringent conditions used during studies.
When researchers began re-examining the potential use of psychedelics in therapy in 1994, they built a standard model that most sessions follow.
Before administering the psychedelic substance, there’s the typical intake session where the therapist learns more about the patient. In this first session, the person may get more comfortable with the environment and open up about their emotional state.
After the intake session, the therapist explains the process and informs them of the sensations they might feel while using the substance.
The therapist then administers psilocybin to the patient in a comfortable environment. For the duration of the treatment, the therapist and assistant (or two therapists) are present. The patient may choose to engage with them or use eye shades and music during the process.
Afterward, the therapist helps the patient integrate their psychedelic experience with their current lives. By using this method, the person doesn’t create a dependency on the substance but views it as a tool to self-heal.
If you want to know the future of psilocybin-assisted therapy, it depends on who you ask. Some believe it won’t be a popular form of treatment, but an alternative to first-line psychotherapy.
Many people could be afraid or have no interest in a psychedelic experience, even if it may relieve or cure their conditions. Some industry experts believe for this treatment to work, the drugs need to be freed of their hallucinogenic properties.
Others believe psychedelic-assisted therapy will serve as a more affordable, easily accessible option because it has long-lasting effects. It may provide a high success rate after only a few sessions.
If you’re interested in learning more about the future of psilocybin therapy and other fascinating topics, check out our Fungushead blog.
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