Ease Depression with Magic Mushrooms
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People with depression have brain regions that are more isolated, and magic mushrooms have the potential to connect those regions, opening the door to new ways of treating depression.
Researchers from Imperial College London found that psilocybin, a psychedelic substance found in fungi, helped “open up” and increase communication inside the brain for up to three weeks. Nature Medicine researchers found that Lexapro’s typical antidepressant Lexapro didn’t have the same liberating impact.
New approaches to treatment are required because of the failure of present first-line medications to provide complete recovery for up to one-third of patients. Depression affects an estimated 5% of the world’s population, making it difficult to participate in daily activities.
As Imperial Centre of Psychedelic Research director and a senior author, David Nutt said, “These findings are important because for the first time we find that psilocybin works differently from conventional antidepressants making the brain more flexible and fluid, and less entrenched in the negative thinking patterns associated with depression.”
Before and after brain scans of patients were analyzed by the researchers. They got either psilocybin-assisted therapy or escitalopram, a standard antidepressant. They discovered that the antidepressant had a milder and more gradual effect than the magic mushroom component did.
According to Nutt, doctors may have to figure out which strategy works best for which people. To him, it may be possible in the future for individuals to choose between the daily tablet and an actual trip inside the mind’s eye.
According to Nutt, the brain circuits of people with depression tend to become increasingly isolated from one another, a situation that is associated with negative cognitive bias, rigid thought patterns, and preoccupation with one’s own future and one’s own person. In the study, researchers found that psilocybin helped patients experience “emotional release,” optimism, and a greater degree of psychological flexibility.
Other mental diseases could benefit from the findings. Psychedelics are being investigated by Nutt’s team for the treatment of anorexia, and the team is trying to acquire money to test psilocybin for addiction.
- As a result of this treatment, patients have reported feeling lighter and more optimistic.
- Psilocybin has been shown to be more effective than conventional tablets in a study.