Psychedelics in treatment: from stigma to revolution

December 9, 2017

What was once a taboo-hush-hush subject may become the leading-edge of psychiatric treatment for particular psychiatric mood disorders - such as bipolar, depression, generalised anxiety, PTSD and more. 

 

 

This is no pseudo-science or woo-woo talk, for psychedelics are making their way into peer-reviewed studies, and controlled clinical trials.

 

Reports on psychedelic research are beginning to span mass media, sweeping the web and news outlets. 

 

Upon return from London, it was surreal for me to experience sitting in a lecture hall this year (2017), at Imperial College London for a lecture on the leading psychedelic-using psychiatrists of the world. One out of five of the leading speakers was legally allowed to use psychedelics in their research, based in Amsterdam at their private treatment centre. Though they still faced legality issues and restrictions in their practice. 

 

Afterr studying my undergraduate, it was unspoken of to even utter the words of psychedelics in institutions such as the University. But here we were, discussing it openly, in a serious and inquiry setting. To me, this felt like the beginning of the future. 

Perhaps what has made this unique experience come to be, is the ethos of Imperial College London - to take risks - http://www.imperial.ac.uk/strategy/enablers/acting-courageously/ 

 

Indeed, I agree that this is what provides opportunity for innovation and change in the future of science, and our growth as  society.

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris leads psychedelic studies here, in Imperial’s Division of Brain Sciences (left). Here, he recruits individuals that may or may not have depression and anxiety, observing the effects of psychedelic drugs upon them - in a controlled, safe setting. 

 

 

In a published article Dr Carhart-Harris says "I think it’s fair to say we are beginning to uncover some key principles about how psychedelics alter consciousness − and the profound thing is, that doesn’t just tell you how psychedelic drugs work, it can tell you something fundamental about the nature of brain function itself and its relationship to the mind”. 

 

The researchers summarise that psychedelics can 'reset' the brain, from negatively hard-wired ways of thinking, that have links with depression. 

 

This has huge implications for the world of psychology, emphasising the question of whether prescribed antidepressants (such as serotonin inhibitors) are the only solution for chronic mood disorders such as depression. 

 

For information on upcoming talks on the increasing study of psychedelics in the UK, check out The Psychedelic Society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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