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Psilocybin for OCD

Psychedelic drugs like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, also known as “magic mushrooms,” have been used to address treatment-resistant mental health issues since ancient times. In recent years, there has been growing interest in the potential benefits of psychedelic substances for treating psychiatric disorders. As a result, the use of psychedelics in treating neurological disorders like depression, anxiety, addiction, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is now being looked into by researchers conducting clinical trials, many of which are double-blind and/or placebo-controlled.

The chemical known as psilocybin occurs in nature and can be discovered in a wide range of mushrooms. Recent psychedelic research has suggested that the use of psilocybin could help treat mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders and depression. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved using psilocybin as a treatment for depression.

Psilocybin is a compound found in the powerful psychedelic drug known as “magic mushrooms.” Psilocybin mushrooms’ therapeutic potential stems from their ability to induce immediate psychological changes in people.

Many do not know how exactly psychedelics work, including some healthcare providers. However, that takes nothing away from the fact that psychedelic treatment has helped alleviate chronic symptoms in many of those with serious psychiatric disorders such as PTSD and treatment-resistant depression.

But how does psilocybin work? And why might it aid psychiatric professionals in their treatment of OCD? Keep reading to learn more.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental illness that can affect people of any age or background. This condition is defined by a cycle of obsessions and compulsions that patients struggle with.

Obsessions are unwelcome, intrusive thoughts, ideas, or impulses that generate profoundly painful emotions. Individuals engage in compulsions to eliminate obsessions and reduce distress.

Treatments for OCD range from medication to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure and response prevention (ERP), and psychotherapy (OCD).

What Is OCD

On the other hand, these treatments aren't always successful, and in many cases, it takes a very long time of treatment before they start showing any results.

OCD Symptoms

Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may display either obsessions, compulsions, or both.

Obsessions Can Include:


  • Fear of perceived contaminated substances/objects, including body fluids (e.g., urine, feces)
  • Germs/disease
  • Dirt


  • Fear of acting rashly and harming others
  • Fear of horrific or violent mental images


  • Anxiety brought on by the fear of becoming accountable for something horrible (e.g., fire, burglary, car accident)
  • Fear of inflicting harm on others due to lack of attentiveness (e.g., causing someone to slip and hurt themselves by dropping something on the ground)


  • Apprehension of acting on a sexual impulse
  • Concerns for sexually injuring children, family members, or others


An excessive preoccupation with offending God, damnation, and blasphemy.


An unhealthy fixation on existential and philosophical questions, including mortality, the nature of the cosmos, and one's place in the "grand scheme."

Compulsions Can Include:

  • Ritualistic or excessive use of the bathroom, including but not limited to hand washing, bathing, brushing of teeth, and using the toilet
  • Repetitive cleaning of the same objects
  • Putting items in a specific order over and over again, making sure everything is secure and working properly
  • A constant need for reassurance or approval
  • Counting, repeating, favoring, or avoiding certain numbers are all examples of numismatic rituals

OCD Causes

Even though the precise causes of OCD are unknown, some risk factors have been identified. The development of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been related to insufficient levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

A person's level of responsibility may grow due to significant life changes, such as beginning a new work or having a child. These changes are likely to induce OCD symptoms.

There is a link between obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and particular personality characteristics, such as a predisposition toward early leadership roles and a fixation on orderliness and perfection.

Furthermore, an individual who suffers from OCD is more likely to have gone through a traumatic event. For example, it is possible to develop an obsessive need to wash one's hands after coming into contact with rat poison and developing a severe rash.

Benefits of Psilocybin for People with OCD

According to the current theory, psilocybin acts on the brain's serotonergic pathways by interacting with serotonin receptors, blocking reuptake, and extending activation. Psilocybin is thought to alleviate OCD symptoms by affecting serotonin, which has been linked to the onset of the disorder.

Psilocybin is also a hallucinogen, so high amounts of it may induce euphoria and/or spiritual insights. It has been found that microdosing psilocybin while participating in psychotherapy can help patients make sense of the psychedelic experiences they have while on the drug.

In addition, it can identify the traumatic events or experiences that continue to haunt them, possibly in the form of obsessive, repetitive thoughts and behaviors known as OCD.

According to research, unlike SSRI medicine, individuals can feel the effects of psilocybin on the severity of OCD very immediately. Psychedelic therapy can drastically improve OCD patients’ quality of life by ensuring they spend less time worrying about germs in public restrooms or whether or not they locked the front door.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following antidepressants have been evaluated and are available for FDA-approved OCD treatment in the United States:

Adults and children aged 10 and older can take Clomipramine (Anafranil)

For both children aged 7 (and up) and adults, Fluoxetine (Prozac) is available.

Adults and children aged 8 and older can take Fluvoxamine

Only adults should take Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)

Adults and children older than 6 can take Sertraline (Zoloft)

Here are some suggestions on how you can destress from OCD.

Have a restful sleep. The average person needs six to eight hours of sleep per night.

Go to the gym regularly.

Ask for help from loved ones or a community of people who share your experiences. When you need a break from your symptoms or just someone to listen to your frustrations, the company of caring loved ones is invaluable.

Consider trying some meditation or other methods of unwinding. Recovering from the physical and mental toll is made easier by practices like meditation and deep breathing.

Do things that bring you joy. Be sure to keep up the routine of engaging in the activities you enjoy (e.g., reading, playing the guitar, drawing, singing karaoke, etc.)

Adhere to your prescribed medication schedule.

Solve issues as soon as they crop up. Dealing with your symptoms daily rather than waiting until they become unbearable will yield the best outcomes.

Some people with ADHD develop an obsessive-compulsive disorder to control their symptoms or improve their performance in everyday situations.

For example, to be effective, a person who has trouble organizing things may, for instance, spend excessive time planning and their tasks. While taking preventative measures is commendable, doing it too often risks fostering unhealthy routines of obsession and compulsion.

Yes. Brain scans could reveal changes in the structure and function of brain regions in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder frequently have neurochemical imbalances. In most cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder, changes in the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate are present.