The Sanctuary Wellness Institute does not offer Psilocybin Therapy. This web page is meant for informational use only.
Psilocybin for PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition in people who have experienced a dangerous, or terrifying event. Many with this disorder experience flashbacks to the event and persistent negative thoughts, leading them to experience anxiety, depression, fear of certain objects, and/or hyperarousal.
There exists a lot of research examining this phenomenon, which has led to more awareness and exploration of treatment options. One of these treatment options is the use of psilocybin.
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.
Keep reading to learn more about PTSD, how psilocybin can treat it, and the risks and side effects of this treatment.
What is Psilocybin?
Granted "breakthrough therapy" tag in 2018 by the FDA, psilocybin is a naturally-occurring psychedelic compound found in over 180 species of mushrooms. This hallucinogenic compound produces changes in the user's mood, perception, consciousness, and sensory experience.
Studies have shown promising results when it comes to using psilocybin to treat mental health conditions, particularly PTSD. The intensity and duration of the change produced often depend on the dosage consumed. However, psilocybin’s effects generally last anywhere from 2-6 hours.
Under the influence of psilocybin, people become more open to suggestions, making it a viable solution for treating mental health disorders.
What is PTSD?
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental illness whereby one struggles to recover after experiencing a traumatic event. This event could be a natural disaster, combat, accident, or sexual violence. Studies show that women are more than twice as likely to develop PTSD than men.
People with PTSD often avoid situations that bring back traumatic memories they'd rather forget. Other symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks or nightmares of said events and even feelings of anger, sadness, or anxiety when such events come to mind.
Additionally, many with PTSD find it difficult to fall or stay asleep and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. What's more, PTSD makes it harder for individuals to connect with other people.
Can Psilocybin Treat PTSD?
The symptoms of PTSD can persist for a long time after the traumatic event, often disrupting all facets of a person's life. However, with psilocybin's ability to effect significant changes in brain dynamics and improve functional connectivity, it has a huge potential to treat PTSD. This study shows that scientists have been able to treat PTSD with psilocybin.
Psilocybin’s results also last longer than other forms of therapy. There are many benefits of using psilocybin for the treatment of PTSD, especially when compared to traditional medical interventions like the use of antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Psilocybin treatment helps reduce patients’ rate of depression and improve their mood. It also helps move chronic depression into remission. It does this by acting directly on the neurotransmitters in the brain, thereby changing its behavior.
Enhances Quality of Life
It also enhances the quality of life, as people often have intense, meaningful experiences under the influence of this compound. These experiences often cause a shift in a belief system or mindset, helping people, especially women, think better and achieve enlightenment.
Another way psilocybin enhances the quality of life is by increasing a person's sense of spirituality and connection to the mystical.
Lowers Levels of Anxiety
Psilocybin lowers the level of anxiety people experience. It does this by reducing the fear of the future, which is one major cause of anxiety in most people.
Psilocybin Risks and Side Effects
There are a couple of risks and side effects associated with consuming psilocybin in large quantities, which is why it is important to monitor dosage. These risks and side effects include the potential for addiction.
Although this compound is generally considered non-addictive, people with substance abuse problems might become addicted. This is why discussing this treatment option with a medical practitioner before using it is important.
Other side effects of consuming psilocybin in excess include agitation, violence, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.
Should You Take Psilocybin for Your PTSD?
Although this treatment for PTSD is still in its clinical trial phase, the results are positive. For instance, research from six clinical trials conducted in four different countries by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology showed that psilocybin could potentially treat PTSD.
Another research conducted by researchers from John Hopkins University showed that psilocybin reduced anxiety and depression in 80% of patients that participated in the trial. These results show that psilocybin is a viable option for treating PTSD.
Keep in mind that due to the possible side effects of psilocybin, using it to treat PTSD is not for everybody. This is especially true for people currently on drugs like lithium. The interaction between these drugs and psilocybin could result in serious health complications like seizures and heart problems.
Additionally, people experiencing deep grief should not take this compound because it can heighten sensory perception. Besides, due to little data on the effect of this drug on pregnancy, pregnant women should avoid taking this psilocybin.
What is Psychedelic Therapy?
This is any therapy that uses psychedelic substances to facilitate a therapeutic process. It involves using psychedelic plant compounds that induce hallucinations to treat mental health issues. This therapy, often used on people with a low response to standard medication or therapies, helps increase the success rate of traditional treatments.
There are different types of psychedelic therapy, and they include;
- LSD: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a psychedelic compound that can potentially treat anxiety and addiction due to its ability to alter mood, consciousness, and perception.
- Mescaline: This compound comes from cacti like the peyote cactus. It is a psychedelic compound with the potential to help with depression, anxiety, and addiction.
- Psilocybin: Found in mushrooms, this compound's ability to alter mood, perception, and consciousness makes it ideal for treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health conditions.
- MDMA: This psychedelic compound, also known as ecstasy, gives a euphoric feeling, increasing sociability and arousal. According to a study aimed at assessing the efficacy and safety of MDMA assisted psychotherapy, it also has the potential to treat PTSD.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best Psychedelic for PTSD is Mescaline. This compound, found in some cactus plants, including the peyote cactus, is an effective treatment for PTSD. Other psychedelic compounds used for treating PTSD include; psilocybin and MDMA.
The FDA-approved drug for treating PTSD is Sertraline (Zoloft). This drug has a high tolerance level and reduces PTSD symptoms in people that take it. However, insomnia is one noticeable side effect of this drug. Other drugs ideal for treating PTSD include; Paroxetine (Paxil), Fluoxetine (Prozac), and Venlafaxine (Effexor).
PTSD disrupts the rhythm of consciousness, affecting every facet of a person's life. However, psychedelics help restore this delicate balance and rhythm of consciousness.
According to research, psychedelics make it easier for people to rewire their neuronal circuits as they induce a state of plasticity. Thereby making them ideal for use in treating PTSD.
This compound works by stimulating the unconscious. It does this by addressing the source of suppressed emotions. It gives people a deeper understanding of their trauma and the reason for their distress. This is why people under the effect of this psilocybin have a higher sensory perception.
Although there is no cure for PTSD, with proper treatment, it is possible to resolve symptoms completely. One way to go about this is by maintaining healthy and positive relationships with people. According to a study, people with more social support often experience less severe PTSD symptoms.