Welcome to the Topic “Psilocybin for PTSD”

As more and more people become aware of their mental health and the possibility of trying out psychological treatment, there comes a time when there are too many people who are struggling. Depending on the illness or condition, mental health care requires professional psychological and medical treatment. While some may be able to make do with psychological therapy, others require medical attention to aid in managing their symptoms and helping them live better lives. 

Unfortunately, sometimes even the tried and tested medicines don’t work. Every person has a differently wired brain, so it may not come as a surprise that every person reacts differently to medications – some may only experience the side effects without receiving any relief from their mental turmoil. 

Most times, in these cases, the professional may recommend psychological therapy. Both psychological and medical treatment are meant to work in tandem with each other, with joint reliance on both of them to maximize healing and recovery. However, in some cases with severe mental disorders, medication may be necessary for the individual to be able to deal with their psychological problems effectively. One such condition is PTSD. 

What is PTSD?

Psilocybin for PTSD

PTSD is somewhat of a buzzword these days, but few are aware of its severity and prevalence. PTSD is short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is an intensely alternated mental state wrought with anxiety, paranoia, and depression following a traumatic event. In fact, their mental state is so heavily changed that they may find it challenging, if not impossible, to perform daily functions. 

For such a condition, it becomes essential to use psychological treatments and medications in conjunction. This is because besides the psychological effects, the patient may be dealing with, they also may experience a lack of sleep, loss of appetite, intense anxiety, and other symptoms that must be managed before they can entirely focus on their mental recovery. The problem is that there are only so many practical, tried, and tested medications on the market. Besides antidepressants and antibiotics, patients may engage in psychotherapy. However, sometimes, even the combinations of these two treatments do not produce the results desperately needed. 

As the need for medication rises, medical professionals have begun experimenting with alternative types of medication. Specifically, recent research focuses on magic mushrooms’ potential as a treatment. 

How can psychedelic mushrooms be used for treatment?

Magic mushrooms or psychedelic mushrooms are increasingly being used in research to observe the effects of the drug on individuals. These mushrooms carry an ingredient known as psilocybin – this psychedelic compound stimulates your neural connections and brain cells. Because the drug is mainly taken for abuse or recreation, the amount taken usually results in vivid hallucinations and a changed state of mind. 

However, that does not mean that the material itself is harmful – as with any drug, the user is responsible for the effects. There is no doubt that psilocybin has the potential to stimulate neurogenesis. An individual suffering from PTSD may greatly benefit from such material. 

Psilocybin is a substance that mainly targets the hippocampus. This part of the brain is responsible for emotions and memory, both of which are the primary functions impacted by PTSD. Patients with PTSD may find it extremely difficult to control their emotions and regulate them in a  way that benefits their emotional, mental, and physical health. In addition, because PTSD is a result of an incredibly traumatic event, the affected individual usually loses their recollection of the events. This is because the memory of the event is so harmful and upsetting that the brain decides that the individual is better off and healthier by keeping that painful experience repressed. 

That said, an individual must learn to recover from that trauma, and for that, they need control over their emotions and memories. Because psilocybin can potentially repair neural connections, increase communication and improve the growth of new brain cells, the brain can learn new ways to process events, adapt to new circumstances, and heal from the painful past. 

Psilocybin for PTSD

How does psilocybin impact the brain?

Psilocybin also stimulates the neurotransmitter of serotonin. This particular chemical is essentially a mood booster. Varying levels of serotonin can greatly impact one’s mood and, consequently, the quality of their life. Individuals who have PTSD almost always experience depression as a comorbid condition. The stress and anxiety of the trauma, along with the hopelessness of depression, can completely alter one’s life, and one of the reasons is the imbalance of serotonin. Because of the mood-boosting properties of psilocybin, it is possible to incorporate it into the treatment of such patients and help improve their mood. A better mood improves how your day goes, and consecutive good days make it easier for your mind to destress and focus on the good things in life. 

With all that said, it is essential to keep in mind that psychedelic mushrooms and other drugs are still widely illegal throughout the world. This is mainly due to the chances of the drugs being abused for recreation and leisure and further harming the users. Furthermore, there is always a possibility that medical professionals and scientists do not abide by ethics and administer distorted amounts of the drug to further their research. 

In addition to those complaints, it must be noted that the population in question is extremely vulnerable to any significant changes, physical and mental. Unfortunately, there is not enough proof for the usefulness of psilocybin in treating PTSD. These people have already suffered too much trauma in their lives to be subjected to an entirely new harmful experience due to intake of the drug. As of now, it is simply too inhumane to administer this drug freely – the risk is too high. Considering the hallucinogenic properties, it is more probable that the substance ends up hurting the affected individuals more than helping them. 

The possibility of this substance being incorporated into psychological treatment is low, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist. More research needs to be conducted regarding the use of psilocybin in psychological treatments for PTSD.

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