This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Psychedelics as Mental Health Treatment

Mental health is an area of western medicine where there still aren't many treatment options, and many people are helped only somewhat or not at all by what's available.  Recently research into the use of psychedelic drugs for legitimate therapeutic purposes has started up again after being more or less abandoned during the 60s and 70s.  Below is a TED talk about the use of LSD and psilocybin to treat Treatment-Resistant Depression and PTSD.  So far both drugs are showing promise which is  exciting because in the cases of both PTSD and Depression, many patients don't

For Further Study:

Can Magic Mushrooms Unlock Depression? | Rosalind Watts | TEDxOxford

Psychedelics: effects on the human brain and physiology
TED talk about how psychedelic drugs free our minds to think about things in new ways, to think outside the box, to learn and grow from our experiences, and to reframe our past, giving people with PTSD the chance to process and heal.  Some of these drugs also help because they have chemicals that function exactly like serotonin.  This can explain both many of the positives (such as increased and altered sensory perception, feeling connected, enlightenment, awe, etc.) as well as negatives (thoughts of death, panic attacks, etc.).  Use of psychedelics (even after one time) has long term positive effects.  The effects of psychedelics is similar to that of meditation.  Not only do they not lead to addiction they actually treat addiction to other drugs.  They work on the serotonin receptor differently than SSRIs because instead of limiting reuptake (which is problematic), they bind directly to the serotonin receptor (to specific ones maybe?) which is safer and more effective.   

The science of psilocybin and its use to relieve suffering"Leading psychopharmacologist Roland Griffiths discloses the ways that psychedelic drugs can be used to create spiritually meaningful, personally transformative experiences for all patients, especially the terminally ill."

From the article "Could a Club Drug Be the Secret to Curing PTSD?" that has just appeared in the March issue of Elle magazine:
"Ever since Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, prohibiting the use of almost all psychedelics for any purpose, most scientists have regarded consciousness-altering drugs warily, if they thought about them at all. But as the war on drugs wanes and failures of U.S. drug policy become increasingly clear (witness the opioid epidemic), scientists are revisiting research on psychedelics. There are the studies of MDMA for PTSD, and scientists have also begun exploring the drug's potential to treat addiction, depression, and severe anxiety in adults with autism. Other psychedelics are also yielding promising lab results, including psilocybin (the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms), which teams of researchers from Johns Hopkins and New York University found can reduce anxiety and depression in cancer patients."

"Before Ecstasy became famous in the 1990s as the street drug of choice among ravers and curious college kids, a loosely knit network of psychiatrists and psychologists experimented with giving patients medical-grade MDMA, a synthetic compound originally developed by a Merck chemist in the early 1900s, to treat anxiety and depression."

"So far, 77 percent of the participants who have received MDMA in the Boulder pilot no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, according to Marcela Ot'alora, the study's lead investigator. After another clinical trial in Charleston, South Carolina, a similar effect was seen in 83 percent of the group that received MDMA treatment (compared to just 25 percent of the group who received talk therapy alone). Perhaps most encouragingly, three and a half years after the Charleston study was completed, the benefits largely held: Three-quarters of the MDMA-treated patients who'd been deemed clinically free of PTSD remained free of it,"