Magic Mushrooms Could Be the Most Significant Advance in Depression Treatment Since Prozac.

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Magic Mushrooms Could Be the Most Significant Advance in Depression Treatment Since Prozac.

Depression Psilocybin Psychedelic Drugs Psilocybin Psilocybin Psilocybin Psilocybin Psiloc

Aaron Presley, 34, has felt like a shell of a person for most of his adult life, a piece of “trash.” He was imprisoned in a monotonous existence that made it difficult for him to get out of bed in the morning. The soul-crushing, depressing cloud began to lift all at once, and the most significant event of his life began.

Presley reached a turning point while lying on a psychiatrist’s couch at Johns Hopkins University, wearing an eyeshade and listening to a Russian choir perform hymns over a pair of Bose headphones. He’d taken a huge quantity of psilocybin, the active element in what are more widely known as magic mushrooms, and had reached a lucid dreaming state. “Like heaven on earth,” he adds, visions of family and childhood provoked overpowering and long-lost sensations of affection.

Presley was one of 24 volunteers in a tiny trial investigating the efficacy of a combination of psychotherapy and this strong mind-altering medicine to treat depression—an approach that, if approved, might be the most significant advancement in mental health since the 1990s’ Prozac.

Depression affects 320 billion people worldwide and is characterized by feelings of worthlessness, severe apathy, tiredness, and continuous melancholy. In the United States, around 16 million adults, or 7% of the population, suffer from a depression-related condition such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, or dysthymia in a normal year. Approximately one-third of people seeking help will not respond to verbal or traditional medication therapy.

For these hopeless instances, magic-mushroom therapy offers some hope. The therapy was four times more successful than standard antidepressants in a Hopkins trial published last year in JAMA Psychiatry. After one week, two-thirds of subjects had a greater than 50% reduction in depression symptoms; a month later, more than half were declared in remission, meaning they were no longer depressed.

Larger clinical trials are currently being conducted in the United States and Europe in order to gain regulatory approval. Breakthrough treatment was supplied to two studies that enrolled over 300 patients in ten countries. This is a condensed version of the information.

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