What This Means For You
Psychedelic therapy is just one potential treatment for addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Can This Companys Positive Results For Psychedelic Combination Treatment Provide Hope For Alcohol And Cocaine Addiction Problems
Tel Aviv, Israel –News Direct– SciSparc Ltd.
There is a high probability that you may know someone battling some form of addiction. Whether its a problem with opioids, alcohol, cocaine, or even using pain meds, an unchecked addiction can be fatal.
Addiction, or substance use disorder , can be a chronic mental health condition that demands urgent attention before it gets out of hand.
Take alcohol abuse, for example the World Health Organization estimates that three million deaths yearly result from the harmful use of alcohol. This represents 5.3% of all deaths.
Overall, 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in disability-adjusted life years .
Looking at the overall drug abuse and addiction globally, around 275 million people used drugs worldwide in 2020, while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders, according to the 2021 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime .
Zooming into the U.S., the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics estimates that nearly half of all people 12 and older in the U.S. have used an illicit substance at least once. Since 2000, almost one million people have died of a drug overdose.
Pharmaceutical companies like Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc. , Viatris Inc. , SciSparc Ltd. , and BioCorRx Inc. are advancing research and therapies aimed at serving the needs of the market.
Crushed By Negative News
After completing a psilocybin study with 60 depressive patients, neuropsychologist Katrin Preller at the University Zürich, one of Meinhardts colleagues in the PsiAlc collaboration, started a study with 60 alcoholics last year. While she cant reveal the preliminary findings yet, she calls the results thus far very, very promising. The first study about depression shows that patients with mental health issues do significantly better after one or two psychedelic treatments under medical supervision. She hopes to get similar results with the ongoing addiction study.
But she admits that even experts like her who spent a decade studying the effects of drug use on the brain dont fully understand all the changes psychedelics cause. To really speak of an effective therapy, we need bigger, controlled studies. TLegal restrictions have made it nearly impossible in the last 30 years to conduct such studies, and one of the problems with double-blind controlled studies involving hallucinogens is that recipients can usually tell if they get a placebo or the real deal.
Cities such as Denver, Oakland and Washington, D.C., have already legalized psychedelics for therapeutic use, and more cities and states, notably California, have announced similar plans In Switzerland, psychiatrists can request the compassionate use of psychedelics for depression, posttraumatic stress and addiction.
*Name changed at the request of the interviewee
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How Psychedelics Rewire The Brain
Psychedelic substances are known to alter thought processes, expand perspectives, and potentially inspire spiritual experiences, including creating or deepening a sense of connection with that beyond self. This is entirely consistent with my lived experience as someone with dozens of decades-ago psychedelic episodes . In this study, participants who received psilocybin twice within the 12 weeks reported meaningful experiences or visions that changed their relationship with addiction.
An Internal Case Study On Psilocybin & Alcoholism
Meet Justin, a sharp and composed 56 year-old man, born in 1966. Though Justins career has boasted much financial and professional success throughout his adult years, his childhood was far from stable. Riddled with emotional abuse at the hand of his own father, Justins trauma coerced a violent struggle with alcoholism that shadowed the entirety of his early adulthood, romantically pursuing him into his late 50s.
For Justin, money was not an issue, over the course of several years he stepped in and out of recovery at some of the worlds premier rehab centers, from luxury estates in Malibu to opulent, first-class programs in Laguna Beach, the seduction of his alcoholism seemed to meet no end. His addiction led him astray from his wife and family and its at this point, when Justins search for alternative treatments would land him in the evocative embrace of intentional psilocybin use.
In June 2021, Justin came to us with an admittedly well-informed consensus on these emerging treatments. Lamenting the prominent challenge of sustaining his sobriety outside the alcohol-proof doors of sober living, Justin allowed us to facilitate his first psilocybin journey with a 6-7 gram dose of the popular strain, Golden Teacher.
**Client name has been changed to preserve anonymity**
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Your Brain On Addiction
In the midst of an active addiction, most substances and habitual behaviors produce eerily similar effects on the brain. For one, addictions severely influence the mechanical trajectory of the default mode network .
As its name suggests, the DMN is responsible for curating those ruminating thoughts that circulate in our heads by default. Think showering, cooking, and even those few minutes before falling into a deep sleep. The DMN essentially maneuvers the conceptual undertones of this radio-like mental static, instinctively filling unconscious gaps of silence with the debris of our contemplative routines.
When our focused attention is absent, this white noise takes the shape of anxious concerns and like a broken record, its enamored by shameful memories of the past, conjuring strategic foresights to compensate for a practical lack of emotional structure and control.
In people suffering from addiction, the anterior DMN demonstrates a significant reduction in resting functional connectivity , catering a complicated relationship between our self-perceived value and our cognitive capacity to exhibit emotional awareness. Sound familiar? If so, this next fact might knock you out of your socks.
Salience attribution can be largely blamed for prompt-triggered relapse. During stages of withdrawal, the DMN is highly involved with craving-related fixations, suppressing rule-based problem solving and goal-directed behaviors of the CEN .
Psychedelic Drug Therapy May Help Treat Alcohol Addiction Study Finds
- NYU Langone Health / NYU Grossman School of Medicine
- Two doses of psilocybin, a compound found in psychedelic mushrooms, reduces heavy drinking by 83 percent on average among heavy drinkers when combined with psychotherapy, a new study shows.
Two doses of psilocybin, a compound found in psychedelic mushrooms, reduces heavy drinking by 83% on average among heavy drinkers when combined with psychotherapy, a new study shows.
Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the investigation involved 93 men and women with alcohol dependence. They were randomly assigned to receive either two doses of psilocybin or an antihistamine placebo. Neither the researchers nor the study participants knew which medication they received. Within an eight-month period from the start of their treatment, those who were given psilocybin reduced heavy drinking by 83% relative to their drinking before the study began. Meanwhile, those who had received antihistamine reduced their drinking by 51%.
Among the other key findings, the study showed that eight months after their first dose, almost half of those who received psilocybin stopped drinking altogether compared with 24% of the placebo group.
The new study, publishing Aug. 24 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, is the first placebo-controlled trial to explore psilocybin as a treatment for excessive alcohol consumption, according to the study authors.
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What We Know About The Role Of Psychedelics In Therapy
As well as Dr. Bogenschutzs previous research on psilocybin and alcohol use disorder, other studies have suggested that psilocybin treatment could be used to help treat anxiety and depression in people with cancer, and research around psilocybin treatment for tobacco dependency has also been carried out. Another study found that adults who had used psilocybin at some time in their life were 30% less likely to have opioid use disorder.
David Golding, recovery coach and founder of Sober Lifestyle Coaching LLC, explains that these are early days for the use of psychoactive medicines in treating depression, anxiety, and even alcohol use disorder, but that research around psychedelic substances like psilocybin has been around for a long time.
Trials were halted over half a century ago due to legislation brought in under the presidencies of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon. However, in the last 30 years, theres been something of a revival in terms of human psychedelic research.
It is thought that the use of psychedelics somehow resets the brain, via the impact on serotonin receptors in the brain, explains Golding. Serotonin is considered a natural mood regulator, and mental health conditions such as depression also have their roots directly in the areas of the brain involved in the uptake of serotonin.
Although the mechanism is not fully understood, there is ample evidence to suggest that psychedelics have a positive impact on the action of serotonin in the brain.
How Does Psychedelic Therapy Help With Addiction
Weâre still learning how psychedelics work on addiction and create lasting personality change.
Psychedelics may change how brain networks communicate and help us grow new neurons. Some scholars believe that psychedelics have the ability to change neurotransmitters and effectively âresetâ our brains. Psychedelic experiences can give us a new perspective on our lives, or help us think differently about ourselves and the world .
Here are a few psychedelic substances that could help with addiction, as well as how theyâre believed to work:
Research into psychedelics for alcohol addiction goes as far back as the 1950s, when therapists began studying LSD to treat their patents. Meta-analysis of this research has shown a large potential benefit, pointing current research towards LSD therapy for addiction .
These early researchers believed that LSD gave them the ability to compress years of therapeutic interactions into just one or two sessions. After a few of these intense sessions, patients had a new sense of self. They could emerge with a new paradigm for their addiction and their life5 .
LSD isnât the only psychedelic that has shown promise in addiction treatment. One small 2015 study used psilocybin with Motivational Enhancement Therapy to treat alcohol use disorder, and found that participants were able to cut their drinking days in half on average . A larger, phase 3 trial is now being planned.
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The Rebirth Of Psychedelic Treatment For Alcoholism
Disclaimer: These thoughts do not reflect the opinions or views of Alcohol Free Social Life.com but are those of the author. This is not intended as medical advice or a recommendation to try the substances referred to in the article.
Using psychedelics as a treatment for alcoholism is nothing new. Since the 1950s scientists have put their time and effort into researching how psychedelics work and finding their practical applications in modern medicine.
However, because of legal issues and government regulations, our knowledge of psychedelics, including their potential in treating drug and alcohol addiction, is limited.
With recent FDA approval for clinical trials on MDMA as a form of psychiatric therapy, the conversation surrounding psychedelic drugs as medicine has once again taken the spotlight.
The return of research into psychedelics is moving slowly, with many new drugs showing potential in treating alcoholism. These new findings expand on historical research that was once considered novel.
The Advent of LSD for Alcoholism: Humphry Osmond was the first major psychiatric pioneer in the field of psychedelic treatment for alcoholism. During the 1950s and 1960s, Osmond conducted experiments treating alcoholics with LSD a potent psychedelic discovered in 1938.
The results were very promising. 40-45 percent of their patients were still sober after a one-year periodgreat results for any alcohol rehabilitation study.
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What Are The Drawbacks To Treating Addiction With Psychedelics
Depending on the substance, there are some significant risks associated with psychedelics and addiction recovery.
LSD can cause traumatic experiences, commonly called bad trips, that can have long-lasting effectsincluding mood swings and even flashbacks.
Vomiting and diarrhea are common when taking ayahuasca, as are strong visual hallucinations, euphoria, fear, and paranoia. Overdoses of ayahuasca may cause coma or even death, although there are few reports of fatalities.
In large doses, ibogaine can also cause hallucinations, as well as agitation, muscle spasms and weakness, heart arrhythmias, seizures, and paralysis. High doses of ibogaine can be fatal.
Since the side effects of ibogaine can be deadly, some researchers have sought chemicals that have a similar impact on alcohol dependence without the risks. Savant HWP, a pharmaceutical company based in California, developed 18-MC, a drug that is chemically related to ibogaine. Mind Medicine Inc acquired 18-MC, and it is currently in clinical trials to determine its effectiveness for treating opioid use disorder.
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Alcohol Use Disorder Is Notoriously Hard To Treat
Our findings strongly suggest that psilocybin therapy is a promising means of treating alcohol use disorder, a complex disease that has proven notoriously difficult to manage, explains senior study author and psychiatrist Michael Bogenschutz, MD, director of the NYU Langone Center for Psychedelic Medicine.
As research into psychedelic treatment grows, we find more possible applications for mental health conditions, adds Bogenschutz.
Beyond alcohol use disorder, this approach may prove useful in treating other addictions such as cigarette smoking and abuse of cocaine and opioids.
However, Bogenschutz mentions that the research team next plans to conduct a larger, multicenter trial to really understand how psilocybin can help those with alcohol addiction.
More work needs to be done, he explains. There needs to be clarification on appropriate dosing before the drug is ready for widespread clinical use, Bogenschutz concludes.
How Psilocybin May Rewire The Brain
After the first two sessions, the 93 participants were offered sessions of psilocybin either third doses or the first ones for the control group and additional therapy. Participants who received psilocybin two times within the 12 weeks reported meaningful experiences or visions that changed their relationships with addiction.
Everyones experience is different, Bogenschutz said. Peoples brains appear to be able to kind of tailor the effects of the experience, depending on what they come to the situation with and what they need out of the experience.
Researchers say they still dont understand to what extent such experiences work to reverse addiction, but it appears to play a big role.
The science shows that in virtually all the psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy trials for substance use disorders, greater mystical experience was associated with greater therapeutic change, said Dr. Chris Stauffer, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University, who is leading clinical work on psilocybin through the VA Portland Health Care System and isnt associated with the new study. Ultimately, we dont really know yet how this treatment works.
On a physical level, psilocybin-assisted therapy may reshape the neural networks in the brain that are associated with addiction-related habits and could help people escape rigid thinking patterns, Stauffer said.
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Psilocybin May Help Treat Alcohol Addiction Study Shows
By the time Jon Kostas was 25, he was desperate to beat his alcohol addiction. He had started drinking at age 13 and had cycled through different treatmentsgoing to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, taking pharmaceutical medications, and trying in-patient rehabbut nothing worked. Ever since 2015, however, when he took part in a clinical trial that combined talk therapy and psilocybinthe psychedelic active ingredient in magic mushroomsKostas has quit drinking. Im forever grateful and indebted, he says. This saved my life.
A randomized clinical trial, published Aug. 24 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that in combination with psychotherapy, psilocybin helped treat peoples alcohol use disorder. Analyzing a group of 93 patients with the conditionKostas among them for 32 weeks, researchers found that patients who had received psilocybin plus psychotherapy reduced their drinking by 83% within eight months of their first dose, compared to 51% among those who had received a placebo. Nearly half of people treated with psilocybin stopped drinking completely, compared to less than a quarter of those whod only received the placebo.
What Does Psychedelic Therapy For Addiction Look Like
Any therapy for addiction and recovery can only begin once a patient is stabilized from active abuse. In the case of alcohol addiction, detox and withdrawal are the first steps before psychedelics should be considered. Itâs important to do this under guidance of medical professionals.
After being stabilized, the next step for patients with addiction is often to choose between inpatient and outpatient treatment. Severe addictions may necessitate more supervision from therapists or medical staff. Being among triggering environments may lead people back to addictive habits and substances.
Patients need to decide for themselves when they are ready to embark on the journey of addiction recovery. Itâs important for the patient to be a willing part of their own recovery process if theyâre expected to sustain abstinence. Yet even in some cases when study participants were not interested in quitting a substance, psychedelics have helped reduce cravings10.
Psychedelic therapy is delivered in a combination of regular therapy sessions and active drug sessions. The first few sessions are used to build rapport with the patient, and to establish expectations for the active drug sessions.
During active sessions, patients typically lay down in a low-lit room with their eyes covered. The therapist may choose music to play in the background. These sessions may last about six hours, with the therapist in direct supervision for the duration.
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