miércoles, 14 de diciembre de 2022

The Psychedelics as Medicine Report (IV)



The Psychedelics as Medicine Report (III)

Psychedelics have taken a torturous path through medicine; resolving early issues of set and setting, mimicry versus cause of psychosis, arguments about toxicity and regulatory challenges. The socio-political climate changed significantly in the late 1980s. And now, in the twenty first century, psychedelic research is well established again. But this time the medical profession’s slant is different. There is less novelty about cultural psychedelia and less emphasis on changing the world. Today, the general public understand drugs far better than in the 1960s. They recognise that it is methamphetamine, crack and alcohol that cause dependence and destruction, whe- reas that drugs like LSD, psilocybin, cannabis and MDMA can be used safely. They are simply too pharmacology savvy to fall for the blanket and unsophisticated “Just Say No.” Together with tremendous advances in neuroimaging, providing visualisation not only of the anatomical structure of the brain but also its direct physiological changes in real time, psychedelics have become the ideal tools for a bespoke approach to neuroscience. In the dying embers of the War On Drugs, the therapeutic validity of psychedelics is impossible to ignore.

Global institutions are working in harmony towards a shared goal. But there remain challenges. There is little support from the pharmaceutical industry; perhaps unsurprising given that psychedelic treatments use drugs that are out of patent. Plus, psychedelic therapy is the antithesis of the traditional maintenance therapies we use in modern psychiatry. Through focusing on objective scientific data neuroscientific studies raise the profile of contemporary research and pull in greater mainstream acceptance for the field. Meanwhile, cross-cultural studies are teaching us about the holistic management of mental disorders. 

The concepts of Mindfulness and Wholeness are now commonplace in psychiatry; broadening our minds as to what we consider “psychedelic.”

Psychiatry today is where nineteenth century general medicine was before the discovery of antibiotics; expert at the identification and classification of common disorders but lacking globally agreed treatments. It could be that psychedelic therapies, however, can offer psychiatry the best opportunity to effectively tackle trauma using guided psychotherapeutic techniques; driven by a holistic, naturalistic and personalised care approach that is currently lacking. Psychedelic psychiatry is in desperate need of good PR if it is to realistically meet modern demands and become clinically deliverable for large populations. This is our challenge for the future. Given the pace of recent clinical research, we are clearly in the midst of a psychedelic renaissance and the best is yet to come. Watch this space

The History of Psychedelics in Medicine / Ben Sessa 


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