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A surge in psychedelic research in recent years has revealed something quite interesting: several psychedelic drugs are capable of alleviating symptoms of mental disorders with relatively few side effects. Dubbed the psychedelic renaissance, this movement has seen dozens of researchers across the world focus their attention on determining the possible benefits of leveraging psychedelic therapies in mental health treatment.
Given that a large portion of the American population battles with mental illness every day and existing treatments aren’t always effective, safe and efficient psychedelic-assisted therapies will likely aid millions of people in their situations. One of the areas of research that scientists have focused on is the therapeutic potential of psychedelics against mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which often have poor treatment outcomes and significantly disrupt patients’ lives.
Legislators are now asking the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) to okay the research of psychedelic drugs to treat PTSD in army veterans. PTSD is a debilitating mental disorder that is often characterized by extreme anxiety, nightmares, hypervigilance, poor sleep, irritability and flashbacks to traumatic events.
Due to their higher-than-average exposure to very high-pressure situations and traumatic experiences on the battlefield, soldiers are significantly more likely to develop PTSD in their lifetimes.
Representative Dan Crenshaw, a Navy SEAL veteran, told the committee that congressional lawmakers should approve grants to research the potential of using psychedelics to treat traumatic brain injury and PTSD. He urged the committee to “think outside the box,” especially regarding psychedelics such as MDMA, when it comes to treating army vets with brain injuries. Crenshaw also stated the we have a long way to go in regard to treating PTSD and the effects of traumatic brain injury.
Research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics against PTSD would be simple and would allow clinicians to make a positive step toward alleviating brain-related trauma.
Although the military hasn’t invested significantly in psychedelic research, other studies have indicated that hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy) have the potential to deliver long-term relief for patients with PTSD.
Crenshaw, who served several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, said the stories of veterans who benefited from psychedelic therapy are more compelling than the data collected in studies. He noted that the treatment these veterans to shed their suicidal thoughts, “rescue their marriages” and get their lives on track. Furthermore, Crenshaw noted that psychedelic therapy had also helped some veterans stop abusing alcohol and other drugs.
Many for-profit entities such as Compass Pathways PLC (NASDAQ: CMPS) are conducting studies aimed at commercializing various psychedelic treatments for mental health conditions. The results of these studies could give military veterans additional options to consider when they are diagnosed with PTSD or other psychiatric conditions.
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