Over the past few years, there has been significantly increased interest in psychedelics among the scientific and mainstream community. Initial studies have found that they can alleviate mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and PTSD, and the media has been full of stories of people who benefited from psychedelic-assisted therapies.
Research shows that veterans and terminal patients stand to benefit a great deal from psychedelic therapies because those treatments have been found to be effective at mitigating conditions that affect these two groups. However, what a lot of people may not know is that women could also benefit greatly from the upsurge in psychedelic research.
Nikhita Singhal, a University of Toronto psychiatry resident, says psychedelics such as MDMA, ketamine and ayahuasca helped her overcome an eating disorder she had suffered from since childhood. Like many people who have undergone psychedelic-assisted therapy, Singhal noted that it was emotionally and psychologically painful.
Describing a specific ayahuasca trip in the presence of her parents, she says that she saw herself as comfortable and content sitting in a storm of chaos because she had lived with the eating disorder for so long that it became entrenched. She couldn’t even imagine seeing herself outside of the storm, but once she went through the psychedelic therapy, she was able to shift her mindset and get to a place where her eating disorder didn’t define her.
Spending her childhood days going in and out of treatment centers led Singhal down her career path in psychiatry. Now that she has benefited from psychedelic-assisted therapy, she is looking to a future where she will be able to administer such treatments to patients herself. Singhal called the impact these therapies can make on patients “mind-blowing,” stating that she has seen patients make impressive leaps in progress that would have otherwise taken years through conventional psychotherapy. They come out of these treatments profoundly and “utterly changed,” Singhal said.
One woman recounted how psychedelics helped her deal with postpartum depression while another said that psilocybin mitigated her premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) symptoms while an ayahuasca trip treated the condition completely.
Women are more likely than men to develop PTSD, depression and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, with one in seven women experiencing severe postpartum syndrome.
With the multitude of psychedelic studies underway across the country, Singhal’s dream of administering psychedelic-assisted therapies could come true. Psychedelic therapies have the potential to treat most of these conditions without the side effects that are often associated with pharmaceutical medications.
Researchers are currently studying psychedelic drugs such as MDMA, ketamine and psilocybin, the main psychoactive agent in magic mushrooms. Those researchers are from the academia as well as from for-profit entities such as Delic Holdings Corp. (CSE: DELC) (OTCQB: DELCF). Some of these studies have already entered phase III clinical tests and could receive FDA approval in the next couple of years.
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