Psychedelic compounds may treat certain psychiatric disorders: Research

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Washington, Nov 12 (IANS) Psychedelic compounds, like those found in various mushroom species, show promise in treating psychiatric disorders, including phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and substance use disorder, new research has revealed.

Research in animal models suggests that the effects of psilocybin, a substance found in mushroom species, can reduce physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and low-dose of psilocybin removes fear.

Fear-related psychological disorders such as phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder are associated with excessive responses to fear memories.

Researchers treated rats with the psychedelic compound psilocybin after training them to associate a sound with a fear-inducing stimulus.

Male rats learned that the tone no longer predicted the foot shock more quickly when treated with psilocybin.

Conversely, female rats were slower to learn that the tone did not predict a shock when treated with the psychedelic.

The findings also suggest that the ability of psilocybin to aid in behavioural therapies for fear-related psychological disorders may depend on the sex of the individual.

“Studies suggest that certain psychedelic compounds show promise for treating a range of psychiatric disorders,” said Frederick Barrett, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness.

“The new research is crucial in understanding what factors may influence the efficacy of these compounds, including sex, dose, and timing of administration,” he added.

Researchers are looking to novel therapeutic approaches, including the use of psychedelic compounds and interest in psychedelic treatments is growing.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently given breakthrough drug status to some psychedelic compounds for the treatment of depression and PTSD.

The new research was supported by national funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health and private funding organisations.

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