Treatment with two naturally occurring psychedelics was associated with reduced depressive and anxiety symptoms is trauma-exposed US Special Operations Forces Veterans (SOFVs), according to a new study. Perhaps most surprising to investigators, however, was that treatment was also associated with improved cognitive scores in the veterans, many of whom had traumatic brain injuries.
Investigators reviewed clinical charts of 86 SOFVs who received psychedelic-assisted treatment at a therapeutic program in Mexico, 86% of whom sustained head injuries during deployment.
On the first day of the study, participants received a single oral dose (10 mg/kg) of ibogaine hydrochloride in a group setting with two to five other attendees and spent the next day reflecting on their experience with program staff.
On the third day, participants inhaled 5-MeO-DMT in three incremental doses for a total of 50 mg and were then invited to reflect on their experience both individually and with the group of peers who shared the experience.
Follow-up surveys at 1, 3, and 6 months posttreatment between September 2019 to March 2021 measured symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cognitive functioning, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and quality of life.
There were significant improvements in self-reported PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, insomnia severity, anger, and a large improvement in self-reported satisfaction with life (P
Participants reported significant increases in psychological flexibility (P P P
Treatment was also associated with a significant reduction in suicidal ideation from pretreatment to 1-month follow-up (P
“If consistently replicated, this could have major implications for the landscape of mental health care if people are able to experience significant and sustained healing with 3 days of intensive treatment, relative to our traditionally available interventions that require 8–12 weeks of weekly therapy (e.g., gold standard talk therapies such as [prolonged exposure] or [cognitive processing therapy]), or daily use of a pharmacotherapy such as [a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor] for months to years,” study authors write.
Alan Kooi Davis, PhD, of the Center for Psychedelic Drug Research and Education at Ohio State University led the study, which was published online on September 21 in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
Study assessments are based solely on self-report measures. Future research should implement carefully designed batteries that include both self-report and gold-standard clinician-administered measures to better capture symptom improvement and other information. The sample also lacked diversity with regard to race, religion, and socioeconomic status.
The study was funded Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions. Davis is a board member at Source Resource Foundation and a lead trainer at Fluence. Full disclosures are included in the original article
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Publish date : 2023-10-24 16:18:56
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