Psychedelics may help treat PTSD—and the VA is intrigued

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Demand from veterans for psychedelic medicine is poised to explode as research suggests it might help with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Psilocybin mushrooms stand ready for harvest in a humidified"fruiting chamber" in Connecticut. With recent studies suggesting psychedelic substances—such as psilocybin and MDMA—can help to combat anxiety, depression, and PTSD, the VA announced it would begin investigating these compounds as treatments for veterans.Last month the U.S.

For these reasons, even “gold standard” trauma-based psychotherapies such as prolonged exposure and cognitive processing therapy may be less effective in veterans. One veteran who made such a trip was Jesse Gould, a former Army Ranger. During a week-long retreat in Peru in 2017 he had four experiences with ayahuasca, a brew made from several plants and shrubs containing psychedelic compounds used in some indigenous South American cultures.“The VA should be an advocate for veterans, so it makes sense for them to conduct research,” Gould says. Even if the U.S.

Alarmed by his behavior, Gould went to a Veterans Affairs clinic and was diagnosed with PTSD. He recalls being told at a VA hospital that antidepressant medications might blunt his symptoms but that he’d mostly have to live with the disease. Gould learned about ayahuasca from a podcast and booked a retreat in Peru in 2017. He didn’t know anyone who had done this and felt it was a drastic but necessary step. “I was treading water in my life….

“People are down there for a couple of days to a week and then they have to go home and be back in their same environment that they were struggling in,” they say. And while some clinics and programs, including Heroic Hearts, provide what Davis says is crucial ongoing psychological support in the months following treatment, not all do.

Source: Healthcare Press (


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