Magic mushroom: A potential cure for depression

Magic mushroom: A potential cure for depression

When Robin Williams said “all it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are,” he personified the mental agony that a person goes through during distress and sadness.

To live with depression is nothing less than carrying a heavy weight on one’s chest, without knowing the reason and purpose why someone is bearing the problem and for how long. As per a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one out of 20 Americans who were 12 years and older reported current depression two weeks prior to the report in 2009-2012. With almost 350 million people suffering from depression worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is a mental illness that is nothing less than a global epidemic.

A recent study by the Imperial College London, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, King’s College London, University College London, the Royal London Hospital, and the Beckley Foundation suggested that magic mushrooms can be a powerful tool to cure depression.

Psilocybin can help treat severe depression

Published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, the study focused on the properties of magic mushrooms containing a psychoactive substance called psilocybin, which can cause hallucinations and a feeling of euphoria. As part of the study, the researchers enrolled 12 participants who experienced moderate to severe depression and did not benefit from any other treatment. To find out if the compound can be used to treat depression, the researchers administered two doses of psilocybin to the participants.

It was observed that the participants tolerated the drug well, displaying only a few side effects, such as headaches, nausea, confusion, etc. Of them, eight participants showed no symptoms of depression even after one week of the treatment and the remaining showed complete recovery from the mental disease after three months of the treatment.  

Since magic mushrooms are categorized as class A drugs, the researchers warn people not to use the drug on their own as it is illegal to possess the drug and may result in a prison term. “This isn’t a magic cure, but even so the effects at this stage do look promising,” said lead author Dr. Carhart-Harris from Imperial College London.

He also said that there is an urgent need for new treatments to deal with depression, and the study shows that psilocybin is a promising area of further research. However, larger trials are required to understand whether the positive effects of the substance translate into long-term benefits.

Seeking treatment

Depression is a debilitating disease that prevents a person to feel the joy around him and live life to the full. As per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, symptoms of depression are not transient and may include inability to concentrate, constant fatigue, feelings of restlessness, lack of ability to remember things and continual attempts at ending one’s life. It is a serious issue that needs immediate attention. Caregivers need to conduct a more holistic review of a person’s history with depression and anxiety and explore other potential risk factors that could result in a sudden and unexpected episode.

Treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) or use of antidepressant medication can help a person come out of depression. However, healthcare providers can help patients by understanding their requirements and recommend therapy accordingly.

If you or your loved one is battling depression and is looking for recovery, you may call the Texas Depression Treatment Helpline for information on the right kind of depression treatment in Texas. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-827-0282 or chat online to know about various depression treatment centers in Texas.