Can We Treat Mental Illness with LSD? | MedicarePlanFinder

Can We Treat Mental Illness with LSD?

Anastasia Iliou General, News

Did you know that LSD was originally created as a blood stimulant? That’s right, it was never intended to be used as a psychedelic drug. In fact, from the drug’s inception up until 1967 (when it became illegal), psychiatrists experimented with using LSD as a treatment for depression.

LSD Treatment Testing in 2018

Though it is illegal in the United States, German researchers have been able to test LSD treatments for depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. The researchers have volunteers interact with a virtual person. They’ve found that the volunteers that had taken LSD had a hard time focusing and recognizing that the virtual icon was a person. In fact, the volunteers with LSD in their bodies had less brain activity in the areas of the brain that help with communication and self-perception.

Researchers came to the conclusion that the same brain activity, or lack thereof, can be found in patients with depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Depressed persons usually have increased self-awareness, and those with schizophrenia have decreased self-awareness.

Creating a Cure with LSD and Mushrooms

When volunteers in the German experiment took both LSD and a drug that blocks the serotonin 2A neurotransmitter receptor, they had better focus. In theory, this means that the serotonin 2A blocking drug might be able to help improve schizophrenic symptoms. Also, combining LSD with the serotonin blocker may help increase focus for those with depression or anxiety. Other studies have shown that psilocybin, the chemical found in “magic mushrooms,” might work in the same way.

Harmful Side Effects of LSD

While experiments have proven that LSD can improve certain symptoms, what is the cost? The volunteers in the experiments were regarded as “healthy,” meaning they did not have mental disorders. If the volunteers had mental disorders, would the results have been different?

We know that LSD has toxic side effects that could worsen symptoms of depression, anxiety, and especially schizophrenia, so is it really a good idea to attempt to use LSD as a treatment option? LSD leads to psychotic episodes, flashbacks, heart failure, and more – even after just one use. Some users have reported having psychotic episodes years after taking the drug.

The Future of LSD Treatments

At this point, we can’t say for sure whether or not LSD can be used to treat mental illness. What we do know is that scientists are testing the theory. Who knows? Your children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren might be able to receive a prescription for LSD. We sure hope they don’t need to!

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