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He creates a chilling picture of the illnesses that no one can see, but that many confront in their daily life.
Researchers have found that low doses of psilocybin, the active substance in magic mushrooms, help mice overcome conditioned fear response, opening up the possibility of use of psilocybin in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The research study titled "Effects of psilocybin on hippocampal neurogenesis and extinction of trace fear conditioning," published in the June issue of the journal of Experimental Brain Research, by a team of scientists, including Dr. Briony Catlow of the Lieber Institute of Brain Development and Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, professor at the University of South Florida, studied the effect of low doses of the hallucinogen psilocybin in mice conditioned to exhibit "fear response" to an auditory tone linked to a painful stimulus, specifically, an electric shock delivered soon after the mice were exposed to the auditory tone.Read the full article at Digital Journal
The researchers found that mice administered low doses of psilocybin overcame the conditioned fear response faster than mice that did not receive the drug.
According to the study co-author, Sanchez-Ramos, "They stopped freezing; they lost their fear [faster]."
Although, the results apply only to mice, the researchers believe it paves the way for further studies exploring the possibility of using the psychoactive compound to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in humans.
Mental Health Watchdog Launches Psychiatric Drug Side Effects Database—Search All Drug Regulatory Agency Warnings, Studies & Adverse Reactions Reports
The mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights, has taken its commitment to inform and protect the public on mental health issues to a new level with the recent launch of its redesigned website (http://www.cchrint.org) and enhanced psychiatric drug side effects database.
Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) August 14, 2013
With one in five Americans currently taking prescribed psychiatric drugs (according to Medco Health Solutions), the mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), is concerned the public are not being accurately informed of the documented risks. Taking its commitment to inform and protect the public on mental health issues to a new level, CCHR has launched a comprehensive redesign of its website (http://www.cchrint.org) andenhanced drug database which features 211 psychiatric drug regulatory agency warnings, 223 studies, and over 400,000 adverse reactions reported to the US FDA by doctors, pharmacists, health care providers and consumers.
Wholly aware that trying to sift through the massive amount of data available on the web can be daunting to even the most seasoned researcher, CCHR painstakingly created the definitive guide to documented psychiatric drug side effects, taking the official FDA adverse reaction reports (MedWatch data), international drug regulatory agency warnings and studies, then summarized the often complex information into an easy, user-friendly format for consumers, researchers and policy makers.
Read the full list at PRWEB
By: Rachael Rettner
Published: 07/09/2013 02:03 PM EDT on LiveScience
Published: 07/09/2013 02:03 PM EDT on LiveScience
Is Ecstasy the Key to Alleviating Autism Anxiety?
Autism resists both definitions and treatment within the medical community. But the strange historical interpretation of autistic behavior and symptoms has led to novel experimental treatments for the disorder. Sometimes a disease that doesn’t fit neatly into the medical paradigm must go outside that paradigm in search of nontraditional treatment options.
Because autism presents itself in such a variety of ways—from individuals who are completely nonverbal to those with more aggressive, disorganized behaviors—it resists a definitive treatment protocol. In fact, there are no pharmacological interventions that “treat” autism.
Instead, psychiatrists are focused on treating co-morbid conditions, often things like depression, anxiety, and social isolation. So, today, someone on the autism spectrum might take an antidepressant or an atypical antipsychotic medication to improve their experience in the world, but these medications aren’t correcting any neurological changes associated with autism itself. Now, there's building interest in testing the clinical use of psychedelics. Last week, the FDA approved a research study protocol in which adults diagnosed with both autism and social anxiety will be given the psychedelic drug MDMA in hopes that they’ll experience a long-term reduction in anxiety.
Alicia Danforth, a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology who focuses on psychedelic research, recently completed a research study on adults with autism who have self-administered ecstasy. Because of how difficult it has traditionally been to get research studies through the FDA approval process, many studies investigating the effects of psychedelic compounds are in fact non-controlled, survey studies on individuals who have illegally and independently used psychedelic drugs. The purpose of this self-administration ranged from those who were using it purely recreationally, to individuals curious about the potential therapeutic effects of MDMA trying, at least partially, to "self-medicate."
The results of her survey study were positive and promising, though of course far more rigorous studies are necessary to strengthen the connection between MDMA use and improvement in social anxiety in the autistic. Danforth said that over half of the people she interviewed spontaneously made reports in improvement in social anxiety.
DANFORTH STATES THAT OVER HALF OF THE PEOPLE SHE INTERVIEWED SPONTANEOUSLY MADE REPORTS IN IMPROVEMENT IN SOCIAL ANXIETY.
When asked if structured research studies with autistic people and MDMA will be similar in format to the PTSD trials already underway, Danforth said that there’s a “general consensus in the field that conventional psychotherapies don’t work particularly well with autistic individuals. There are some barriers to developing that trust and therapeutic rapport, so we’re really reconsidering what MDMA-assisted therapy will look like.” So perhaps it’s the actual experience of trust enabled by the drug, rather than any specific talk therapy that takes place while under the influence, that is ultimately beneficial.
It’s important to note that those on the autism spectrum do not necessarily want to be “cured” of their autism, to become neurotypical. Many of the manifestations (or symptoms) of autism can be seen as beneficial—for example, increased ability to focus on details and highly specialized interests. However, the difficulty in relating to others can take a psychological toll. New research into psychedelics and autism treatment is focused on this aspect of the disorder: they want to ease co-existing anxiety, not “fix” neurological differences.
Psychedelics operate in a way that is fundamentally different from the most common pharmacological treatments for mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. These drugs—things like SSRIs and atypical antipsychotics—are maintenance therapies, taken over years or decades to suppress symptoms. Psychedelic drugs operate on the principle that a person can alter their perception of the world in a more permanent way via transient, controlled psychedelic experiences. So while a person who undergoes MDMA-assisted therapy might continue to take some supportive therapy (like an antidepressant) after the experience, the hope is that they would have a sustained improvement in their social anxiety as a result of the therapy.
For Combat Veterans Suffering From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, 'Fear Circuitry' In The Brain Never Rests
May 18, 2013
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or under-react in response to stressful tasks, such as recalling a traumatic event or reacting to a photo of a threatening face. Now, researchers at NYU School of Medicine have explored for the first time what happens in the brains of combat veterans with PTSD in the absence of external triggers.
Their results, published in Neuroscience Letters, and presented today at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatry Association in San Francisco, show that the effects of trauma persist in certain brain regions even when combat veterans are not engaged in cognitive or emotional tasks, and face no immediate external threats. The findings shed light on which areas of the brain provoke traumatic symptoms and represent a critical step toward better diagnostics and treatments for PTSD.
A chronic condition that develops after trauma, PTSD can plague victims with disturbing memories, flashbacks, nightmares and emotional instability. Among the 1.7 million men and women who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an estimated 20% have PTSD. Research shows that suicide risk is higher in veterans with PTSD. Tragically, more soldiers committed suicide in 2012 than the number of soldiers who were killed in combat in Afghanistan that year.
"It is critical to have an objective test to confirm PTSD diagnosis as self reports can be unreliable," says co-author Charles Marmar, MD, the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Psychiatry and chair of NYU Langone's Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Marmar, a nationally recognized expert on trauma and stress among veterans, heads The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center for the Study of Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury at NYU Langone Medical Center.