Emory University investigators are exploring the use of psychedelic drugs as a potential therapy for major depressive disorder. According to a recent local news broadcast, a local woman has seen her life turnaround that’s to the controversial intervention.
WSBTV Atlanta’s Tom Regan recently looked into “magic mushrooms” and how there is a growing movement to use this controversial substance for patients struggling with depression.
Post-Cancer Study Anxiety
A patient, Dinah Bazer, went through a study at New York University in 2012. After two years of no ovarian cancer, anxiety filled her life again. Reporting to Regan: “I was overwhelmed with fear and anxiety that this thing would come back. Bazer learned of a study utilizing psilocybin to treat cancer-related anxiety. She joined and after a week of therapy she took a psilocybin capsule and rested. She literally went through a psychedelic trip while her therapist guided her to ‘just go with it,’ reported WSBTV. Bazer literally visualized her fear, treated it as almost an independent body and actually yelled at it to leave. Thereafter, the anxiety dissipated and love filled the void.
A follow up from the NYU study five years ago reveals that 60% to 80% of the study participants experienced “clinically significant reductions in depression or anxiety” in addition to ongoing benefits from the previous experimental treatment.
Now Emory University is participating in another psilocybin study led by COMPASS Pathways, working with people struggling with major depressive disorder who are not responding to other treatments.
The study focuses on the Safety and Efficacy of Psilocybin in Participants with Treatment Resistant Depression – a dose-ranging study. Targeting 216 participants, the study includes 23 research sites including Emory University’s Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program.
Emory’s principal investigator, Dr. Boadie Dunlop, psychiatrist, reports, “We’re constantly trying to find alternative ways of helping those people overcome their depression.” Now the study team suggests that psilocybin could help a patient reshape how one thinks and “help people transform the way they understand their connectedness to the world, what they’re going through in a way that reduces the distress.” In the study the patient will take the dose and has an option to put an eye mask on prior to laying down for a 4 to 6-hour trip.
About COMPASS Pathways
Founded in 2016 to introduce a new approach to mental health, they received Breakthrough Therapy designation in Autumn 2018 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its psilocybin therapy to treat depression. The sponsor was founded by George Goldsmith and Ekaterina Malievskaia, who both experienced significant difficulties finding help for a family member with depression years ago. They also encountered that many others struggled with similar feelings hence embarked down a path to do something about it.
Boadie Dunop, Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences