First Ever Human Trial Finds Magic Mushrooms Beat Severe Depression.

Get ready world, “magic” mushrooms, which contain the psychoactive compound psilocybin, may soon become the standard go-to for reversing what the World Health Organization says is the number one cause of disability on the planet: depression.

A brand new first of its kind study published in The Lancet reports that psilocybin mushrooms were able to lift the severe depression of all twelve human volunteer participants, even though they had been struggling with the disease for an average of over seventeen years and despite that fact that none of the subjects had found relief with multiple rounds of standard anti-depressant medication.

“This is the first time that psilocybin has been investigated as a potential treatment for major depression,” says lead study author Dr Robin Carhart-Harris of the Imperial College London, where the study took place. “Treatment-resistant depression is common, disabling and extremely difficult to treat. New treatments are urgently needed, and our study shows that psilocybin is a promising area of future research.”

Via: The Lancet

Via: The Lancet

What is most remarkable about the study is that the depression symptoms lifted considerably following just a single treatment dose of psilocybin for every participant in the study, and for a majority of them the antidepressant effects of the mushrooms were still in effect three months after the dosing.

Amazingly, five of the original twelve severely depressed patients were in complete remission from depression three months after the study took place, even though they were following no other treatment plan.

“Previous animal and human brain imaging studies have suggested that psilocybin may have effects similar to other antidepressant treatments,” says Professor David Nutt, who co-authored the study. “Psilocybin targets the serotonin receptors in the brain, just as most antidepressants do, but it has a very different chemical structure to currently available antidepressants and acts faster than traditional antidepressants.”

Depression is usually treated with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which not only have a long list of negative side effects associated with them, including dizziness, insomnia, headaches, and even lower birth weights in infants, but need to be taken on a daily basis as well.

Psilocybin mushrooms, on the other hand, are entirely natural and do not need to be taken every day in order for one to experience their profound anti-depressive properties. They can be consumed when needed, and their benefit can last for weeks, months, or even years after each session.

“The key observation that might eventually justify the use of a drug like psilocybin in treatment-resistant depression is demonstration of sustained benefit in patients who previously have experienced years of symptoms despite conventional treatments, which makes longer-term outcomes particularly important,” says Professor Philip Cowen, a clinical scientist at the University of Oxford, in a linked comment on the study.

The truth is that a fast-acting and completely natural single dose anti-depressant that actually has higher remission rates than any other current treatment available could totally revolutionize the way depression is currently handled in mainstream medicine. Mother Nature has proven herself superior to chemical cocktails once again.

The only thing standing in the way is the law of course, as psilocybin mushrooms are still classified under Schedule I, despite this study, other similar findings, and their long history of medicinal and sacred use in indigenous cultures.

Antidepressants Aren’t Enough To Treat Severe Depression; Should Be Coupled With Therapy, Too

Those suffering from severe depression, which the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionestimates is one in 10 adults in the United States, may not be a stranger to antidepressants. What they may be unfamiliar with is the concept their prescription is more effective when paired with cognitive therapy.

As described by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, cognitive therapy is a form of treatment that focuses on the kind of thinking that leads to self-destructive behavior. And a study published in JAMA Psychiatry finds this particular therapy is an important part of the treatment equation.

Study authors worked with 452 outpatients with chronic or recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD), treating half with antidepressants and the other half with antidepressants and therapy over the course of three and a half years. The objective was to treat patients until they were in recovery, or going 26 consecutive weeks without a relapse in symptoms.

The results showed that the combined treatment improved rates of recovery (73 percent) compared to antidepressants-only (63 percent). However, authors noted the impact of this treatment was noticeably different in those with severe MDD. Recovery rates weren’t much different in patients with less severe MDD.

Sad woman

“Our findings suggest that CT engages different mechanisms than ADM but that it likely does so only in some patients,” Dr. Steven Hollon, lead study author of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., said in a press release. “Identifying these mechanisms may suggest ways to enhance treatment response. Future combinatorial trials should include comparisons with CT alone to examine the viability of each monotherapy, especially given evidence that CT effects persist beyond the end of treatment.”

Hollon’s findings come on the heels of a previous study that found depression treatments are more effective when they focus on the brain more so than a chemical imbalance (the purpose of antidepressants) — specifically, treatments that focus on reducing chronic stress, a condition thought to be a leading cause of depression. The researchers wrote that when stress is maintained for a long period of time, both the brain and body are harmed.

Similarly, research out of the University of Washington found women who received collaborative care, or counseling that focuses on patient engagement, for depression, experienced a 50 percent decrease after just one year. “Collaborative care benefits the community not only by helping women with depression regain function in their lives, but also by lowering health care costs,” Dr. Susan Reed, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UW and director of women’s health at Harborview Medical Center, said in a press release.

The theme of cognitive therapy and collaborative care is greater patient care, really taking the time to work through the thought processes and outside risk factors in order to arrive at an effective treatment. The women participating in Reed’s study told her they felt it was the first time anyone cared about their mental health.

No, there isn’t a universal approach to treating severe depression. But there are so many health care professionals to choose from that it’s worth taking the time to meet with more than one. Finding the right psychiatrist, counselor, and/or therapist to work with, who will recommend a variety of treatments, regardless if they’re in combination with another or not, makes all the difference.