We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Australian researchers looking into using psychedelics to treat mental illness

19 7 0
26.04.2019

AN estimated one in ten Australians were taking antidepressants in 2015. That’s double the number using them in 2000, and the second-highest rate of antidepressant use among all OECD countries.

Yet some studies have found antidepressants might be no more effective than placebo.

Not only does this mean many Australians aren’t experiencing relief from their psychological distress, but some may also be contending with adverse side effects from their medications.

Also, the provision of these medications is costing Australian taxpayers millions of dollars through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

SEE ALSO: Asia has a mental health problem that needs fixing

Australia needs a paradigm shift in the way we treat mental illness. Scientific research is increasingly pointing to psychedelic drugs like psilocybin and MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, more commonly known as Ecstasy) as viable options.

While social stigma and academic conservatism have seen Australia lag behind other countries in this area of research, we are on the cusp of the first Australian trial of psychedelic drugs for mental health.

This research is going to look at psilocybin-assisted therapy for anxiety and depression among terminally ill patients.

A brief history of psychedelic drugs

Psychedelics are a broad category of drugs that can produce profound changes in consciousness. “Magic mushrooms”, containing psilocybin, have been used by some indigenous communities for at least 1,000 years. Other psychedelics, such as LSD and MDMA, were first synthesised in the laboratories of major pharmaceutical companies early in the 20th century.

Some people will take antidepressants for many years. Source: Shutterstock

In the 1950s, psychedelics were considered “wonder drugs”, used with psychotherapy in........

© Asian Correspondent