Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2024

We’ve shared before on The Optimist Daily how alternative medications like psilocybin and even MDMA could be used to treat depression and PTSD with more permanent results. With promising studies adding to the body of research supporting these therapies, we are beginning to see a monumental shift in how scientists, therapists, and research centers approach mental health treatment. 

Rick Doblin has been investigating the benefits of psychedelics since the 1970s and now heads the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a research and advocacy organization that is pioneering the introduction of psychedelics as a mainstream aspect of mental health treatment. MAPS is working to loosen restrictions around the therapeutic use of these drugs so more research can be done on their application and efficacy. 

Some researchers have concerns about the link between psychedelics and psychosis in patients with existing mental health issues, but more and more projects are being introduced to evaluate the potential risks. MAPS has raised $44 million over the past two years to dive deeper into alternative medicine research and Johns Hopkins, Yale, the University of California, Berkeley, and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York have all launched psychedelic research divisions with funding from private donors. 

The potential applications for psychedelic therapies stretch beyond depression and PTSD. Studies are also finding efficacy in using these therapies to treat opioid addiction, anorexia, and the anxieties experienced by the terminally ill. Recent legalizations of the therapeutic use of psilocybin in Oregon and Canada as well as cities like Oakland and Denver are also making it easier to explore research opportunities. 

This Mental Health Week, we’re sharing strategies that you can use at home to promote your own mental wellbeing and organizations working to offer mental health resources to vulnerable populations in their communities, but we’re also sharing research on the future of mental health therapies. Psychedelics offer immense potential for long-lasting mental health solutions. As the fastest growing sector of mental health research, we will continue to follow this research and report new psychedelic therapy breakthroughs. 

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