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Magic mushrooms could fight depression and 'cure deep psychological wounds', claim researc


[Release date]2018-01-12[source]mailoline
[Core hints]The study found that the majority of patients taking mushrooms reported that they had eased their depressive symptoms – and experts say it could 'cure deep psychological wounds'.
Depression could be effectively treated with psychedelic mushrooms without 'blunting' emotions like anti-depressants, research suggests.
 
The illegal drug was found to be effective for patients with serious symptoms who are not improving with medication.
 
The study found that the majority of patients taking mushrooms reported that they had eased their depressive symptoms – and experts say it could 'cure deep psychological wounds'.
 
Yet interestingly, scans revealed the substance had not dampened down the area of the brain that helps process emotional reactions.
Researchers therefore say that psilocybins, or 'magic mushrooms' are called, can bring similar benefits to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – yet also enable sufferers to 'reconnect with their emotions'.
 
Depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected and is a leading cause of disability and death.
'I believe that psychedelics hold a potential to cure deep psychological wounds, and I believe that by investigating their neuropsychopharmacological mechanism, we can learn to understand this potential,' study author Leor Roseman, a PhD student at Imperial College London told PsyPost.
 
How the research was carried out  
 
Roseman's team were particularly interested in an area of the brain known as the amygdala, which is associated with emotional processing and detecting threats.
 
Several studies have reported that depression is associated with greater responses here to negative – sad and fearful – emotions in faces.
 
For the latest research, 20 patients with major depression underwent two psilocybin-assisted therapy sessions. 
 
The study participants were given brain scans before their first treatment and after their second session. During the scans they were shown images of faces with fearful, happy, and neutral expressions. 
 
After taking the mushroom therapy, the majority of patients reported that the treatment improved their depressive symptoms.
 
A previous study by some of the same researchers found that the drug appears to 'reset' brain circuits in depressed people, with patients reporting improvements  lasting up to five weeks after treatment.
 
The researchers noticed heightened amygdala responses to both fearful and happy faces after treatment with psilocybin. 
 
'Psilocybin-assisted therapy might mitigate depression by increasing emotional connection, this is unlike SSRI antidepressants which are criticized for creating in many people a general emotional blunting,' said Roseman.
 
The research was published in the journal Neuropharmacology.  
 
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