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Some friends that I have met over the years who are into psychedelic drugs such as 'shrooms, LSD, and ecstasy (aka "molly") seem to be considerably happier people - they have lots of friends, they go to lots of parties, and seem to always have a jam-packed social life outside of work. They don't seem to experience the ups and downs - and sometimes prolonged periods of sadness - that non-users go through.

The article linked here:

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/will-psychedelic-therapy-transform-mental-health-care-ncna805466

discusses a bit about the positive behavioral effects such drugs can have on people who have crippling anxiety or are suffering through PTSD.

Can psychedelic drugs cure depression?

  • You need to define what you mean by "cure depression". – Daniel R Hicks Feb 10 '18 at 3:41
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    We need a better example of notability. The cited article doesn't make the claim, just that it might be the case in the future. – Oddthinking Feb 10 '18 at 5:56
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First off, most mental illnesses aren't "Cured" they are "treated." I suffer from combat related PTSD myself, and in the past struggled with depression. There have been experiments with using drugs like MDMA to enhance regular therapeutic sessions. The thing is, people in these studies aren't just dropping 3 tabs of acid or getting blitzed off their ass on E like they were going to an EDM festival. There is very solid research showing that abusing drugs actually worsens the severity of depression and PTSD in exchange for a short term escape. The studies using psychedelic drugs as a part of treatment for depression and PTSD utilize extremely low doses of MDMA or psychedelic drugs. The object is not to get high and go on a trip, but to dose the individual juuuuust high enough to loosen their inhibitions and maybe become comfortable enough to talk to a therapist about the things they normally wont discuss. The psychedelics used aren't "curing" anything, they are simply a tiny nudge to help the person open up to their therapist more.

The problem is, that a researcher says "I gave this guy 1/90th of the dose a party goer normally takes and he had an easier time talking to his therapist" and suddenly groups like VICE news and a bunch of other stoner-centric-networks are misquoting the study with headlines like "HEY! OUR FAVORITE DRUGS CURE PTSD AND DEPRESSION!" Its really just an effort to justify their favorite hobby. If you want to drop acid or E and go clubbing, I think its unhealthy, but power to ya. Have fun, drink water, have a designated sober person to supervise and be safe out there. If you want to use it to cure depression and PTSD, you need to see a therapist, not a drug dealer.

Heavy drug use, including psychedelics is devastating for people with PTSD or depression and has been credited as a contributing factor to the high rate of crippling mental issues suffered by returning Vietnam war veterans. I have had several former squad mates develop crippling drug and substance abuse issues in an attempt to "cure" themselves, and it is not pretty. The answer is therapy by a licensed and accredited professional, as nice as it is to envision a magic pill you could swallow to make yourself instantly better, its just not the reality of how mental health works.

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Treat not cure. Ketamine is currently the most investigated [psychedelic] drug as a rapid anti-depressant. Several ketamine derivatives have been fast tracked by the FDA.

As for the more classic hallucinogens (e.g. psilocybin and LSD), they do seem to act on various 5-HT receptor subtypes, so it's not outlandish they could work as well, but there are more serious side-effect to consider.

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    @LangLangC: I mean not everyone wants to get trippy from an antidepressant. That's a possible but not guaranteed effect of ketamine, but virtually guaranteed with "classic" hallucinogens like LDS or psilocybin. – Fizz Feb 10 '18 at 21:53
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    My only exposure to ketamine is as a battlefield anestetic. There were studies that demonstrated that wounded who recieved pain killers like morphine or ketamine after being wounded had lower rates of PTSD. That was assumed to be more credited to the shorter and blunted duration of the pain and not as a primary effect of the drugs themselves. – TCAT117 Feb 12 '18 at 17:42
  • @TCAT117 I wonder if there's anything in play similar to what's shown in this article: scientificamerican.com/article/… – Yisela Feb 18 '18 at 16:52

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