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What a Trip: Mental Health’s Psychedelic Revolution

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Ecstasy. ‘Shrooms. Special K. These illicit drugs, once relegated to nightclubs and music festivals, have once again become revolutionary medicines with thrilling potential to help people suffering from mental health conditions, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), opioid and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, and more.The number of clinics offering infusions of ketamine — the only psychedelic that is legal nationwide — has exploded.

Research on the drug known as ecstasy, or MDMA (3,4-methyl-enedioxymethamphetamine), has shown such promise for treating severe PTSD that pharmaceutical companies are preparing to seek FDA approval.1 Experts say psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms that has shown efficacy for treatment-resistant depression,2 may not be far behind.Used under medical supervision and paired with pre- and post-drug therapy, these psychedelics have been life-changing in alleviating symptoms for many patients.

Bob, an ADDitude reader in Arizona, took part in a clinical trial involving psilocybin for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). “I have not had OCD symptoms since I finished the trial over a year ago,” he says.Bob has also been receiving ketamine treatments for depression, anxiety, ADHD, and complex PTSD.

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