Psychedelic drug psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms, is as good at reducing symptoms of depression as conventional treatment, a small, early-stage study has suggested.

But when it comes to actively improving people’s well-being and ability to feel pleasure, the psychedelic drug may have had a more powerful effect.

Psychedelics are being studied for a range of mental-health conditions.

But experts caution that this is a small trial with more research needed.

For the past three decades, since Prozac hit the market, new drugs for depression and anxiety have generally been variations on the same theme.

Yet for a considerable chunk of people they cause undesirable side-effects, stop working over time or don’t work in the first place.

The psilocybin trial’s leaders said there was appetite for “novel” treatments that took a different approach.

The trial’s 59 participants were given either psilocybin or a common antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

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I’ve occasionally talked about how great my experience with antidepressants was. First one (2015) worked great and reduced my trigeminal neuralgia to boot. But it wasn’t enough so I started a second one (2017), which was also great and also helped my trigeminal neuralgia with no other side effects. I knew this experience wasn’t universal, but I would occasionally share it so people would have data on the best case scenario.


Depression seems to pose an evolutionary paradox. Research in the US and other countries estimates that between 30 to 50 percent of people have met current psychiatric diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder sometime in their lives. But the brain plays crucial roles in promoting survival and reproduction, so the pressures of evolution should have left our brains resistant to such high rates of malfunction. Mental disorders should generally be rare — why isn’t depression?

In the months that followed his return to Earth from his historic voyage on Apollo 11, Buzz Aldrin struggled to answer the question asked everywhere he went: “What was it like to be on the moon?”

In his first impression, the astronaut had famously described it as “magnificent desolation.” Now, as he later recalled in his memoir of the same title, he realized he had no profound follow-up to offer the people, no way to put into words the scope of this life-altering experience.

As he toured the world with fellow Apollo 11 travelers Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, with no idea of how he was going to top his moonwalking adventure, it dawned on him that “magnificent desolation” was an apt way to describe his state of mind.

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Dec 28, 2020

Combining the psychedelic drug psilocybin with supportive psychotherapy results in substantial rapid and enduring antidepressant effects among patients with major depressive disorder, according to a new randomized clinical trial. The findings have been published in JAMA Psychiatry.

The new study provides more evidence that psilocybin, a compound found in so-called magic mushrooms, can be a helpful tool in the treatment of psychiatric conditions.

“Prior studies in cancer patients and in an uncontrolled clinical trial in depressed patients using psilocybin-assisted therapy showed promising results. Because there had not been a control group those prior studies were limited,” said study author Alan K Davis, an assistant professor at Ohio State University and adjunct assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University.

“We were interested in testing whether psilocybin-assisted therapy would be helpful for people with depression because depression is one of the most prevalent and debilitating conditions in the world.”

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A new study of almost 40,000 adults has found that the brains of lonely people differ from those of people who are not lonely, in significant and detectable ways.

This loneliness “signature” consists of variations in the volume of different brain regions, and the way those brain regions communicate. And these variations may be related by the typical thinking patterns of lonely people, which include for example higher than average amounts of reminiscence and imaginary conversations.

The study compared the MRI scans of people who said they “often” feel lonely with the scans of people do not report feeling that way. The data comes from the UK Biobank, which is an open-source database with genetic and health information from about half a million people in the UK.

The 38,701 participants consisted of 47.5% men and 52.5% women. Their ages ranged from 40 – 69, with an average age of 55. About 13% of them answered “yes” to the question “Do you often feel lonely?” Of those who answered yes, about 39% were men, and 61% women.

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Dec 9, 2020

Chronic sleep disruption during adolescence can lead to depression in both males and females and alters stress reactivity in females, according to a new study led by University of Ottawa researchers. Their findings, published in the journal Behavioral Brain Research, are particularly relevant in the context of a pandemic, when adolescents’ mental health is already under strain.

Dec 5, 2020

We’re not negative Nancies. In fact, as the authors of this post, we strongly believe in the undeniable power of positivity. While there is certainly something to be said for having a sunny disposition on life, it’s also possible to overdose on the sickeningly sweet nectar of platitudes such as “everything is awesome!” This blog post will address the dark side of the “positive vibes” trend (called toxic positivity), how its overuse causes harm and leads to the very suffering it aims to quash.

Nov 19, 2020

“We are all born with a roll of the dice (genetics) which predispose many things about our time here. Like many, I’ve seen horrible diseases and deformities that happen to all ages based on blind chance, and while I feel extraordinarily lucky that I was not given a worse standing than what I have, I do not enjoy life and have not for a while…”

Nov 16, 2020

The bottom line is, your life is your responsibility. Once you can concretely come to that conclusion you can realize that you have choices and personal power to decide how others will affect you. If you don’t like the way you feel around certain people then it is 100 percent up to you to take care of yourself when you’re around them. The way they are may trigger you for some reason. Whether they are intentionally antagonizing you or not, it is your responsibility to take care of your own emotional needs.

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Created on Nov 5, 2020
By @gurlic