Lsd for depression

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

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Last Updated: 08/30/2022

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The Locator is authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act (Public Law 114-255, Section 9006; 42 U.S.C. 290bb-36d). SAMHSA endeavors to keep the Locator current. All information in the Locator is updated annually from facility responses to SAMHSA’s National Substance Use and Mental Health Services Survey (N-SUMHSS). New facilities that have completed an abbreviated survey and met all the qualifications are added monthly. Updates to facility names, addresses, telephone numbers, and services are made weekly for facilities informing SAMHSA of changes. Facilities may request additions or changes to their information by sending an e-mail to [email protected], by calling the BHSIS Project Office at 1-833-888-1553 (Mon-Fri 8-6 ET), or by electronic form submission using the Locator online application form (intended for additions of new facilities).

90,000 prescription LSD: can psychedelics help treat mental disorders?
  • Alex Therrien
  • BBC Health Correspondent

Sign up for our 'Context' newsletter to keep you informed.

Photo by GeorgePeters

Hallucinogenic mushrooms, LSD and other psychoactive substances of this kind are not yet associated with medicine or science in the mass consciousness. nine0018

They are more reminiscent of hippies and the counterculture of the 1960s than white coats.

However, in recent years, scientists have increasingly begun to wonder whether hallucinogenic drugs - which also includes mescaline with dimethyltryptamine - can help treat mental illness.

British scientists will soon be participating in the first large-scale study to answer the question: could one of these hallucinogenic drugs be more effective in treating depression than one of the main antidepressants currently prescribed? nine0011

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Scientists from University College London will be comparing exposure to the psilocybin alkaloid contained in hallucinogenic mushrooms with the drug escitalopram, an antidepressant from the group of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Robin Carhart-Harris, MD, is leading the study. nine0011

However, this is not the first time scientists have become interested in this kind of mind-altering psychoactive substances.

For the first time, psychedelic substances came to the attention of scientists more than 50 years ago, but soon research in this area ceased.

The rise and fall of psychedelics

Photo credit, Getty Images

Image caption,

Timothy Leary actively promoted the use of LSD

Skip Podcast and continue reading. nine0011


What was that?

We quickly, simply and clearly explain what happened, why it's important and what's next.


End of History Podcast

In the 1950s and 60s, hallucinogenic drugs were widely believed to be the future in the treatment of a range of mental disorders, and there were more than 1,000 different studies in this direction during that period.

However, psychedelics soon acquired a very dubious reputation. nine0011

This type of drug, especially LSD, has been actively used for recreational purposes by musicians, artists and other celebrities - and it has become increasingly associated with various currents of the counterculture.

In the press, they began to write a lot not about possible scientific breakthroughs, but about unsuccessful cases of taking LSD - the so-called "bad trips" - that happened to many people who took psychedelics, and about the moral degradation that their use eventually leads to .

Some scientists - in particular, Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, who became a kind of counterculture messiah, largely due to his active popularization of psilocybin - clearly overstepped the bounds of scientific ethics. nine0011

Fearing unforeseen consequences and panic, the US authorities banned the use of hallucinogenic drugs in 1968.

And the 1971 UN Convention on Drugs put an end to medical research in this area, since hallucinogens were classified as drugs of the first category, that is, they have no therapeutic benefit and, accordingly, are prohibited for use in the countries that signed the convention.

Thus, for decades, research in this area has focused on studying the effects of antidepressants. nine0011

Rebooting the Brain

Since research into LSD and similar drugs now required special government approval, many scientists focused on the study of the alkaloid psilocybin, whose effects on the psyche were similar to LSD, but not as ambiguous.

During the 1990s, some of the first serious studies were carried out, but a real resurgence of interest in hallucinogens did not occur until the mid-2000s, partly due to scientific work at the American Johns Hopkins University. nine0011

In particular, American scientists found that psilocybin reduced symptoms of depression in 80% of patients with incurable cancer, and another study found that this alkaloid helped patients quit smoking, especially when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy.

In 2009, Dr. Carthart-Harris became the first scientist in the UK to use brain scans to study how psilocybin affects the brain.

Published in Scientific Reports, the results of this study show that psilocybin affects two areas of the brain: the amygdala, which plays a key role in generating emotions such as fear or anxiety, and the default mode network (BRN), which is a distributed network of brain regions involved when we rest. nine0011

Image copyright, Getty Images

Image caption,

Psychotropic drugs like LSD can exacerbate some mental health problems that haven't yet appeared.

However, hallucinogens aren't all that safe, of course. A "bad trip" for someone can be too frightening and even life-threatening due to the loss of human control over their actions.

Also, such psychotropic substances can exacerbate some mental health problems that have not yet manifested and lead to a mental crisis in people predisposed to this. nine0011

There is, of course, a difference in whether a person takes such drugs on their own or receives them in a clinic under the supervision of doctors.

Scientists use pure pharmaceutical grade psilocybin; they also support the patient at all stages and pre-screen those who may develop psychosis.

However, all studies conducted to date have been of short duration and small in number, without a placebo control group. nine0011

To the dark side of the soul?

Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London Dr. James Rucker is just starting new research on the safety of psilocybin for medicinal purposes.

This is a necessary condition for it to subsequently be licensed as a medicinal product.

But even if these studies prove the safety and effectiveness of psilocybin, Dr. Rucker says it will still be at least five years before it is registered as a drug. nine0011

The process of approving a new drug for use is usually a slow, bureaucratic process that takes a lot of money and effort, he notes.

So could hallucinogens be a breakthrough in the treatment of mental disorders?

Dr. Carhart-Harris admits that even if more extensive testing proves their effectiveness, they still won't work for everyone.

"Some people don't want to get into the depths of their soul - to be face to face with their demons or those traumas that they experienced in the past, or just with the dark side of the human being that is present in all of us," says the doctor. nine0011

Colleague Dr. Rucker confirms that no treatment in psychiatry is universal.

"It's about expanding the range of drugs that we can offer. Maybe it will be something unique, who knows? Let's see what the visual results will be," says the psychiatrist.

LSD helped patients with anxiety symptoms

Researchers in Switzerland found that LSD therapy reduces the anxiety of patients with life-threatening illnesses and also helps people with anxiety disorders. The results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study with 42 patients were published in Biological Psychiatry .

Researchers are looking for different ways to reduce the negative symptoms of serious illness, such as pain relief, as well as anxiety and depression. Studies on psychoactive substances such as psilocybin, MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), and LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide) show that they can help treat a variety of disorders. Previously, scientists have described a possible mechanism for the effect of LSD on memory and learning, and another team of European researchers found that even small doses of LSD of 20 micrograms can reduce pain. In addition, evidence suggests the safety of using microdoses of LSD in therapy, but its full potential in the treatment of cognitive and psychiatric disorders is not fully understood. nine0011

Swiss researchers led by Friederike Holze decided to study the effect of LSD on anxiety as a symptom of various diseases. To do this, the authors invited 20 patients with life-threatening diseases (eg, cancer) and 22 patients with anxiety disorder without associated physical symptoms. All participants were over 25 years of age.

Study participants underwent a medical examination, during which they also completed anxiety and depression questionnaires. The experiment was conducted in two periods, in each of which the participant took either LSD or a placebo. Within one period, the participant took 100 micrograms of LSD in ethanol solution or ethanol solution alone (placebo) twice, six weeks apart. After each dose, the subjects completed questionnaires related to the state after taking the substance (questionnaire for an altered state of consciousness and mystical effects), as well as measuring blood pressure and pulse. At 2, 8 and 16 weeks, the subjects completed questionnaires that they filled out at the first appointment with the doctor. nine0011

65% of participants in the LSD group and 9% of participants who took placebo responded to the substance with a reduction in symptoms. During the entire period, there were six serious negative incidents in the LSD group and three in the placebo group.

The results showed a significant reduction in anxiety, depression and general psychiatric symptoms. The maximum difference in scores between the LSD and placebo groups was in the second week after the second dose of the substance (p < 0.0007). Differences in scores between the LSD and placebo groups in the first period persisted into week 16 (p < 0.02). nine0011

The subjective effects of LSD (positive only) correlated with the subsequent therapeutic effect (anxiety reduction) at week 16 (p < 0.003), as did the pulse (p = 0.026).

Thus, the authors once again showed the importance of psychedelic research and confirmed that LSD can help patients with symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, they note that they used a placebo substance that does not cause any effects, so the subjects correctly determined what they took in the first and second periods of the study.

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