Magic mushrooms (psilocybin) are being looked at as a treatment for bipolar disorder. And good news came out this week about using psilocybin in the treatment of bipolar type II depression. Specifically, the results in a very small clinical sample were extremely promising. That said, there are things you need to know before you run out and buy magic mushrooms from your local drug dealer. Here’s what we know about magic mushrooms working for bipolar disorder.
Magic Mushrooms in Bipolar Disorder
First off, it’s important to know that psilocybin (magic mushrooms) being used to treat bipolar disorder is very, very new, and you should be aware that there are likely effects we don’t know about yet. Also, the research we do have is on tiny sample sizes and may not be able to be generalized. Caution is clearly warranted.
Moreover, psilocybin is not without risk. A survey of 541 people who had recreational experience with magic mushrooms found that 33% of people had new or worsening symptoms after magic mushroom trips. These symptoms were mostly manic symptoms, along with trouble sleeping and anxiety. (No differences were seen between people with bipolar I and bipolar II.) Additionally, 3.3% had to use emergency medical services because of their psilocybin trips. All that said, people found their use more helpful than harmful.
You still shouldn’t go out and try it. Keep reading.
New Research on Psilocybin and Bipolar Disorder Type II Depression
As I’ve said before, bipolar depression can be extremely difficult to treat, and many people stay in depressive episodes for protracted periods. This is likely because bipolar medication treats manic/hypomanic symptoms more effectively than depressed ones.
That is why this new study is so exciting. A new study found that a single dose of psilocybin produced a reduction in depression symptoms for months.
Specifically, 15 people with treatment-resistant bipolar type II who were currently depressed were given a 25mg dose of pharmaceutical psilocybin in a controlled and therapy-supported environment. Three weeks after administration, people showed a 76.3% reduction in depressive symptoms (using the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale), and this improvement was maintained for the 12 weeks of the study. There were also significant improvements in quality of life and reductions in depressive symptoms, according to the patients. The intensity of the psychedelic experience correlated to the degree of the antidepressant effects.
Please don’t try it on your own. Keep reading.
Safety Issues for Magic Mushrooms in Bipolar Disorder
It’s really, really important to read this part:
Prior to receiving the psilocybin, patients were taken off antidepressants and mood stabilizers. They also engaged in therapy before and for eight to hours during the psychedelic trip. They had therapy after the tip as well for experience integration.
If you are on serotonergic medication (like antidepressants and mood stabilizers), you can induce serotonin syndrome with the use of magic mushrooms. Serotonin syndrome can be fatal.
In other words, this was not your average magic mushrooms trip. You should not be trying this without professional help. Just getting off some of your medications to try it requires supervision, let alone the usage of a street form of psilocybin.
Excited About Magic Mushrooms Working for Bipolar Disorder
I realize the sample size was small, and getting off of medications even to try the treatment could be very difficult, if not impossible, for some. That said, this is very promising. People sitting in prolonged depressions as a part of bipolar disorder have so few options right now. One more is great news.
Imay by Flickr user Janine.
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