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Medicine Anxiety

mr peabody

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MDMA proven to help those with trauma

When MDMA (later known as ecstasy) was discovered by Shulgin in the 1950s, he noted that it had very special properties of calmness, clarity and empathy that set it apart from the many other chemically related amphetamine-like drugs. He then told this to his wife, who was a psychotherapist and who agreed and suggested that these properties were ideal as a medicinal adjunct to psychotherapy.

She shared this knowledge and the drug to many therapists in the west coast of the US. They concurred with her analysis: MDMA was a real breakthrough in treatment, the first drug that could augment psychotherapy in which it was called “empathy”. It was especially useful in couples counselling where the empathy-enhancing effects could break down the years of tension and irritations with the partner that often build up in marriages and slowly crust over the early love and desires.

All was well until the MDMA was recruited by the rave scene as a “dance drug” and renamed ecstasy. This led to a backlash from the media who hated the idea of young people becoming ecstatic, and developed a campaign of moral panic to get it banned. Horror stories of brain damage were invented and the few deaths massively publicised in relation to the harms of MDMA compared with other drugs such as alcohol. This campaign worked and ecstasy was banned across the globe at the end of the 1980s, despite eloquent and compelling protestations from the many therapists that had used it and patients who had benefited.

MDMA is still illegal today despite the supposed scientific evidence of harm being largely discredited. Schedule 1 drug research with MDMA is hugely difficult and expansive but there is growing evidence of therapeutic value and neuroscience studies such as the new Gabay et al paper – reported in these pages – reveal that there is a strong scientific rationale behind its use.

A coalition of therapists in the US under the banner of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Maps), has fought for more than 30 years to keep the therapeutic potential of MDMA alive. They have raised charitable funds to allow MDMA to be evaluated in its use treating people with resistant post-traumatic stress disorder. Several studies have been commissioned that cover both war and other causes of trauma. They show that just two psychotherapy sessions with MDMA as part of a psychological treatment course can massively improve PTSD – often resulting in a full recovery in patients who had to that point been resistant to other conventional forms of treatment such as the SSRI antidepressant medicines and cognitive behaviour therapy.

In light of these successes we have begun to treat people who have become alcohol dependent with MDMA in an attempt to deaden the mental pain of prior traumas. Such individuals are very common, indeed the norm, in alcohol treatment services and have a massively high failure rate with conventional abstinence-based treatments. Less than a quarter stay dry for three months, while those who carry on drinking for the rest of their lives have their life expectancy cut by 20 years. So far we have treated five people with the standard Maps protocol of two MDMA sessions two weeks apart, as part of the standard post-detox follow-up sessions. Up to this point all have stayed abstinent for the duration of the trial, which is still recruiting and will finally report next summer.

So how does a dance drug have such a powerful therapeutic effect? The answer, we believe, is because of its unique pharmacology that leads to its special psychological effects. MDMA releases serotonin, the neurotransmitter that we now know is involved in social bonding as well as in reducing anxiety and lifting depression. MDMA also releases dopamine, which is why it can be used to give energy for all night raves, but this is a secondary and lesser action. In the quiet of the therapeutic treatment room the dopamine release may help keep patients motivated and engaged with the therapist, but it’s the ability of the serotonin to overcome fear and anxiety that’s critical.

The current best treatment for PTSD involves reliving the trauma and gaining mastery over the emotions that emerge. For many severely traumatised individuals this is not easy: the memory can invoke such severe anxiety that the person can’t cope and leaves the room or they dissociate so can’t engage with the therapist. Our own brain-imaging study showed that MDMA dampens down the anxiety circuit of the brain and so reduces the impact of reliving negative memories.

This new study shows it enhances trust, which is vital in the therapeutic situation where the therapist is asking the patient to re-engage with memories they would rather forget. Together these neuroscientific advances give a firm rationale for the use of MDMA in PTSD therapy and support the call that I and many others have been making that it should be taken out of the controlled drugs list and put back into the medicine cabinet.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/mdma-ecstasy-drug-study-decriminalise-ptsd-trauma-trust-david-nutt-gabay-a8643031.html
 
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mr peabody

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I suffer from anxiety-based food aversion; my mind convinces my body that it doesn't need food. I was consuming less than 500 calories per day. I started microdosing with psilocybin, and pulled a complete 180. After the initial nausea fades, the microdose puts me very much in tune with my body and it's needs. It allows me to easily circumvent whatever "reason" it is on that day that I've used to justify not eating. Basically, it makes my hunger un-ignorable, to the point where I have to do something about it. My appetite is much healthier now thanks to this practice.

-non-zer0

-----

IMO, psilocybin can be most beneficial for treating anxiety and depression. I suffered from both, and I can proudly say that they have both been gone since my first mushrooms trip back about 8 months ago. I believe mushrooms can open your mind to WHY your depression and anxiety is haunting you. It can show you what the root causes of your anxiety and depression come from, and ultimately reroute your brain in how you think about these things. Your brain becomes so rigid in anxiety and depression because it is a recurring feeling, so your brain is almost trained to or used to feeling this way. Psychedelics can obstruct this cycle, and make things almost new again. With psychedelics, mindset is everything. If you go into your trip expecting a fun time with your friends, visual enhancements, etc, that's the kind of trip you are going to get. I am not saying that a fun trip can't teach you anything, but if you treat your trip in a way that you know it will change your life, it's much more likely to do that.

-Jrummps

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4-AcO-DMT worked wonders for my social anxiety. I assumed the opposite would be true, but I was completely worry-free when interacting with strangers in very public places.

-TNS

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LSD helped me with debilitating anxiety and also helped me control the subsequent substance abuse that the anxiety was causing. This is a game changer for me after trying so many drugs from my doctor that never came close to the efficacy of LSD.

-anon

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I'd say that psilocybin cured my social anxiety pretty much overnight. I went from not really talking to anyone, to becoming friends with pretty much everyone. I learned how to talk to people much better. The mushrooms made me try more at social interactions, and not to worry about the consequences so much.

-anon

-----

I can talk about social anxiety and psychedelics, as I've had a lot of experience with both. My recommendation is take a low dose in a setting with strangers. If you can't tolerate the idea of tripping around strangers, then trip with a group of friends. It's important to do it in a setting that challenges your anxiety.

The ONLY way to overcome social anxiety is to confront it. Psychedelics can help you do this.

-TheAppleCore

-----

LSD cured me of my anxiety, or rather helped me understand how to deal with it. When it does come back, I know how unreasonable it is, and I can pull myself together quite quickly. What a miracle LSD is.

-I_am_not_funny_
 
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mr peabody

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Iboga found to cure depression, anxiety, and PTSD

Using the powerful anti-addictive properties of ibogaine, patients are not only able to conquer drug addiction but also cure a wide variety of mental health issues including depression, anxiety disorders, and PTSD.

Tabernanthe iboga, a plant containing the entheogenic substance ibogaine, is a powerful psychedelic from West Africa that has been in use for centuries in traditional healing ceremonies. It can be used in its traditional form from the root bark of the plant, iboga, or in the laboratory-isolated form, ibogaine, which only contains the psychoactive substance ibogaine. Today iboga is best known for its miraculous ability to cure or drastically reduce addiction to alcohol, crack cocaine, and heroin in a single treatment. It can also help people overcome addiction to prescription opiates such as morphine, methadone, Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin. While this may sound too good to be true, scores of personal testimonies and now clinical research is backing up this claim, and iboga treatment centers are popping up all over the world specializing in treating addiction, post traumatic stress, and mood disorders.

Treating Mood Disorders with Iboga

While most patients undergo ibogaine therapy as a way to recover from serious drug addiction, this type of treatment can also trigger recoveries from many other psychological issues including depression, anxiety, and trauma. The drug’s deeply personal and illuminating nature also allows patients to let go of different types of patterns not related to drug use that may be equally difficult for them to break. This is especially life changing for victims of chronic depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which often cause such intense emotional stress that recovery seems impossible. For people who suffer from these terrible chronic afflictions, iboga offers a bright ray of hope backed by hundreds of years of traditional use, many thousands of successful anecdotal cases, and more and more scientific validation.

https://psychedelictimes.com/learn-more-iboga/
 
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mr peabody

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Treating severe anxiety with psilocybin

"My anxiety developed when I was diagnosed with epilepsy 11 years ago," explained Nick, as he led me on a Sunday morning nature trail to a mushroom picking hotspot in Yorkshire.

"But I never really recognised my problem until I got knocked off my bike two years ago. I had 15 staples in my head and was hospitalised for three days. That brought it to the forefront. I realised I had quite a bad anxiety problem."

Nick, 29, is part of a growing subculture of people who are self-medicating their mental health issues with psilocybin, while risking up to seven years in prison. With his tightly knotted hiking boots, army-green waterproof jacket and large rucksack, he looks like any other early morning rambler.

"I first tried magic mushrooms with a couple of friends 8 years ago. Years later I read Professor Nutt's book Drugs Without the Hot Air and was interested to learn about the links between psilocybin, anxiety and depression. After reading that book I decided to start foraging for mushrooms myself."

"In my own experience, it does have a positive effect on anxiety. As soon as I 'come down,' any thoughts of anxiety that are going through my mind immediately evaporate. It just goes in an instant - melts away. The feeling of wellbeing lasts a month or two until something triggers the negative thoughts again."

"After searching online, I knew what I was looking for, I managed to find a couple of local fields that I forage on when the season comes. During the off-season I have to find other avenues to get hold of mushrooms, including ordering them online or buying ones grown indoors. But nothing beats the romance of finding my own. Psychedelics are something I've grown to respect, so I mainly leave it to the season as I don't want to overdo it and it lose the effect."

"I think they have a great potential for naturally treating mental health issues without using synthetic drugs, which invariably come with a string of nasty side effects."


"We're looking at is a largely unexplored technology that set the psychiatry world ablaze in the 1950s, aborted by widespread recreational abuse, the reaction of the media and its confluence with the Vietnam war," argues David Nichols, a Purdue University pharmacologist, in an article for the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

James Rucker, a leading psychiatrist at Kings College London, recently spoke out against the law surrounding psychedelic drugs, which he believes is hampering research into their prospective medicinal benefits. On psilocybin and LSD, he said he believes the Government should downgrade their unnecessarily restrictive class-A, citing that they were extensively used and researched in clinical psychiatry before their prohibition in 1967.

In 2012, researchers battled through reams of red tape as the result of the negative connotations surrounding the drug, and were eventually able to test the psychoactive effects of magic mushrooms.

The team's study, published in British Journal of Psychiatry, found volunteers given psilocybin experienced cues to vividly remember really positive events in their lives, such as their wedding day or the birth of their child.

It does seem there is little evidence that psilocybin is unsafe in a controlled setting, and even less evidence that it has addictive potential - or is even habitual at all - but plenty of evidence that suggests its prospective therapeutic benefits.

Taking that into account, isn't it time that we let go of old prejudices and loosen the laws surrounding psilocybin in medical research? I say yes. Mental health is one of the most important issues of our times; we should be pouring funding into studies on how to treat it, instead of hampering the scientists.

The human race has reaped the benefits of psychedelic mushrooms for millennia ever since they grew in the Elysian fields of Greece, yet we still know very little about how they work.
It seems that until we wise up, people like Nick, an otherwise totally law abiding citizen, will continue to break the law.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/featured/we...gic-mushrooms/
 
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mr peabody

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We spoke to a guy who treats his severe anxiety with magic mushrooms

By Christopher Blunt

“My anxiety developed when I was diagnosed with epilepsy eleven years ago,” explained Nick*, as he led me on a nature trail to a mushroom picking hotspot in Yorkshire.

“But I never really recognised my problem until I got knocked off my bike two years ago. I had 15 staples in my head and was hospitalised for three days. That brought it to the forefront. I realised I had quite a bad anxiety problem.”

Nick, 29, forms part of a growing subculture of people who are self-medicating their mental health issues with psilocybin – the naturally occurring psychedelic compound within magic mushrooms – while risking up to seven years in prison. With his tightly knotted hiking boots, army-green waterproof jacket and large rucksack, he looks like any other early morning rambler.

Nick’s Story

“I first tried magic mushrooms with a couple of friends eight years ago. Years later I read Professor Nutt’s book Drugs Without the Hot Air and was interested to learn about the links between psilocybin, anxiety and depression. After reading that book I decided to start foraging for mushrooms myself."

“From my own experience, it does have a positive effect on anxiety. As soon as I ‘come down’ off the mushrooms, any thoughts of anxiety that are going through my mind immediately evaporate. It just goes in an instant… melts away. The feeling of wellbeing lasts a month or two until something, usually an epileptic fit, will trigger off the negative thoughts again."





“After doing some research online, so I knew what I was looking for, I managed to find a couple of local fields that I forage on when the season comes."

“During the off-season I have had to find other avenues to get hold of mushrooms, including ordering them online or buying ones grown indoors. But for me nothing beats the romance of picking my own medication. Psychedelics are something that I’ve grown to respect, so I mainly leave it to the season, as I don’t want to overdo it and it lose the effect."

“I think they have a great potential for naturally treating mental health issues without using synthetic drugs, which invariably come with a string of nasty side effects.”


Mushrooms and The Media

“What we’re looking at is a largely unexplored technology for brain science — it was discovered in the 1940s, set the psychiatry world ablaze in the 1950s, and was aborted by widespread recreational abuse, the reaction of the media and its confluence with the Vietnam war,” argues David Nichols, a Purdue University pharmacologist, in an article for the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

James Rucker, a leading psychiatrist at King’s College London, recently spoke out against the law surrounding psychedelic drugs, which he believes is hampering research into their prospective medicinal benefits. On psilocybin and LSD, he said he believes the Government should ‘downgrade their unnecessarily restrictive class-A’, citing that they were ‘extensively used and researched in clinical psychiatry’ before their prohibition in 1967.





A profoundly spiritual event


One of the first studies in 40 years into the therapeutic effects of psilocybin was conducted by Roland Griffiths, of Johns Hopkins University in the US, and more than half of participants said the experience was among ‘the most significant of their lives’. The 2008 study, which was published in Journal of Psychopharmacology, took a sample of 36 participants who had never used the drug before. Six were given a placebo drug and the rest 30 milligrams of pure psilocybin.

The volunteers in the psilocybin condition widely reported positive experiences — repeatedly described as a ‘sense of unity’. The experience was generally described as a profound spiritual event. Fourteen months after the clinical trial, over half of the participants in the psilocybin condition reported substantial increases in life satisfaction and positive behaviour. No negative experiences were noted whatsoever.

Concern over triggering pre-existing psychosis

Despite these findings shedding some much needed light on the topic, it’s useful to note that generalising these findings across society would be difficult due to the small sample and the fact that prospective volunteers with personal or family histories of psychotic disorders were disqualified from taking part. In an accompanying article, Griffiths acknowledges that while being physiologically non-toxic and non-addictive, users of psilocybin may experience short-term stress and panic or trigger pre-existing psychosis.

There is little evidence that psilocybin is unsafe in a controlled setting, and even less evidence that it has addictive potential – or is even habitual at all – but plenty of evidence that suggests its prospective therapeutic benefits.

Taking that into account, isn’t it time that we let go of old prejudices and loosen the laws surrounding psilocybin in medical research? I say yes. Mental health is one of the most important issues of our times; we should be pouring funding into studies on how to treat it, instead of hampering the scientists.

The human race have reaped the rewards of the these psychoactive mushrooms for millennia, since they grew in the Elysian fields of Greece, yet we still know very little about how they work, or how they can benefit us. It seems that until we wise up, people like Nick, an otherwise totally law abiding citizen, will continue to break the law.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/featured/we-spoke-to-a-guy-who-treats-his-severe-anxiety-with-magic-mushrooms/
 
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mr peabody

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How I freed myself from anxiety with iboga

About 7 months ago I developed anxiety. It started off with a feeling of tightness in my head and soon developed into panic attacks. I was feeling like a prisoner inside my own mind. I was so hard and unpleasant to live that I was having suicidal thoughts. The anxiety persisted, and I was walking around so hyped all the time I started suffering from hypervigilance. I would see distortions and trails in my vision and I would hear buzzing and beeping sounds, and I somehow managed to convince myself that it was the beginning of schizophrenia. I started worrying that I would lose my job and all my friends and end up in a mental asylum.

At some point I set myself a goal to become free from anxiety no matter how long it would take or how hard it would be to achieve this goal.

After reading about Aubrey Marcus? experience with iboga I decided that I owe it to myself to give it a try. I did some research and decided on an ibogaine facilitator in Thailand. After making contact with him, I was asked to provide a bit of information about myself and the reasons for wanting to do ibogaine. I also had to go and do an ECG and a blood test to prove that my heart and liver were healthy.

My clinic constantly checked my blood pressure, breathing and heart rate. They explained what to expect for the next 24 hours and I took a test dose to make sure my body did not have any adverse reactions to ibogaine. When the test dose was fine, I took the flood dose which consisted of 8 large capsules and lied down in my bed with a towel over my eyes to help with the light sensitivity that was to come.

About an hour later I noticed the ibogaine coming on when I started hearing mechanical sounds. It sounded like a drill or a whipper snipper outside of the hotel room. For the next 8 hours I experienced seeing geometric patterns similar to those that you would see on Ayahusca. I was expecting to feel extremely noxious after reading dozens of peoples testimonials about ibogaine but the feeling never came. At times I would notice how weak and how slow my heart beat was and how shallow my breathing was. I remember thinking to myself: "My body is in such a weak state right now that I wouldn't be surprised if I don't get through this experience."

Late into the night I started having extremely vivid visions. They were as real as reality itself. So realistic that I completely forgot I was on ibogaine. All of the visions had a cartoony look to them. I remember seeing beautiful lightning bolts and gorgeous flowers and thinking to myself: I've never seen anything more beautiful in my life.? There were two medieval beings who were helping me process childhood traumas and told me some things about my future. In hindsight, after having time to reflect on this experience I believe the visions were a way for my subconscious mind to communicate with me to tell me where I went wrong and what I needed to do to fix it.

After 20 hours the sun began to rise and the visions wore off, they were so real that I was convinced that I actually experienced them in the physical realm. When they said I would be left on on my own for a couple of hours I was feeling scared because I was afraid to be left alone with the beings that I had encountered. Soon after this I got up to go to the toilet for the first time in 20 hours or so. Once I got up I started feeling noxious and immediately purged. The after taste of purging ibogaine was very sour however it was not anywhere near as foul as the taste of purging ayahuasca.

A few hours later, I had a shower and was back in bed as I was feeling very weak. Sasha came over and we had a discussion about what had occurred over the past 24 hours. He told me it would be normal to feel depressed over the next 2 days and that I might have trouble sleeping. He gave me a bunch of vitamins to help regulate the brain chemistry and to assist with sleep. I felt no depression at all, and there was no trace of anxiety. For the next 4 days I mostly rested in my hotel room. When I went outside I would experience a whistling sound in my ears and a feeling of as though there was an aura around me. Sasha told me this was normal after taking ibogaine. I did not get much sleep but when I did sleep I had extremely vivid dreams.

After I returned home I started noticing the anxiety slowly coming back but I didn't worry. I started reading books and watching videos on the power of the subconscious mind and positive thinking. It's been two and a half months since my ibogaine journey and my anxiety is barely noticeable and I fully believe that being anxiety free is a reality with an imminent arrival. I feel extremely motivated to be the best me I can, and to pursue all my dreams and goals until they become a reality. Taking ibogaine was a very powerful experience which shifted my outlook on life in a positive direction. Having 12 previous ayahuasca ceremonies to compare to my ibogaine journey I feel that ibogaine should be in its own category of psychedelics. I feel it was a much more effective and powerful tool for my problems. It was such a direct experience, I felt like I went deep inside my subconscious.

I am cognizant of always saturating my mind with positive thoughts and my outlook for the future is very positive. I know that everything is going to be just fine. The 24-hour trip was nowhere near as arduous as I expected, and I would recommend ibogaine to anyone that needs a positive shift in their life.

http://reset.me/personal-story/perso...ty-with-iboga/
 
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mr peabody

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Ketamine and anxiety

Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of patients with generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) do not experience adequate clinical benefit from current evidence-based treatment for SAD.
This includes treatment with conventional approaches such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or venlafaxine and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Failure of anxiety relief in patients with SAD is a source of substantial morbidity, distress, and decreases in quality of life.

Symptoms

Feelings of shyness or discomfort in certain situations aren’t necessarily signs of social anxiety disorder, particularly in children. Comfort levels in social situations vary, depending on the individual’s personality traits and life experiences. Some people are naturally reserved and others are more outgoing.

In contrast to everyday nervousness, social anxiety disorder includes fear, anxiety and avoidance that interferes with your daily routine, work, school or other activities.

Emotional and behavioral symptoms

Signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include persistent:

• Fear of situations in which you may be judged
• Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
• Concern that you’ll offend someone
• Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
• Fear that others will notice that you look anxious

• Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice
• Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
• Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
• Having anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event
• Spending time after a social situation analyzing your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions
• Expecting the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation

For children, anxiety about interacting with adults or peers may be shown by crying, having temper tantrums, clinging to parents or refusing to speak in social situations.

Performance type of social anxiety disorder is when you experience intense fear and anxiety only during speaking or performing in public, but not in other types of social situations.

Physical symptoms

Physical signs and symptoms can sometimes accompany social anxiety disorder and may include:

• Fast heartbeat
• Upset stomach or nausea
• Trouble catching your breath
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Confusion or feeling “out of body”
• Diarrhea
• Muscle tension

Avoiding normal social situations

Common, everyday experiences that may be hard to endure when you have social anxiety disorder include, for example:

• Using a public restroom
• Interacting with strangers
• Eating in front of others
• Making eye contact
• Initiating conversations
• Dating
• Attending parties or social gatherings
• Going to work or school
• Entering a room in which people are already seated
• Returning items to a store

Social anxiety disorder symptoms can change over time. They may flare up if you’re facing a lot of stress or demands. Although avoiding anxiety-producing situations may make you feel better in the short term, your anxiety is likely to persist over the long term if you don’t get treatment.

Ketamine

Converging lines of evidence from neuroimaging and pharmacological studies support the importance of glutamate abnormalities in the pathogenesis of SAD. In a previously conducted clinical study, an elevated glutamate to creatinine ratio was found in the anterior cingulate cortex of SAD patients when compared to healthy controls. Elevated brain glutamine levels have also been demonstrated in patients with SAD. Moreover, nonclinical rodent studies have established a strong link between glutamate regulation and anxiety.

Ketamine is a potent antagonist of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, a major type of glutamate receptor in the brain. Ketamine is routinely used for anesthetic induction because of its dissociative properties. However in research studies and in some physician accounts of off-label clinical use, ketamine is an effective treatment for reducing symptoms of depressive and anxiety disorders. In multiple controlled clinical studies, ketamine has produced a rapid antidepressant effect in unipolar and bipolar depression. Ketamine’s anti-depressant effects peak 1-3 days following infusion and is observed long after ketamine has been metabolized and excreted by the body and after ketamine’s sedative and dissociative effects have dissipated.

The results of several clinical studies suggest that ketamine may also have significant anxiolytic effects. Patients with major depressive disorder given a single ketamine infusion have shown strong and significant reductions in comorbid anxiety symptoms. A trial including 11 depressed patients demonstrated a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A)) following ketamine infusion. This improvement is supported by one of the earlier placebo-controlled trials of ketamine which demonstrated that the psychic anxiety item was one of 4 (out of 21) items on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) demonstrating significant improvement after ketamine infusion.

https://www.ivketamine.com/anxiety/
 
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mr peabody

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Microdosing psilocybin reduced my Social Anxiety

Recently, I completed a one-year experiment microdosing psilocybin almost daily. My goal was to understand the impact it would have on my work, relationships, and mental health.

I approached the experiment as a newcomer to the world of psychedelics. I'm not the kind of person to take recreational drugs. That said, I'm invested in health, mindfulness, and personal growth. I scored in the top 99th percentile for standardized tests, trained and competed in the Olympic sport of speedskating, and run a startup for one of my business idols. Over the last 14 years, to improve my life, I've used and refined everything from meditation, fasting, paleo, bulletproof, ketogenic, triathlons, powerlifting, lifestyle design, digital nomad, Getting Things Done, yoga, the principles of rationality, and nootropics, or smart drugs.

By the time I was 25, I created a life I was proud of, all while sober. So my perspective on recreational drugs was that anyone dependent on them had major problems they were running away from. I never thought of drugs as conducive to growth. Fortunately, I was wrong. After taking them in Southeast Asia, my perspective on psychedelics changed, and they became a vehicle for greater self-reflection and awareness. Psychedelics appealed to me in their ability to help me work through painful emotions of the past. My use of psychedelics has shown various benefits, including reducing my social anxiety and addressing things that even I, a so-called self-improvement fanatic, hadn't gotten around to facing within myself.

I woke up after my first dose of mushrooms to find my lifelong fear of public speaking gone. After mushrooms, I was exposed to LSD and MDMA, and traveled to Peru for a series of Ayahuasca ceremonies. They worked beyond my wildest expectations. Psychedelics served as eye-opening means for cultivating meaningful personal insight. I healed from childhood traumas I didn't even know I had.

At one point, I began wondering if there was a sustainable way to leverage the power of psychedelics on a daily basis. It was at this time I became eager to discover whether smaller doses could help improve my work, relationships, and mood.

How microdosing psilocybin impacted my life

The year I microdosed happened to be a particularly difficult one.

I was recovering from some major career setbacks due to a series of unfortunate events involving a spinal injury that ended my Olympic speedskating career. This left me hunting for a new role and taking a pay cut to pursue jobs in other industries, and there were financial challenges in my family. I had plunged into a fog of depression and anxiety almost as dark as the suicidal depression I experienced during my teenage years. I don't know how I could have made it through without microdosing.

By the end of the year, I had improved my emotional well-being and developed better relationships with the people around me. It didn't solve all of my problems or make my life a rainbow-glittery world of unicorns, but it definitely made the days easier as I picked up the pieces of my life and started anew.

Improving my relationship with myself

In my relationship with myself, I became more aware of my emotions in every passing moment, and could address them on the spot instead of letting my them build up. I was in a better mood. My mind stopped making up reasons for me to be unhappy, and instead focused my attention on the positive. Some days, a sense of inner peace would permeate my being.

I was much less self-conscious, and more creative. Everyday, more ideas and insights would pop into my mind than I knew what to do with. I held a greater appreciation for the arts. My apartment went from minimalistic and drab to tastefully and beautifully decorated. My alone time went from dead silent to filled with music, song, and dance. Despite a lifetime of hating clothes shopping, I started to enjoy every part of the process. I took up a dance class, and went from being a robotic dancer to deftly on point. I joked and laughed more.

My life became more emotionally attuned, social, happy, and carefree, and less rigid, serious, and fear-driven. Many friends of mine remarked that I was more relaxed and calm, and that I had more energy.

Relationships with others

I was more comfortable in public, and less anxious in conversations. I already considered myself open-minded and accepting, but I became more tolerant and compassionate towards people. I would chat with convenience store owners, give smiles to strangers walking down the street, and once had a 4-hour conversation with my coffee shop baristas while I waited in an airport.

At work, I was less self-conscious. I led meeting presentations without anxiety choking me up. I had better check-ins with my boss and clients, and they all seemed more impressed with my work than before. With the people close to me, doors of intimacy were opened, where there were none before. I watched myself as I expressed both positive and negative emotions in ways that made people comfortable and at ease.

Over the year I microdosed, I became a more empathetic, compassionate, and affectionate person. I began to live with more acceptance, gratitude, and presence of mind. My workaholic lifestyle turned into one of spontaneity, creativity, self-expression, and lightheartedness. I continued to live out my values, feeling even more connected than before.

Reflections and what's next

My 1-year experiment with microdosing has definitely changed my life for the better. My career, relationships, and happiness improved. In future experiments, I hope to investigate the effects of microdoses of LSD and other substances, as well as alternatives to psychedelics for creating the same positive changes.

Microdosing has served as training wheels for helping my brain develop the necessary pathways that it needed to access on its own. Nowadays, I can reach those benefits without microdosing, while keeping the parts of my personality that bring me joy. I wont need to microdose on a regular basis forever, only when I feel I need to access more of my emotional experience. Ultimately, I hope to remain connected to all parts of my psyche without the help of psychedelics, but they're always there if I need them.

https://betterhumans.coach.me/how-on...s-715dbccdfae4


 
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mr peabody

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After many years of anxiety, and a year of research and experimentation with psychedelics, I'll say as a positive... It works well for me, and other like-minded friends of mine. Especially MDMA, which although synthetic has helped me tremendously. Psilocybin also...

• • •

The only thing that has truly helped me with my depression and anxiety is Psilocybin which was...illegally self-administered. After years of suffering and this miraculous experience I feel intimately afraid of the law and the government because right now, taking care of my mental health is considered a serious crime. I find that to be disgraceful to say the least.

• • •

As someone who was suffering from deep depression & crippling anxiety, my life has been completely changed through the healing power of these psychedelic medicines. They did for me what countless anti-depressants never could - they changed my relationship with my body & mind, they helped me heal the deep traumas I needed to, to enable me to move forwards with my life.

• • •

Psychedelics saved me from a two year long struggle with anxiety and depression. These tools allowed me to look at life from another perspective and I want to see them help others without the fear of being prosecuted.

• • •

I've personally benefited from taking part in the study at Imperial College and psilocybin has proved to be the most effective treatment I've had for my depression and anxiety. This treatment should be widely available to those it's suitable for.

• • •

The benefits of Psilocybin are amazing. Not only during trips, which can be life changing and eye opening experiences; But also in microdosing to help the effects of depression and anxiety. Microdoses significantly helped me with many internal issues I was having mentally.

• • •

Psilocybin worked wonders in allowing me a break from the crippling anxiety I've suffered for nearly 30 years. Rescheduling would at least allow a chance for me to finally put an end to my suffering.

• • •

Psilocybin is the only thing that's ever helped me. I have complex PTSD and bipolar disorder. Self-medicating with psilocybin has saved my life twice and given me hope. It helped me see reality and that I am connected, not isolated. Nothing medically prescribed by my GP has helped - just made it worse, numbed out and dumbed down, merely existing. I really need this medicine in a legitimate clinical setting. It should not be illegal for medical use. It saves lives. I need this.

• • •

I suffer from severe anxiety and have benefited from psilocybin in the past. I would like to legally experience the benefits of psilocybin as a medicine in the future. Please consider the potential benefits to public health and reschedule LSD and psilocybin to a Schedule 2 drug.

https://psychedelicsociety.org.uk/pe...ession-anxiety
 
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Treating anxiety with psychedelics

Many people find their day-to-day experience of life is filled with anxiety, limiting the activities they do and the enjoyment they have in life. Psychedelics like mushrooms and LSD have been used for decades to treat anxiety disorders and to reduce anxiety levels.

In some cases, these substances seem to directly alleviate feelings of anxiety, even at very small doses (below the level at which they subjectively alter consciousness). For other people, psychedelics help them explore the root causes of their anxieties and fears and find peace with them. And for many people, psychedelics bring them to a place a spiritual peace and openness that can become a new touchstone for letting go of anxiety or learning not to identify with it so strongly.

This description of the process may sound abstract to someone suffering from anxiety day to day, but like talking therapy, the healing process of psychedelics can be a little difficult to convey until you've tried it.

Recent clinical research has shown dramatic reductions in anxiety even after a single psychedelic experience with psilocybin mushrooms. Even for patients facing the extreme anxiety of terminal illness, psilocybin allows them to embrace their fate and find peace with their loved ones.

Heres one woman's story of being treated with mushrooms as she was facing death, described in a New York Times article:

Norbert Litzinger remembers picking up his wife from the medical center after her first session and seeing that this deeply distressed woman was now glowing from the inside out.

Before Pam Sakuda died, she described her psilocybin experience on video:

"I felt this lump of emotions welling up . . almost like an entity," Sakuda said, as she spoke straight into the camera. "I started to cry . . Everything was concentrated and came welling up and then . . . it started to dissipate, and I started to look at it differently . . I began to realize that all of this negative fear and guilt was such a hindrance . . to making the most of and enjoying the healthy time that I'm having." Sakuda went on to explain that, under the influence of the psilocybin, she came to a very visceral understanding that there was a present, a now, and that it was hers to have.

Two weeks after Sakudas psilocybin session, Grob (the researcher) re-administered the depression and anxiety assessments. Over all among his subjects, he found that their scores on the anxiety scale at one and three months after treatment demonstrated a sustained reduction in anxiety, the researchers wrote in The Archives of General Psychiatry. They also found that their subjects scores on the Beck Depression Inventory dropped significantly at the six-month follow-up.

Whats remarkable about the research results from this and many other studies is that even a single dose of a psychedelic substance can create long lasting changes, reducing anxiety, depression, and creating more emotional openness.

LSD, MDMA, and mushrooms have all been studied for anxiety reduction. Remember that a psychedelic experience can sometimes produce anxiety or can focus the mind on sources of anxiety, as part of the process of addressing the root causes. Starting with small doses and following all the safety guidelines can help reduce anxiety.

http://howtousepsychedelics.org/anxiety/
 
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Here's what MDMA did for my anxiety that meds couldn't

by Suzannah Weiss | May 24 2018

"I don’t have an opinion on what anyone else should do, but numbing the fear was not the answer for me."

I was 17 when I was first prescribed Prozac for anxiety. I had an eating disorder at the time, and a psychiatrist thought it might reduce my self-starvation and self-induced vomiting. It didn’t do much, and I ended up a year later in residential treatment, where a psychiatrist increased my dosage.

That’s when I started feeling the effects—both wanted and unwanted. I began making enough progress with my eating disorder recovery to leave treatment and go to college. But I also got really tired all the time despite sleeping ten hours a night, and always felt like my brain was in a fog. The bad times weren’t as bad, but the good times weren’t as good. A new psychiatrist switched me to Zoloft, but I felt no difference.

When I was 24, I went off Zoloft almost accidentally. I’d moved to a new city and didn’t find a new psychiatrist in time to get it refilled. Once I got through a few days without it, I decided to see if I could make it longer. Mental health professionals don’t recommend this; they recommend tapering off gradually—and I can see why. I was constantly irritable. But I also felt more energetic, more alert, more awake, and more alive. I didn’t want to go back.

A lot changed during those first few months off Zoloft. My abundance of energy led me to get involved in everything from rock climbing to psychology classes. My newfound angst helped me realize I wasn’t satisfied with my 9 to 5 office job, which marked the beginning of my writing career. Within six months, I’d become a full-time freelance writer, amazing people by writing an absurd number of articles (my record is 18 in one day), often taking two or three remote jobs with the exact same hours and working so quickly nobody knew my attention was divided. I thrived off this challenge, fueled by a frantic fear of not living up to my potential. My anxiety was my secret weapon, I realized. It came from the same source as my drive.

The flip side of this energy surge was that I was getting increasingly obsessive. Within two years of going off meds, I was compulsively working more than 15 hours a day, saving money to the point of foregoing meals and doctors’ appointments, and making myself throw up almost daily. Behind my facade of perfection and success, I secretly prayed something would save me from myself, but I didn’t know what could.

I’ll be forever grateful that around that time, I was invited on a work trip to the music festival EDC Vegas, where a new friend casually mentioned that she had molly. I’d recently read about a small but impressive study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, which found that 83 percent of PTSD patients who received MDMA-assisted therapy were symptom-free after a year. I also read that studies were underway to treat social anxiety and the anxiety associated with life-threatening illnesses using MDMA.

My knowledge of MDMA’s therapeutic potential sparked my curiosity, and I asked my new friend if I could try it. On a rooftop overlooking the festival, she put a small amount in my hand (I don’t know how much, but she deemed it a “microdose”), and I felt it almost immediately. That night became my own unsupervised therapy session of sorts as I explained to her that workaholism, disordered eating, and compulsive saving were all the same: ways to feel good about myself. In that moment, though, I had self-esteem without any of those things. I saw I didn’t need them.

The next day, I dropped a client that had been mistreating me and decided to use my newfound free time to join a friend on a trip to Ibiza. On my first night there, I took my first non-micro dose of MDMA in the form of half an ecstasy pill. With confidence I didn’t normally possess, I approached the guy who’s now my boyfriend, and I spent the rest of the trip with him. On the plane ride home—my serotonin levels likely still elevated from rolling three nights in a row—I had an epiphany: All the perceived limitations in my life were self-imposed. I decided there and then to leave my New York apartment, travel, and pursue this new love interest, despite the fact that he lived in Germany.

I didn’t use MDMA again for the rest of the summer, but it was as if the effects remained. I still worked a ton—but out of enthusiasm rather than nervousness—and the work was punctuated with travel, dates, and adventures. I began spending money on myself, and I stopped making myself throw up. While SSRIs had decreased the overall intensity of my emotions, my experience with MDMA had preserved the intensity of my fear and shame—but added equally intense excitement and happiness.

It’s not unusual for a single psychedelic experience to have long-lasting effects on someone with anxiety, says James Giordano, professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center. “Psychedelics tend to take the brain's default network offline, which allows for a reset in the pattern of neurological activations of specific nodes and networks,” he explains. Or, to put it in more understandable terms, “Think of an old record vinyl. Think of the needle being stuck on one track and playing one tune. Psychedelics lift off the stylus and put it back down so it can play other tunes.”

Over the course of the following two years, I used MDMA a few more times and gained similar benefits from magic mushrooms and ayahuasca. I should mention that this wasn’t at all a risk-free decision. Overuse or misuse of MDMA can lead to sleep problems, urinary problems, and in severe cases, cognitive impairment. Overdosing on psychedelics can put you at risk for serotonin syndrome, and long-term overuse of hallucinogens can lead to trip flashbacks. You can also do dangerous things when you’re under the influence of a drug, since you may lose touch with reality.

In the clinical settings where psychedelics are being tested for therapeutic use, these risks are lower because the drugs’ dose and purity, along with your environment, are controlled. Unfortunately, these settings weren’t accessible to me, and like many people, I took risks to gain the mental health benefits of these substances.

And the benefits felt plentiful. Psychedelics put me in touch with a more compassionate, open-hearted side of myself that I’d muted over the years. Before discovering them, I didn’t even know I had that side. I was narrowly focused on success and money, and looked out for myself above all else. It was on ayahuasca that I realized this attitude came from fear—and that this fear came from societal and familial influences. I realized I was not born anxious. Separating my anxiety from myself has helped me not give into it.

"This is another way psychedelics may help some people with anxiety: by making unconscious thoughts and feelings conscious so that we can see what thought patterns are standing in our way," says Giordano. “Once you reset the default network and you begin to engage a distinct pattern of cognition, that pattern can also be somewhat more receptive and responsive to certain aspects of emotion that were not being processed on the conscious level.”

Life inside my head isn't always easy. But ultimately I saw myself faced with two options: Numbing the fear, or building up the joy and love that are even greater than the fear. I don’t have an opinion on what anyone else should do, but numbing the fear was not the answer for me—because I ended up numbing everything else along with it.

If I’d never found psychedelics, I probably would have either remained trapped within my own compulsions, driven by fear of inadequacy, or gone back to medication that muted these feelings without really addressing their roots. I would have stayed asleep. Now, I’m awake. To everything. The good and the bad. And I want to feel it all.

https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/pa58xy/what-one-man-learned-when-he-treated-his-autism-symptoms-with-shrooms
 
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Microdosing might help ease anxiety and sharpen focus


by Blake Eligh, University of Toronto

A new study that examines how and why people microdose and the reported effects of the practice. According to study co-author Thomas Anderson, it is the first study of its kind.

Anderson is a PhD candidate and cognitive neuroscientist with the Regulatory and Affective Dynamics (RAD) Lab of psychology professor Norman Farb. His main research focuses on attention and meta-awareness, however, Anderson's interest in the study of microdosing was inspired by a professional literature review group where he noticed there were plenty of anecdotal reports but a dearth of scientific research into the practice.

"There's currently a renaissance going on in psychedelic research with pilot trials and promising studies of full-dose MDMA (ecstasy) use for post-traumatic stress disorder and of psilocybin use within healthy populations or to treat depression and end-of-life anxiety," Anderson says. "There hasn't been the same research focus on microdosing. We didn't have answers to the most basic epidemiological questions—who is doing this and what are they doing?"

In 2017, Anderson launched a collaborative investigation with Rotem Petranker, a graduate student studying social psychology with York University's Department of Psychology, UTSC psychology student Le-Ahn Dinh-Williams and a team of psychiatrists from Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Anderson and Petranker targeted microdosing communities on reddit and other social media channels with an anonymous online survey that queried participants about the quantity and frequency of their psychedelic use, reasons for microdosing, effect on mood, focus and creativity, and the benefits and drawbacks of the practice. The survey, which ran from September to November 2017, drew more than 1,390 initial responses, with 909 respondents completing all questions. Two-thirds of the group were currently practicing microdosers, or had some past experience. "We wanted to ensure the results produced a good basis for future psychedelic science," Anderson says.

The data yielded interesting results, including important information about how much of the drug participants were taking, which had previously been unknown. "Typical doses aren't well established," Anderson says. "We think it's about 10 mcg or one-tenth of an LSD tab, or 0.2 grams of dried mushrooms. Those amounts are close to what participants reported in our data." The data also revealed information about frequency of use. Most of the microdosers reported taking the drug once every three days, while a small group microdosed once a week.

Qualitative data from the survey revealed that microdosers reported positive effects of the practice including migraine reduction, improved focus and productivity, and better connection with others. In quantitative results, microdosers scored lower than non-microdosing respondents on negative emotionality and dysfunctional attitude.

Microdosing respondents also reported a number of drawbacks. "The most prevalently reported drawback was not an outcome of microdosing, but instead dealt with illegality, stigma and substance unreliability," Anderson says. "Users engage in black market criminalized activities to obtain psychedelics. If you're buying what your dealer says is LSD, it could very well be something else." Anderson adds a standard caveat about safety. "We wouldn't suggest that people microdose, but if they are going to, they should use Erlich reagent (a drug testing solution) to ensure they are not getting something other than LSD."

Dose accuracy was another issue. "With microdoses, there should be no 'trip' and no hallucinations," Anderson says. "The idea is to enhance something about one's daily activities, but it can be very difficult to divide a 2-cm square of LSD blotting paper into 10 equal doses. The LSD might not be evenly distributed on the square and a microdoser could accidentally 'trip' by taking too much or not take enough."

Anderson and Petranker recently presented their findings at the "Beyond Psychedelics" conference in Prague, which drew researchers, physicians, mental health practitioners, policy makers, and technology and business participants from around the globe. The team will publish results from the survey in three upcoming research papers that will cover the survey results, psychiatric diagnosis analysis, and the benefits and drawbacks of microdosing.

"The goal of the study was to create a foundation that could support future work in this area, so I'm really excited about what these results can offer future research," Anderson says. "The benefits and drawbacks data will help ensure we can ask meaningful questions about what participants are reporting. Our future research will involve running lab-based randomized-control trials where psychedelics are administered in controlled environments. This will help us to better characterize the therapeutic and cognitive-enhancing effects of psychedelics in very small doses."

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-...y-sharpen.html
 
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5-MeO-DMT may rapidly improve anxiety

by Michelle Lyon | April 6, 2019

Anxiety and depression are considered among the most debilitating medical conditions of our times. Both have the power to strip an individual of their vitality, physical health and every essence of what it means to be a joyful human being. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It’s also the world’s leading cause of disability. Suicide rates have skyrocketed an astounding 30% since year 2000 despite the fact that the use of prescription antidepressants has gone up an alarming 400%.

Researchers at John Hopkins may have discovered a fast-acting treatment for the millions of sufferers of mental health disorders. A new study has founf that use of the synthetic psychedelic 5-methocy-N,-N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) appears to be analogous with improvements in self-reported depression and anxiety when given in a ceremonial setting with guidance and support before, during and after taking it.

Of the 362 adults surveyed, approximately 80% reported improvements in anxiety and depression following one 5-MeO-DMT ceremony. Participants on average were given doses of 5mg to more than 15mg of vaporized 5-MeO-DMT, depending on their prior psychedelic experience.

Most of the people in the study attended the ceremonies for spiritual purposes. The psychological improvements were an unintended benefit of the intensely profound mystical experiences- 73% regarded their first 5-MeO-DMT experience as among the top 5 or single most meaningful experience of their lives.

The authors of the study believe the short duration of psychedelic effects, 30-90 minutes, makes 5-MeO-DMT a more favorable and practical psychedelic to be consumed during psychotherapy sessions. “Research has shown that psychedelics given alongside psychotherapy help people with depression and anxiety. However, psychedelic sessions usually require 7—8 hours per session because psychedelics typically have a long duration of action,” states Alan K. Davis, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow in the Behavioral Research Unit, at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

5-MeO-DMT is found naturally in high concentrations within the venom of the Colorado River Toad (Bufo alvarius). Scientists have been able to produce it synthetically in a lab. The synthetic version was used for this study. Prior research by Davis has shown the substance has a low risk for adverse health consequences.

5-MeO-DMT is by far the most potent of all psychedelic medicines. Users find that they completely disassociate from their body and the ego is completely dissolved. For this reason, consuming the medicine should not be taken lightly. As was done in the study, it is advisable to use 5-MeO-DMT with a guide, along with integrative therapy before and after the ceremony. Intention and set/setting are imperative to gain the most profound healing from all psychedelics.

Current findings on the positive benefits of this psychedelic are rather impressive and justify the need for future study. “It is important to examine the short and long-term effects of 5-MeO-DMT, which may enhance mood in general or may be particularly mood enhancing for those individuals experiencing clinically significant negative mood,” says Davis. “Regardless, this research is in its infancy and further investigation is warranted in healthy volunteers.”

 
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Treating anxiety with CBD

The biggest challenge I’ve found with CBD is finding the right dosage.

Kicking my SSRIs and opioids to the curb was the best decision I’ve made in years!

The NCBI study states that: “We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, OCD and PTSD when administered acutely.”

My recommendation is to start low, and move slowly. Give CBD the chance to work. It’s not THC, it doesn’t hit you immediately.

Chad Waldman

-----

At a certain dose, CBD can help people control or even reduce the levels of stress they experience. CBD has been proven to help people handle all different kinds of emotional conditions including anxiety, fear and stress. CBD is able to control these emotions by focusing on the certain role of neurotransmitters called monoamines which are the transmitters responsible for releasing vital hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which all play an important role in helping control anxiety levels.

Chris Van Dusen

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If you are in a situation where you can consume THC with CBD, I suggest a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio with all the other cannabinoids still intact. What some people do is take CBD during the day so they can function, and a combination of THC/CBD in the evening.

Andrew Havens

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I have been using CBD oil for over two years now. I usually vape my CBD oil for fast absorption in my body. I usually take CBD for my anxiety. I have social anxiety, I get nervous around customers, I get panic attacks as well. But since I am using the CBD oil, my anxiety is at bay. I would say CBD + THC both are best for pain relief.

Andrew Flit

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I have personally experienced so much relief with my CBD oil for my severe anxiety. I’ve been able to cut way back on my prescription medication and I hope to be completely off here in another month or so. One thing I would caution is that not all CBD oils are the same. While some may work for a time they tend to level out. Make sure you are getting one that is water soluble since our bodies are made mostly of water. There are a few companies out there that have engineered their oils to mix with the body.

Kathy Poole
 
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Psychedelics shown to relieve anxiety

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News highlights recent breakthroughs in psychedelic research, noting that studies into the therapeutic potential of LSD, MDMA, ayahuasca, and psilocybin have reached a level of prominence unseen in decades. In it, Brad Burge of MAPS speaks about the fading taboo surrounding psychedelic, how MAPS’ psychedelic research is funded entirely by donations, and how further research into psychedelic-assisted therapy may reveal beneficial uses for treating PTSD and other medical conditions.

In a widely publicized study released earlier this month, a research team led by Peter Gasser, M.D., of the Medical Office for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Solothurn, Switzerland, found that of 12 patients with life-threatening illnesses, all eight receiving the drug showed statistically significant reductions in standard anxiety measures. The study, published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, was the first in 40 years to evaluate LSD’s safety and efficacy as an adjunct to psychotherapy.

“When administered safely in a methodically rigorous medically supervised psychotherapeutic setting, LSD can reduce anxiety, suggesting that larger controlled studies are warranted,” Dr. Gasser and colleagues concluded.

Before treatment, patients received two preparatory psychotherapy sessions including discussion of their health, history, mindset, personality, and social and emotional situations. “This is an absolutely important part of the treatment,” Dr. Gasser told GEN. “Building up a confidential relationship is the basis of psychedelic therapy.”

Four patients taking much weaker LSD dosages showed about the same anxiety levels, though Dr. Gasser cautioned the sample size was too small for generalization.

“What the minimum dosage for psychotherapeutic effectiveness is we don’t know exactly. The threshold dose is between 20 and 50 mcg, and I guess that the minimum dose for psychotherapy is about 100 mcg. 200 mcg, the dose of our study, is supposed to be a medium-high dose,” Dr. Gasser said.

"A follow-up study assessing interviews and anxiety testing after 12 months will soon be published," he added.

Brad Burge, a spokesman for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), told GEN the study not only shattered a longstanding taboo but launched a new era of research into LSD-assisted psychotherapy. “The breakthrough is that this is the first double-blind, placebo-controlled study administering LSD in humans,” Burge said.

“This is the first completed study of LSD that was explicitly designed to help develop LSD into a legal prescription treatment.”

Dr. Gasser’s study isn’t the first to link LSD to a medical benefit. Two years ago Teri S. Krebs, Ph.D., and Pal-Orjan Johanssen, Ph.D., both of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, concluded a single dose of LSD helped reduce alcohol abuse as early as one month afterward, and most often two and six months afterward. The findings, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, followed a review of six clinical trials with a combined 536 participants.

“We need further data on whether subgroups of individuals exist for whom LSD presents an increased beneficial effect or risk for adverse events. Future clinical trials could combine a range of doses of LSD with current evidence-based alcohol relapse prevention treatments,” Drs. Krebs and Johanssen concluded in the study. “As an alternative to LSD, it may be worthwhile to evaluate shorter-acting psychedelics, such as mescaline, psilocybin, or dimethyltryptamine.”

Psilocybin has come under review in a handful of studies for its benefits in calming users—especially military members with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Last year in the Journal of Experimental Brain Research, researchers observed that mice injected with a range of psilocybin doses acquired a robust conditioned fear response—while mice with lower doses extinguished their conditioning significantly faster than mice treated with higher doses or saline. The study noted that psilocybin’s ability to extinguish fear conditioning may be affected by its actions at sites other than the hippocampus—such as the amygdala, known to mediate the perception of fear. Also, psilocybin is not purely selective for 5-HT2A receptors.

https://maps.org/news/media/5000-psychedelics-shown-to-relieve-anxiety
 
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Treating anxiety with psychedelics

Many people find their day-to-day experience of life is filled with anxiety, limiting the activities they do and the enjoyment they have in life. Psychedelics like mushrooms and LSD have been used for decades to treat anxiety disorders and to reduce anxiety levels.

For some, these substances seem to directly alleviate feelings of anxiety, even at very low doses. For others, psychedelics help them explore the root causes of their anxieties and find peace with them, a new touchstone for letting go of anxiety.

This description may sound abstract to someone suffering from anxiety. The healing process can be a little difficult to convey. Recent clinical research has shown dramatic reductions in anxiety even after a single psychedelic experience. Psilocybin enables patients facing the anxiety of terminal illness to embrace their fate and find peace with their loved ones.

Here is one woman's story of being treated with mushrooms as she was facing death, described in a New York Times article:

Norbert Litzinger remembers picking up his wife from the medical center after her first session and seeing that this deeply distressed woman was now "glowing from the inside out." Before she died, she described her psilocybin experience on video:

"I felt this lump of emotions welling up . . almost like an entity," Sakuda said. "I started to cry . . Everything was concentrated and came welling up and then . . it started to dissipate, and I started to look at it differently . . I began to realize that all of this negative fear and guilt was such a hindrance . . to making the most of and enjoying the healthy time that I'm having." Sakuda went on to explain that, under the influence of the psilocybin, she "came to a very visceral understanding that there was a present, a now," and that it was hers to have.

What is so remarkable is that even a single dose of a psychedelic substance can create long lasting changes, reducing anxiety, depression, and creating more emotional openness. LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin have all been studied for anxiety reduction. Remember that a psychedelic experience can sometimes produce anxiety or can focus the mind on sources of anxiety, as part of the process of addressing the root causes. Starting with small doses and following all the safety guidelines can help reduce anxiety.

http://howtousepsychedelics.org/anxiety/
 
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Ibogaine rescued me from overwhelming anxiety

By Holly Stein

For the last 12 years I've battled with general anxiety and have taken a variety of pharmaceuticals (which either didn't help, made me feel better but disconnected, or left me feeling worse than before as soon as I stopped taking them). I've been to hundreds of hours of therapy and spent countless hours reading self-help books.

I had ups and downs over the years, and after a steady improvement I weaned off an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication with the support of my psychiatrist in January of 2012. In July 2013, I had my first panic attack since I was 18, and after that my anxiety escalated tremendously. It felt like everything started to make me panic, and I started to slowly lose my confidence and ability to function. From suffering and feeling massive anxiety throughout my whole wedding day, to panicking on chair lifts snowboarding and developing anxiety on airplanes and boats, I started to lose the ability to do things I enjoyed. Worse yet, everyday normal things started to fall apart, from getting in elevators, not being able to be a passenger in a car, being scared of getting sick after eating, and much more. I felt like the walls were closing in on me. I was physically and mentally sick with anxiety all of the time.

I've had multiple weddings where I've sat outside an elevator for 10 minutes trying to will myself to get in, only to end up carrying my emergency kits up and down many flights of stairs. Nothing helped, and the anxiety led me to an onslaught of severe depression and dependency on my husband. I felt like the only thing I was good at was faking it. There was rarely a day that went by that I didn't crawl into a ball in my bedroom and sob uncontrollably from depression. But as soon as I was in front of other people, at work, I could lock it up and put on the best fake smile around, which only made me feel worse.

I developed an extreme identity of self-loathing and was unable to control my emotions. I took every comment personally and blamed myself for everything that happened. About once a week someone would tell me to eat a cheeseburger or that I was too skinny, and while I would laugh it off, it left me feeling crushed and insecure that people thought I was ugly. I knew things were starting to unravel pretty badly when I started having suicidal thoughts. It got so bad that I had to ask my husband to get the gun out of the house because I really didn't know what I was capable of when I was in those dark moments. However, rationally and logically, I knew everything. I knew to be positive, and to not say the word can't, and all of the most important tools to change these horrific mental habits, but I somehow lacked the ability to convert them into usable feelings and thoughts. And I knew I wasn't a quitter.

During months of research I learned that psychedelics have an unbelievable success rate in curing anxiety, depression, PTSD and other mental struggles when used in the correct setting. I followed people like Amber Lyon and Aubrey Marcus and I discovered the medicine, iboga, the bark of a root from Africa that has been used medicinally for hundreds, if not thousands of years. I then found a retreat overseas and researched and talked to them for months before booking a psycho-spiritual session with them.

From the moment I arrived, I could feel the medicine was working on me. During my stay I did two sessions with iboga, which we call journeys. They last about 10 hours each. The results were nothing short of life-saving. From the two journeys I had, I experienced visions that showed me where all of my anxiety, depression, insecurity, and self-loathing stemmed from when I was 9 years old. It showed me that I was beautiful, that I loved myself, and that I had everything I needed to overcome all of my struggles and fears, and that I could do it. It let me take all of the knowledge that I had and finally convert it into usable emotions and thoughts. Iboga is not a magic plant that solves all of your problems, but rather a tool that gives you the insight to conquer your demons. It was by far the toughest week I have ever gone through, but it was the most rewarding, life-changing weeks of my life and I would do it over a million times.

So many of us battle with insecurity, anxiety, and depression, and we bury them deep inside as not to show weakness. I know, I was the best at it. Many people reading this will probably think, No way, she always seemed so happy. If I can inspire just one person to keep going, or inspire one person to try iboga, or inspire just one person to know they are not alone, that is more than I could ever ask for. Also, for those not suffering, please try to keep in mind that everyone is on their own path in life, doing the best they can, so be kind, and do your best to reserve judgment. What you see on the surface may not be the whole story. One kind comment can give someone the encouragement to keep going, while one hurtful comment can spiral someones entire day into depression. It's happened to me a lot.

Lastly, I want to thank my husband, for all of the support and love he provided me through what was the darkest year of my life, which I know caused him tremendous pain at times as well. I also want to thank the providers at the retreat. You guys literally saved my life, and I will be forever grateful. I consider you all a part of my family, and you will all be forever in my heart. You guys know more about me than some of my closest friends, and I know I will never be able to repay you for what you've done for me. Know that I will be thinking of you often.

So, while 2014 was the worst year of my life, I can finally see that you can't appreciate the good without the bad. I feel as if I've been to mental hell and back, and know that 2015 will bring (and already has), strength, love, inner-beauty, and the ability to conquer all challenges that come my way.

For the first time in my life I can say that I am genuinely happy and it feels incredible! I have finally found the meaning of life.

 
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mr peabody

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Cambridge


Memantine obliterated my depression and social anxiety

I have ADHD, best described as the "Ring of Fire" subtype if you buy into the Amen Clinics' categorizations. Mine comes with all the core features, along with anger, 'mood swings', brain fog, depression and anxiety, including terrible social anxiety making eye contact a painful experience.

I've been on Namenda (memantine) for about a month and a half; I've been on Namenda XR 21 mg for about a month. While it does not seem to help directly with the core ADHD symptoms, it has almost entirely eliminated my depression and social anxiety. The effect has been so profound that a couple of days after switching to my current dosage and formulation, I seemed to experience at least a few hours of rapid synaptogenesis, in which my perceptions of the world seemed new (or encoded differently) and I felt that I was learning it all over again.

During this period, novelty seemed to cause a euphoric sensation, which I found concerning but thankfully was short-lived and manageable by throttling the novelty, which otherwise might have been overwhelming. To a much lesser degree this process seems to continue (without euphoria), as I occasionally seem to relearn things that I had perceived differently when I was depressed. Also, I have found that my coordination has improved, best evidenced by my improved pool playing. For the first time in my life, I have been able to feel relatively normal and content, and comfortable around other people, becoming far more extroverted. I no longer constantly worry about being judged, and do not feel inferior to the people around me. Eye contact is pleasurable rather than painful, as is exerting my will and expressing my desires. I am able to truly enjoy physical and emotional intimacy now. I see people more for who they truly are (their pain, their anxiety, their joy, etc.). The list goes on, but I'll end it here.

My best guess regarding the mechanism by which memantine has been effective is this:

- Proinflammatory cytokines/mediators cause astrocytes to downregulate glutamate transporters EAAT-1 and EAAT-2 (underactivity of EAAT-1 in general may explain my intolerance to sub-chronic aspartame exposure)

- Due to underactivity of these astrocytic glutamate transporters, either (1) excessive glutamate builds up in the synapses and causes oversaturation/downregulation/desensitization of the glutamate receptors, or (2) presynaptic release or synthesis of glutamate is downregulated to compensate. In light of the efficacy of memantine, (2) would seem to depend upon the use of presynaptic NMDA receptors to regulate release or synthesis, which is rather dubious, so I lean toward (1). If (2) were shown to be true, it would raise a concern regarding excitotoxicity.

- (Assuming (1) above) memantine reduces the effect of excessive glutamate on NMDA receptors, allowing them to function more normally, through e.g. upregulation/translocation/sensitization, turning down/off natural pathways guarding against excitotoxicity. In other words, shifting the balance of stimulation from tonic to phasic.

Of course, plenty of downstream effects on other neurotransmitter "systems" are then possible.

I am hoping the reason the remainder of my ADHD symptoms have not been resolved is due to the fact that I am merely dealing with one of the effects of reduced synaptic glutamate clearance. I am presently looking into ways to upregulate EAAT-1 or EAAT-2 or (less desirably) antagonize the various other glutamate receptors. In the meantime, I continue to use Vyvanse, albeit at a reduced dosage. I am hoping to try ceftriaxone (unfortunately only available via IV or IM routes) or celecoxib to see whether they treat my brain fog and hyperactivity and comfortably replace memantine, Vyvanse, and omega-3s.

In case anyone is curious, my current best guess at the etiology of my ADHD is the rs6565113 variant of the CDH13 (T-Cadherin) gene. This is statistically linked to ADHD and is likely to have significant inflammatory implications. (The state of knowledge regarding CDH13 is still rudimentary but highly intriguing.)

Btw, I have a naturally high level of testosterone and a very youthful appearance, and I am aware of the possibility that properly treating my ADHD will normalize these traits, but that price would be well worth paying.

I could go on, but I think I've covered all the big stuff. BTW, for those who are interested in memantine but are unable to get it, you may consider trying gentian root, which I've found to be relaxing and likely also works via NMDA receptors.

I do not seem to be experiencing any side effects. I tapered and stopped Cymbalta (which did not seem to help me) after starting memantine and this seems to have caused "brain zaps" which are still tapering off - I believe this is unrelated to the memantine but am mentioning it just in case.

https://www.longecity.org/forum/topi...ocial-anxiety/
 
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mr peabody

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Anxiety might be treated by regulating gut bacteria

Neuroscience News | May 26, 2019

A new meta-analysis study reports regulating intestinal microbiota is more than 50% effective at helping to reduce anxiety.

People who experience anxiety symptoms might be helped by taking steps to regulate the microorganisms in their gut using probiotic and non-probiotic food and supplements, suggests a review of studies published today in the journal General Psychiatry.

Anxiety symptoms are common in people with mental diseases and a variety of physical disorders, especially in disorders that are related to stress.

Previous studies have shown that as many as a third of people will be affected by anxiety symptoms during their lifetime.

Increasingly, research has indicated that gut microbiota — the trillions of microorganisms in the gut which perform important functions in the immune system and metabolism by providing essential inflammatory mediators, nutrients and vitamins — can help regulate brain function through something called the “gut-brain axis.”

Recent research also suggests that mental disorders could be treated by regulating the intestinal microbiota, but there is no specific evidence to support this.

Therefore a team of researchers from the Shanghai Mental Health Center at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine set out to investigate if there was evidence to support improvement of anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota.

They reviewed 21 studies that had looked at 1,503 people collectively.

Of the 21 studies, 14 had chosen probiotics as interventions to regulate intestinal microbiota (IRIFs), and seven chose non-probiotic ways, such as adjusting daily diets.

Probiotics are living organisms found naturally in some foods that are also known as “good” or “friendly” bacteria because they fight against harmful bacteria and prevent them from settling in the gut.

The researchers found that probiotic supplements in seven studies within their analysis contained only one kind of probiotic, two studies used a product that contained two kinds of probiotics, and the supplements used in the other five studies included at least three kinds.

Overall, 11 of the 21 studies showed a positive effect on anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota, meaning that more than half (52 percent of the studies showed this approach to be effective, although some studies that had used this approach did not find it worked.

Of the 14 studies that had used probiotics as the intervention, more than a third (36 percent found them to be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, while six of the remaining seven studies that had used non-probiotics as interventions found those to be effective — a 86% rate of effectiveness.

Some studies had used both the IRIF (interventions to regulate intestinal microbiota) approach and treatment as usual.

In the five studies that used treatment as usual and IRIF as interventions, only studies that had conducted non-probiotic ways got positive results, that showed a reduction in anxiety symptoms.

Non-probiotic interventions were also more effective in the studies that used IRIF alone. In those studies only using IRIF, 80% were effective when using non-probiotic interventions, while only 45% were found to be effective when using probiotic ways.

The authors say one reason that non-probiotic interventions were significantly more effective than probiotic interventions was possible due to the fact that changing diet (a diverse energy source) could have more of an impact on gut bacteria growth than introducing specific types of bacteria in a probiotic supplement.

Also, because some studies had involved introducing different types of probiotics, these could have fought against each other to work effectively, and many of the intervention times used might have been too short to significantly increase the abundance of the imported bacteria.

Most of the studies did not report serious adverse events, and only four studies reported mild adverse effects such as dry mouth and diarrhoea.

This is an observational study, and as such, cannot establish a cause. Indeed, the authors acknowledge some limitations, such as differences in study design, subjects, interventions and measurements, making the data unsuitable for further analysis.

Nevertheless, they say the overall quality of the 21 studies included was high.

The researchers conclude: “We find that more than half of the studies included showed it was positive to treat anxiety symptoms by regulation of intestinal microbiota.

“There are two kinds of interventions (probiotic and non-probiotic interventions) to regulate intestinal microbiota, and it should be highlighted that the non-probiotic interventions were more effective than the probiotic interventions. More studies are needed to clarify this conclusion since we still cannot run meta-analysis so far.”

They also suggest that, in addition to the use of psychiatric drugs for treatment, “we can also consider regulating intestinal flora to alleviate anxiety symptoms.”

 
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mr peabody

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Treating severe anxiety with psilocybin

"My anxiety developed when I was diagnosed with epilepsy 11 years ago," explained Nick, as he led me on a Sunday morning nature trail to a mushroom picking hotspot in Yorkshire.

"But I never really recognised my problem until I got knocked off my bike two years ago. I had 15 staples in my head and was hospitalised for three days. That brought it to the forefront. I realised I had quite a bad anxiety problem."

Nick, 29, is part of a growing subculture of people who are self-medicating their mental health issues with psilocybin, while risking up to seven years in prison. With his tightly knotted hiking boots, army-green waterproof jacket and large rucksack, he looks like any other early morning rambler.

"I first tried magic mushrooms with a couple of friends 8 years ago. Years later I read Professor Nutt's book Drugs Without the Hot Air and was interested to learn about the links between psilocybin, anxiety and depression. After reading that book I decided to start foraging for mushrooms myself."

"In my own experience, it does have a positive effect on anxiety. As soon as I 'come down,' any thoughts of anxiety that are going through my mind immediately evaporate. It just goes in an instant - melts away. The feeling of wellbeing lasts a month or two until something triggers the negative thoughts again."

"After searching online, I knew what I was looking for, I managed to find a couple of local fields that I forage on when the season comes. During the off-season I have to find other avenues to get hold of mushrooms, including ordering them online or buying ones grown indoors. But nothing beats the romance of finding my own. Psychedelics are something I've grown to respect, so I mainly leave it to the season as I don't want to overdo it and it lose the effect."

"I think they have a great potential for naturally treating mental health issues without using synthetic drugs, which invariably come with a string of nasty side effects."

"We're looking at is a largely unexplored technology that set the psychiatry world ablaze in the 1950s, aborted by widespread recreational abuse, the reaction of the media and its confluence with the Vietnam war,"
argues David Nichols, a Purdue University pharmacologist, in an article for the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

James Rucker, a leading psychiatrist at Kings College London, recently spoke out against the law surrounding psychedelic drugs, which he believes is hampering research into their prospective medicinal benefits. On psilocybin and LSD, he said he believes the Government should downgrade their unnecessarily restrictive class-A, citing that they were extensively used and researched in clinical psychiatry before their prohibition in 1967.

In 2012, researchers battled through reams of red tape as the result of the negative connotations surrounding the drug, and were eventually able to test the psychoactive effects of magic mushrooms.

The team's study, published in British Journal of Psychiatry, found volunteers given psilocybin experienced cues to vividly remember really positive events in their lives, such as their wedding day or the birth of their child.

It does seem there is little evidence that psilocybin is unsafe in a controlled setting, and even less evidence that it has addictive potential - or is even habitual at all - but plenty of evidence that suggests its prospective therapeutic benefits.

Taking that into account, isn't it time that we let go of old prejudices and loosen the laws surrounding psilocybin in medical research? I say yes. Mental health is one of the most important issues of our times; we should be pouring funding into studies on how to treat it, instead of hampering the scientists.

The human race has reaped the benefits of psychedelic mushrooms for millennia ever since they grew in the Elysian fields of Greece, yet we still know very little about how they work.

It seems that until we wise up, people like Nick, an otherwise totally law abiding citizen, will continue to break the law.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/featured/we...gic-mushrooms/
 
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