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PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is a disabling condition affecting many veterans of military service and others who have had highly traumatic experiences. PTSD has had a truly effective therapy in difficult cases until recently. The emergence of psychedelic medicines like psilocybin is a ray of hope in the treatment of severe cases of PTSD. Psilocybin, like other psychedelics, can be used in small amounts along with psychotherapy with excellent results that last for years.

What Is Psilocybin?

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound. This prodrug is produced by more than two hundred species of fungi. Psilocybin in inert biologically but in the human body it is converted into psilocin which is the active drug. Use of psilocybin predates written history as it has long been used for its visual and mental hallucinations, perceptual changes, euphoria, perceived spiritual experiences, and distorted sense of time. Psilocybin is still used for recreational purposes but the use of psilocybin for therapy for PTSD is different. When used for therapeutic purposes, psilocybin is taken as a professionally made pharmaceutical, free of impurities, and at doses appropriate for its therapeutic use. 

What Is Psilocybin?
What Is Psilocybin?

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a condition in which someone who experiences a terrifying or traumatic event repeatedly relives that event and the associated trauma. Severe cases may last for a lifetime and are a common cause of suicide, especially in military service veterans. Those who have PTSD experience traumatic event flashbacks. Sufferers from PTSD are often depressed and anxious as well. Flashbacks are triggered by events in the person’s normal life and usually not all that related to the events that caused the PTSD.

Psychotherapy Treatment of PTSD

Successful treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder involves helping individuals who suffer from the condition sort out the past events that caused their problem from their current triggering factors. When they succeed, they are able to put the past back in the past and live their daily lives without the stress of experiencing past trauma again and again. The difficulty in severe cases of PTSD is that recalling past trauma people experience confusion, depression, and severe anxiety. One of the keys to successful treatment is developing a strong bond with a therapist. This is difficult to do when every attempt to address past events is accompanied by more emotional trauma.

Psychotherapy Treatment of PTSD
Psychotherapy Treatment of PTSD

Psilocybin Improves Effectiveness of Psychotherapy

For milder cases of PTSD psychotherapy, “talk therapy” works. But, in severe cases of PTSD the simple attempt to remember past trauma brings back memories of that trauma with all their pain. There are antidepressants and other medications that are useful for assisting in psychotherapy but none is a guaranteed cure. However, psychedelics like psilocybin help in just one or two doses and the benefits last for up to six years. Psilocybin reduces the fear and confusion that happens when a PTSD sufferer remembers past trauma. With less mental static of anxiety the individual is able to remember more clearly, recall more details, and gain better insight into what happened. They are able to sort out how old trauma is affecting life in the present. Because these painful memories are less threatening the veteran and their therapist are able to have more successful therapy sessions. Because of the success of psilocybin in treating PTSD it has also been tried with some success in treatment of alcohol and drug use disorders.

At No Fallen Heroes we are excited about the excellent prospects of the use of psilocybin as adjunctive therapy for PTSD. It appears to be an excellent addition to therapy and offers the prospects of reducing and eventually eliminating suicide among veterans.

It is important to remember that psilocybin is not the cure to PTSD. Rather it is an important addition to psychotherapy. Recreational use of psilocybin happens in settings with random stimuli. Doses are variable. Street drugs contain impurities. Used in the appropriate professional setting this is a breakthrough drug for treating PTSD. What is also good news is that success with psilocybin only requires one or two small doses, unlike antidepressants taken daily for years, and the benefits have been shown to last for up to six years!

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