Veteran suicide often has its roots in depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. New evidence shows us that psychedelics like MDMA and psilocybin can be very effective in treating severe depression that has been resistant to treatment as well as similarly severe PTSD. Will psychedelic medicines reduce veteran suicides as well? Will efforts to make such treatments not only legal but also widely available be successful?
Successful Treatment of Depression Reduces the Likelihood of Suicide
What we know in regard to depression and suicide is that long term and severe depression increases the likelihood of suicide. Now there is evidence that treating depression also reduces the rate of suicide. “Recent reports from some European countries strongly suggest that increasing utilization of antidepressants is one of the most important contributing factors in the decrease in suicide rates.” (European Psychiatry) Standard depression treatment for years has been antidepressants. What we are learning is that psychedelic medicines are more effective than standard antidepressants for severe, long-lasting depression.
Successful Treatment of PTSD Reduces the Likelihood of Suicide
Veterans with PTSD have a higher rate of suicide than vets without post-traumatic stress disorder. New research shows that treating PTSD sufferers with talk therapy facilitated by psychedelic medicines is effective. This works so well that the FDA has given both psilocybin and MDMA special investigative status. Recent research had demonstrated that effective PTSD therapy immediately reduces suicidal thinking and over the course of time continues that reduction. Veterans who have been successfully treated for PTSD are significantly less likely to commit suicide than those sufferers who have not been treated.
Psychedelic Medicines Successfully Treat Depression and PTSD
Not only are MDMA and psilocybin effective in treating both depression and PTSD but they work in a shorter period of time and at smaller doses than standard medications. Rather than taking drugs for months, years, or a lifetime one takes a dose of two of either of these psychedelic medications to achieve the desired effect. The benefits of such therapy have been shown to last for up to five years. The manner by which either PTSD or depression is improved is not important in regard to reduction of suicidal thoughts, planning, or the act of suicide. Thus psychedelic medicines not only work to improve PTSD and depression but also reduce the likelihood of suicide in treated individuals.
Our Mission at No Fallen Heroes
At No Fallen Heroes we have dedicated ourselves to the elimination of suicide in the veteran community. One of the factors missing for this dream to become a reality has, for years, been the lack of truly effective treatment for both severe depression and severe cases of PTSD. The emergence of psychedelic medicines as both effective and efficient adjunct therapies is encouraging. The FDA has assigned both MDMA and psilocybin special status as special use drugs for conditions which have no effective treatment. In order to complete the necessary medical studies to make the use of psychedelics mainstream treatment more research needs to happen which requires funding. We are heartened to see that politicians on both ends of the political spectrum have agreed to further this effort. States and the federal government need to make the possession and use of these medicines for treatment of PTSD and depression as well as other legitimate treatment purposes legal. Psychedelics were briefly tried for the same conditions half a century ago until they were made illegal due to recreational use and resulting problems. Use of pharmaceutical grade medicines for legitimate treatment of depression and PTSD is likely to not only help cure difficult cases but also substantially reduce the rate of suicide so that eventually we will have no fallen heroes. We invite you to join us in this effort.