Lack of understanding about the brain has resulted in endless 'me too' drugs and little progress in mental illness treatment the past four decades.
Improving mental health treatment and its availability has been greatly ignored by politicians and a large portion of the medical community for decades.
It's time for a quantum culture change in society to reinforce our emotional well-being.
A paradoxical lack of funding for psychotherapists exists despite embarrassing lack of care in rural and underserved communities.
Major Gaps in Mental Healthcare
Research targeting the serotonin 2a receptor and consciousness–or even using compounds that already exist (i.e. classic hallucinogens)–could result in the creation of novel mental health drugs and present a larger variety of treatment options ideal for a 21st century America.
Classic hallucinogens could ai psychotherapy
Classic hallucinogens could be a great aid to the mental health practitioner shortage by reducing the number of visits needed to achieve the desired benefit (normally 8-12 psychotherapy sessions) and tell us more about under-explored brain pathways.
DEA rescheduling of classic hallucinogens is needed to allow expanded research that will help us better understand mental illness, addiction, and brain disorders. Consciousness research will provide the new frontier of treating mental illness.
From the American Society of Clinical Oncology:
"The NYU researchers have completed their phase II study, in which they’ve established feasibility and safety. However, psilocybin remains an illegal schedule I drug, creating multiple challenges for widespread investigation. Dr. Guss said, “The current study is designed to show safety and efficacy in terms of significant improvement in cancer-related anxiety, but it is underpowered for petitioning the DEA to reschedule psilocybin.
The Heffter Research Institute is planning to launch a multicenter phase III study with about 300 enrollees, which would provide the kind of data needed for rescheduling and further work that will lead to the incorporation of psilocybin-assisted therapy into well-controlled clinical settings.
In addition to the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study, work in this intriguing area is being conducted at the Harbor-UCLA Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety trial led by Charles Grob, MD,2 and the Johns Hopkins University Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety trial. According to the preliminary work from these studies, the psilocybin-assisted treatment model might offer a valuable approach to addressing the existential crisis that many cancer patients suffer.
Drs. Bossis and Guss have stressed that this treatment should only be used in the tightly controlled environment of a clinical trial, and it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Whether this inexpensive therapy will have the potential to significantly improve the quality of life and psychospiritual well-being of cancer patients will only be determined in the context of a phase III clinical trial."
Senator Patrick Kennedy:
Battle for mental health treatment coverage
Read VICE News' interview with Hockenhull.
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