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Mental Health Treatments: Australia OKs MDMA, psilocybin, but what does this mean?

Psilocybin, the psychoactive substance in so-called magic mushrooms, and MDMA will become legal in the treatment of some mental health conditions in Australia.

Article originally from Medical News Today. Read full article here. Posted online. Written by Katharine Lang on February 10, 2023

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder do not always respond to therapies or medication.
  • In the hunt for effective therapies, the Australian government has authorized the use of psychedelics for these severe mental health issues.
  • Under strict controls, Australian psychiatrists will be able to prescribe medicines containing MDMA for severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression from July 2023.
  • Medical News Today asked experts in the United States and the United Kingdom for their reaction to the decision.

PTSD is a mental health condition that may occur after someone has gone through a traumatic experience. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, symptoms — including flashbacks, negative thoughts, and sleep disturbances — can have a major impact on a person’s life.

For some people, PTSD resolves through talking therapies, medication, or both, but for others, treatment is ineffective.

Depression that does not respond adequately to treatment with standard anti-depressants is known as treatment-resistant depression. It is relatively common, occurring in up to 60% of people treated for depression.

Dr. Adrian Jacques H. Ambrose, senior medical director of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, told Medical News Today just how important it was to find new treatments.

“According to some studies, a significant portion—approximately half—of the patients with severe psychiatric conditions like PTSD or MDD [major depressive disorder] don’t respond to FDA-approved treatments, like SSRIsTrusted Source,” he noted.

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