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      Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for depression: How dire is the need? How could we do it?

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          Despite the popular support for psychedelics as aids for depression, academics and the public frequently overestimate the efficacy of available medications and psychotherapies. Metaanalyses reveal that antidepressant medications alone help only one in four patients and rarely surpass credible placebos. Their effects, though statistically significant, might not impress depressed patients themselves. Psychotherapies create better outcomes than antidepressant drugs alone; combining the two provides measurable advantages. Nevertheless, the best combinations help only 65% of the clients who complete treatment. The drugs create side-effects and withdrawal surprisingly more severe than professional guidelines imply, too. Psychedelics appear to improve depression through some of the same mechanisms as psychotherapy, as well as some novel ones, suggesting that the combination could work very well. In addition, subjective experiences during the psychedelic sessions covary with improvement. Guiding clients to focus on these targeted thoughts and feelings could improve outcome. These data underscore the serious need for clinical trials of psychedelic-assisted, empirically supported treatment for depression with guided experiences during the psychedelic session. These trials would require important components to maximize their impact, including meaningful preparatory sessions designed to enhance motivation and explain empirically supported approaches, guided administration sessions that focus on oceanic boundlessness, integration sessions that support progress, and follow-up sessions consistent with established research. This combination involves markedly more than a simple pairing of medication and talk therapy, but proper application could have an unparalleled impact on public health.

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          Author and article information

          Journal of Psychedelic Studies
          Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
          June 2020
          23 July 2020
          : 4
          : 2
          : 88-92
          [1 ] University at Albany , SUNY, Albany, NY, USA
          [2 ] University of Guelph-Humber , Etobicoke, ON, Canada
          [3 ] WIN Consulting International , Hamilton, ON, Canada
          Author notes
          [* ]Corresponding author. deptDepartment of Psychology, Social Sciences 399, University at Albany, SUNY , 1400 Washington Ave., 122222, Albany, NY, USA E-mail: mearleywine@ 123456albany.edu
          Author information
          © 2020 The Author(s)

          Open Access statement. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

          : 06 February 2020
          : 23 April 2020
          Page count
          References: 30, Pages: 05
          Original article

          Evolutionary Biology,Medicine,Psychology,Educational research & Statistics,Social & Behavioral Sciences
          psychedelic psychotherapy,LSD,benefits,ketamine,psilocybin,depression


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