(Natural News) Are you one of the millions of Americans suffering with depression? The World Health Organization reports that nearly 300 million people are affected by this debilitating condition around the globe, that it is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and that for those most severely affected, suicide can seem like the only way out. In spite of the pervasiveness of this condition, and the fact that more and more people are being diagnosed with it, the mainstream medical community stubbornly continues to prescribe mind-altering chemical antidepressant drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), in spite of their inefficacy and toxic side effects.
And yet, there are natural, effective alternatives to these dangerous medications – though they won’t provide the steady stream of income for medical practitioners that chemical medications do, of course. One of the alternatives which has been studied extensively in the treatment of depression is psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in “magic” mushrooms, which remain a banned substance. Several studies have been conducted into the use of psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs in the treatment of depression, with very promising results.
The small trial involved 20 patients who had not responded to any other treatments for depression, and who were each given two doses of psilocybin – first 10 mg, and then 25 mg a week later. According to Medical Xpress, the team used two types of brain imaging methods in 19 of the patients “to measure changes in blood flow and the crosstalk between brain regions, with patients reporting their depressive symptoms through completing clinical questionnaires.”
The results of the study were very encouraging. The patients themselves reported an improvement in their depressive symptoms, including improved mood and feeling less stressed. (Related: Stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the treatment of mental health issues at Psychiatry.news.)
Encouragingly, their feelings were backed up by the science. Medical Xpress reports:
Functional MRI imaging revealed reduced blood flow in areas of the brain, including the amygdala, a small, almond-shaped region of the brain known to be involved in processing emotional responses, stress and fear. They also found increased stability in another brain network, previously linked to psilocybin’s immediate effects as well as to depression itself.
The research team believes that psilocybin literally resets the brain, and that the positive results can last for up to five weeks after treatment.
“We have shown for the first time clear changes in brain activity in depressed people treated with psilocybin after failing to respond to conventional treatments,” explained Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, lead author of the study and the university’s head of psychedelic research. “Several of our patients described feeling ‘reset’ after the treatment and often used computer analogies. For example, one said he felt like his brain had been ‘defragged’ like a computer hard drive, and another said he felt ‘rebooted’. Psilocybin may be giving these individuals the temporary ‘kick start’ they need to break out of their depressive states and these imaging results do tentatively support a ‘reset’ analogy. Similar brain effects to these have been seen with electroconvulsive therapy.”
While the researchers emphasize that their research is at an early stage and that patients should not attempt to self-medicate, there are many other positive and natural ways in which people struggling with depression can improve their feelings of well-being.
In an earlier article, Natural News revealed several tips to help you beat depression, including:
- Engage in hard physical work and exercise to get deep, restful sleep;
- Improve your mental perspective by focusing on the fact that other people in the past have made it through even tougher situations than you are currently facing, and you can do so too;
- Remove yourself from any abusive relationships you might be involved in;
- Eat fermented foods to improve digestive health and to fortify your microbiome;
- Avoid glyphosate in the environment and in conventionally farmed foods;
- Make sure you get enough vitamin D by getting out in the sunshine every day; and
- Get out into nature and breathe deeply as often as possible.
So, while those suffering from depression may feel like they are stuck in a black hole of despair, they should never give up. There are natural, non-invasive and effective treatments that can really help, including the suggestions above, music therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, among many others.