Study senior author and psychiatrist Michael Bogenschutz, MD, director of the NYU Langone Center for Psychedelic Medicine, said:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that excessive alcohol use kills about 95,000 Americans each year, often due to excessive drinking or liver disease. Bogenschutz, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health, says it’s also been linked to enormous economic and workplace losses, injuries, and impairments in learning, memory, and health. mental health. Current methods for preventing excessive alcohol use and dependence include psychological counseling, supervised detoxification programs, and certain drug regimens that reduce cravings.
According to the study investigators, previous research has identified psilocybin treatment as an effective method for alleviating anxiety and depression in people with the most severe forms of cancer. And earlier research by Bogenschutz and others has suggested that psilocybin could serve as a potential therapy for alcohol use disorder and other addictions.
New research, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, This is the first placebo-controlled trial to explore psilocybin as a treatment for excessive alcohol consumption, according to the study authors.
To investigate, the team recruited men and women who had been diagnosed with alcoholism based on standard definitions and drank an average of seven drinks on the days they drank. Forty-eight patients received at least one dose and a maximum of three doses of psilocybin, and 45 patients received an antihistamine placebo.
All received up to 12 sessions of psychotherapy. These took place both before and after drug treatment. Participants were then asked to report the percentage of heavy drinking days they experienced during weeks 5 to 36 of the study. They also provide hair and nail samples to confirm they don’t drink alcohol. All participants were then offered a third session of psilocybin to ensure that those who had previously received a placebo had a chance to be treated with the psychedelic drug.
“As research into psychedelics grows, we find more and more possible applications for mental health conditions,” says Bogenschutz.
Bogenschutz said the research team next plans to conduct a larger, multicenter trial under the FDA IND sponsored by B.More Inc.
He cautioned that more work needs to be done to document the effects of psilocybin and clarify the appropriate dosage before the drug is ready for widespread clinical use. He noted that researchers have already begun such experiments.
Psilocybin is a natural compound derived from mushrooms with similar mind-altering qualities to LSD and mescaline. Most study participants experienced profound changes in perception, emotion, and sense of self, often including experiences thought to be of great spiritual and personal significance. Because the drug raises blood pressure and heart rate, and can cause disability and sometimes strong psychological effects, the researchers note that the drug should only be used in carefully controlled settings. carefully and in conjunction with psychological assessment and preparation.