Researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine showed how psychedelic drug therapy can be successfully used to treat alcohol addiction. The study is published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
The researchers recruited 93 participants, men and women, with alcohol dependence. They were given 12 psychotherapy sessions and were randomly assigned to receive either two doses of psilocybin (a compound found in psychedelic mushrooms) or an antihistamine placebo.
For the next few weeks, they were asked to report their heavy drinking urges and the days they drank considerably.
The results revealed that participants who received psychedelic treatment experienced a considerable reduction in heavy drinking urges. In fact, psilocybin reduced heavy drinking by 83% in heavy drinkers.
One of the lead authors, Michael Bogenschutz, elaborated: “Our findings strongly suggest that psilocybin therapy is a promising means of treating alcohol use disorder, a complex disease that has proven notoriously difficult to manage.”
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Bogenschutz, M. P., Ross, S., Bhatt, S., Baron, T., Forcehimes, A. A., Laska, E., Mennenga, S. E., O’Donnell, K., Owens, L. T., Podrebarac, S., Rotrosen, J., Tonigan, J. S., & Worth, L. (2022). Percentage of Heavy Drinking Days Following Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy vs Placebo in the Treatment of Adult Patients With Alcohol Use Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA psychiatry, 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.2096. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.2096