Patients with major depressive disorder ( MDD) who were given two doses of psilocybin along with psychotherapy saw a decline in depressive symptoms in a small clinical trial. The psychedelic therapeutic effects, with limited side effects, lasted for up to 4 weeks.
Psychedelics are known for their hallucinogenic properties, but individuals with depression can also benefit from their mind-altering effects.
In the United States , approximately 17.3 million people have experienced at least one depressive episode, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Presently, psychotherapy or antidepressant medicine is the gold standard for treating MDD. A 2014 research in World Psychiatry found that antidepressant-combined psychotherapy was more effective than the former alone.
Replacing antidepressants with mushrooms that are hallucinogenic
Ketamine-like drugs that display a high therapeutic response are novel antidepressants. In Psychopharmacology, a 2014 meta-analysis states that approximately 0.5 milligrams per kilogram of ketamine effectively reduced depressive symptoms. After surgery, these results also lasted 2-3 days. There are some disadvantages, however.
Although currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA), when using ketamine, there are some short-term side effects to remember, such as feeling odd or bizarre, numbness, and speaking difficulties.
Ketamine is particularly responsible for addiction and may have a high potential for misuse. A 2018 research in Neurobiology of Stress found that prolonged low-dose treatments with ketamine for treatment-resistant depression resulted in cognitive decline and violence potential.
Alternative therapies to complement psychotherapy are required to discourage people from abusing their medicine, entering psilocybin.
There is growing proof of the antidepressant properties of psilocybin. A research in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that a single dose of psilocybin created an antidepressant and anxiolytic response that lasted for 5 years in cancer patients.
Psilocybin has lower addictive effects compared with ketamine, which would be useful for existing therapies as a possible add-on. Clinical studies testing this substance in combination therapy, however, are minimal.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have recently released an article contributing to studies exploring the efficacy of psilocybin-assisted depression therapy.
“These findings extend the results of previous studies involving cancer and depression patients as well as treatment-resistant depression patients by indicating that psilocybin could be beneficial in the far larger MDD population,” the authors of the study write.
Their clinical trial results appear in JAMA Psychiatry.
Johns Hopkins clinical trial
The researchers of the present study recruited adults with MDD from August 2017 to April 2019 who did not take antidepressant drugs and had no history of psychotic illness, suicide attempts, or hospitalizations. A total of 24 participants were randomly allocated by the scientists to an immediate or delayed treatment group.
The psychedelic-assisted therapy lasted for 8 weeks, with 18 in-person visits and 2 days of treatment with psilocybin.
During an 11-hour supportive psychotherapy session , participants in the immediate treatment community started psilocybin treatment. The researchers permitted a break of 1.6 weeks between the first and second doses. The delayed therapy group, by comparison, waited 8 weeks before obtaining psilocybin-assisted therapy.
Reduction of depression severity
Participants had a score of 23 on the GRID-Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (GRID-HAMD) at the time of registration, which suggests moderate depression. Participants in the immediate care group fell to a score of 8 after 1 week and 1 month of follow-up, suggesting moderate depression.
In the entire cohort, 1 week after treatment with psilocybin, 67 percent decreased the severity of their depressive symptoms. When researchers followed up after 4 weeks, this percentage rose to 71 percent.
After 1 week, the researchers found that 58% were no longer listed as clinically depressed in the cohort. By week 4, 54 percent of the participants were no longer classified as depressed, they found.
Limitations from the clinical trial design
There are some constraints that may challenge the usefulness of the findings of the analysis. As recruiting was leaning towards non-Hispanic whites, the sample had inadequate minority representation.
Although white people usually report more cases, this is significant because the American Psychiatric Association states that for longer periods, black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to experience depression. In response, the researchers recognize the need to test this proof of concept in more representative populations for future studies.
The research also fails to discuss the long-term consequences of therapy with psilocybin. The current study followed up after just 1 month, unlike the investigation on cancer patients, which had a 5-year follow up.
The research design also had variables that could challenge the efficacy of psilocybin as an antidepressant drug. Each of these comes from the absence of a placebo community. In deciding whether an individual has actually benefited from the medication and not from outside causes, placebos are important. The efficacy of using psilocybin for this purpose remains uncertain.
Overall , the authors find that the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy for MDD supports their clinical trial.
“Although psilocybin ‘s rapid antidepressant effects are similar to those reported with ketamine, there are different therapeutic effects. Usually, ketamine effects last for a few days to 2 weeks, although the current study found that clinically significant antidepressant response to psilocybin therapy continued for at least 4 weeks, with 71 percent of participants continuing to show clinically significant response at week 4 of follow-up (about 50 percent decrease in GRID-HAMD score).
What to know about unipolar depression
Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression. The term “unipolar depression” refers to a type of depression that does not cycle through other mental states like mania. Bipolar disorders, on the other hand, cause in times of both depression and mania.
Unipolar depression, on the other hand, does not imply that a person is always depressed. People who suffer from major depressive disorder may go through periods of remission followed by periods of depression relapse. They may also feel better when their circumstances change, especially if they have atypical depression, a kind of major depressive disorder.
One of the most prevalent mental health diagnoses is unipolar depression. It can cause physical symptoms as well as substantial trouble managing everyday tasks and relationships, in addition to a melancholy or gloomy mood. In the United States, 7.8% of all people had at least one major depressive episode in 2019.
Continue reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for unipolar depression.
What is unipolar depression?
Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression. This mental condition has an impact on both mental and physical health.
The following are the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder:
At least five of the following symptoms must be present:
- Concentration issues: A person may find it difficult to concentrate, pay attention, or think coherently. It’s possible that some people will have cognitive fog.
- Thoughts of death or suicide: An individual may experience intrusive thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide.
- Depressed mood: On most days, a person feels sad or depressed for the most of the day. They can be feeling empty, hopeless, melancholy, or unsure about the future. These symptoms can appear in youngsters as behavioral difficulties or irritability.
- Loss of pleasure: Activities that a person used to enjoy may now provide little or no pleasure.
Weight or appetite changes:. Without attempting to gain or lose weight, a person may gain or lose 5% or more of their body weight, or suffer changes in appetite, such as eating too much or too little.
- Sleeping issue: A person may sleep excessively or insufficiently.
- Fatigue: When a person is physically and emotionally weary, it might affect their motivation and ability to complete everyday chores.
Only if a person’s depression symptoms are not caused by bipolar disorder or another medical condition will they be diagnosed. Their symptoms must be distressing and not be the result of medication or a physical ailment. They must also have never gone through a manic episode.
Secondary symptoms can cause as a result of depression’s symptoms, such as:
- trouble studying or excelling at school
- difficulties with self-care
- trouble getting or keeping a job
- relationship conflict
People who are depressed have a distorted vision of the world, which can affect how they think and feel about other people and themselves. Interpersonal difficulties, low self-esteem, rejection sensitivity, and other issues may arise as a result.
Major depressive illness is a multifaceted condition with genetic, psychological, social, and interpersonal causes. Depression is caused by the interaction of several factors. For example, a person may have a genetic predisposition to depression, which is subsequently activated by trauma or stress, resulting in symptoms.
Researchers aren’t sure what causes sadness, but they do know that changes in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters play a part. Antidepressants work by affecting brain chemicals including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, implying that these chemicals play a role in mood.
The following are some of the risk factors for developing unipolar depression:
- some medical conditions, including thyroid disorders
- family history of depression
- trauma and adverse childhood experiences
How does it differ from other forms of depression?
The main distinction between unipolar depression and bipolar depression is that a person with unipolar depression simply has depression rather than the cycles of depression and mania that bipolar illness, or bipolar depression, is known for.
People who suffer from bipolar depression have bouts of depression comparable to those who suffer from major depressive illness, but they also have moments of mania, when their mood is extremely elevated. A person may be unusually happy during manic episodes. They could make rash or hazardous judgments, such as overspending money.
People who suffer from unipolar depression are not constantly depressed. Some people may look to be cheerful, act to be happy, or have periods when their depressive symptoms improve.
Atypical depression, a subtype of major depressive illness, is more likely to be persistent. It does, however, respond better to changes in circumstances, which means that when a person’s position improves, they may be happy and have less symptoms. This is not to be confused with the mood cycling seen in bipolar depression.
Depression does not always take the form of major depressive disorder. Other types of unipolar depression that don’t entail manic episodes include:
- Postpartum depression: Following the birth of a child, this type of depression develops.
- Seasonal affective disorder: This sort of seasonal depression is more common in the winter.
- Persistent depressive disorder: The symptoms of this chronic form of depression are usually milder than those of major depressive disorder.
- Psychotic depression: A person suffering from this sort of depression causes psychotic ideas. Delusions and hallucinations are examples of psychotic beliefs that are divorced from reality.
A low and depressed mood is a symptom of major depression. A person’s perception of the world may be largely negative, resulting in cognitive distortions that negatively impact their relationships, work, and school performance.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of depression:
- unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- low energy
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- feeling hopeless about the future
- being unable to get pleasure from hobbies, relationships, or other previously enjoyed activities
- trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
- slowed movements or speech
- feeling restless or pacing
- brain fog
- thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- eating too much or too little
Secondary difficulties, such as unemployment or low school performance, might cause as a result of depression symptoms.
Antidepressants come in a variety of forms, with the best option dependent on a number of criteria. These are some of them:
- the subtype of major depression
- the side effects the person feels they can tolerate
- the person’s overall health
Before getting relief from their symptoms, a person may need to take many drugs or different dosages of the same prescription. Working with a skilled psychiatrist and discussing side effects and other treatment problems may speed up the relief process.
Psychotherapy techniques, particularly those developed to treat depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy, can assist a person in better coping, implementing positive lifestyle changes, and managing life with depression.
Therapies that directly stimulate the brain, such as electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, may also help, especially if other treatments are ineffective.
Some people find that changing their lifestyle, such as exercising more, eating a well-balanced diet, practicing meditation, or taking up a new activity, is beneficial.
Depression is difficult to cure and often chronic, thus a person may go through periods of remission before relapsing.
A complete depression treatment plan that combines medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes may help a person manage better through relapses of depression.
According to a 2019 study, several characteristics boost the chances of depression remission. These are some of them:
- less chronic depression
- not experiencing complicated grief
- not having a history of childhood adversity
- a better quality of life
- less severe depression
- less anxiety
Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression.
It can have an impact on a person’s relationships, profession, education, and sense of self, among other things. Myths about depression might make it difficult for people to get help or seek it.
Although significant depression is difficult to treat, it is possible to achieve remission, especially when a person has access to thorough and experienced care.
People who are depressed should get mental health treatment as soon as possible. A person can often be referred to a qualified and supportive mental health practitioner by their primary care physician.
Depression support groups: All to know
Depression support groups come in a variety of forms. There are several unstructured internet forums. A moderator can also be found in online and in-person groups to help steer the discussion.
Support groups give an emotionally safe space for people to vent their thoughts, share ideas, and learn useful knowledge. Many of them are available for free.
Some high-quality data shows that internet support groups are useful in reducing depressive symptoms, according to a 2017 research. People who have used them have said that they:
- Reduce isolation.
- improve daily functioning.
- This increases the likelihood of seeking professional help.
Depression is frequent in the United States, affecting around 4.7 percent of people aged 18 and over.
This article examines the benefits of depression support groups, including online, in-person, and speciality groups. Other types of assistance are also discussed.
A few online support groups for depression are included below, along with some of its advantages.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
An anonymous peer-to-peer support group for people suffering from depression and anxiety is offered by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Individuals and their families may share their stories and interact with others in a secure environment.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
For people suffering from depression or bipolar illness, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) offers online peer-led sessions. After registering with DBSA, individuals can attend planned sessions to learn coping techniques and provide hope to one another. A updated list of meetings for each day is available on the website.
Mental Health America
MHA (Mental Health America) is an online forum where people may talk about a variety of mental health issues, including depression. It is available to persons who have the condition as well as their carers.
Volunteer moderators who have either experienced depression or have a loved one who has it moderate the Depression Forums. The forums cover a wide range of topics, including medicines and relationships. There’s also a “water cooler” where members may talk about whatever they like and get to know one another.
People with depression may use Depression Understood to communicate with others in a variety of ways. These include live chat rooms that are available 24 hours a day, as well as forums where people may post messages for others. In addition, Depression Understood gives people the tools they need to launch their own blogs.
People with depression are welcome to attend peer-led Zoom meetings hosted by the Livewell Foundation. On the website, it displays the weekly meetings and subjects, and members may attend the ones that interest them.
The Livewell Foundation does have some attendance limitations, such as a “no observer” policy, which means that family members and caregivers are not permitted to attend.
In-person support groups
In-person support groups provide all of the advantages of online support groups, plus the added benefit of face-to-face connection. A person’s doctor is an excellent source of information about local in-person support groups.
Some of the most well-known mental health organizations have ties to the following in-person choices. Each website provides a search function for finding a group in a certain location.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
The ADAA maintains local and online support groups, although they are not available in every state. If a local group is not already accessible in a certain location, the organization also provides information on how to create one.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
In-person groups are offered by the DBSA in a variety of places. During the COVID-19 epidemic, however, many of the organizations turned to social media, email, and online meeting spaces to stay in touch.
Mental Health America Affiliates
In addition to online support groups, the MHA provides in-person support groups. Some groups are led by peers, while others are led by mental health professionals.
There are a variety of organizations that offer help for certain forms of depression or to specific demographics. There are additional groups for carers and family members. Here are a few to think about.
Postpartum Support International
People who experience depression during pregnancy or after childbirth can join Postpartum Support International‘s online support groups. It also has a section for people who are having trouble conceiving or have had a miscarriage.
National Alliance on Mental Health Family Support Group
Any adult who has a loved one with a mental health condition is welcome to join the National Alliance on Mental Health Family Support Group. Once a week, once a month, or twice a month, the groups meet for 60–90 minutes. They offer a number of advantages, including assisting members in developing stronger coping abilities.
OK2TALK is a platform for young people and teens with mental illnesses to speak with one another. It’s a safe place to talk about your challenges, your rehabilitation, and your hope.
DailyStrength (DS) is a support group for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental condition that can lead to despair. With approximately 9,000 members, the DS community is rather active.
How to choose a group
Finding a support group that a person loves is a very individual experience. Before attempting one, people should think about if they prefer:
- a group that helps people with any type of depression, or a specialized group
- a group that allows family members and caregivers, or one that only allows people with depression
- an online or in-person group
- a group that is free-form, or one that is moderated by a mental health professional
It may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. It’s fine to quit one group and join another if it doesn’t seem right.
Support groups can be a beneficial supplement to a person’s treatment, but they are not a substitute for treatment. Doctors usually prescribe talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two for this.
Talk therapy can assist a person in processing their emotions and learning to regulate them in a healthy manner. It can also educate someone coping techniques or assist in the discovery of the condition’s underlying root causes.
There are many different sorts of talk therapy, so just because a person doesn’t like one style or one therapist doesn’t imply it won’t help. Finding a therapist with whom a person can form a positive relationship is important.
Depressive symptoms may be alleviated with medication. People may take these to make it easier to start talking therapy. People may find it beneficial to continue taking them indefinitely in some cases.
Depression medications can have negative effects, and they usually take 2–4 weeks to work. Symptoms such as suicidal thoughts may temporarily rise in young people under the age of 25. In the first few weeks after starting these drugs, it’s important to keep a careful eye on young people who are taking them.
Even if a person’s symptoms are severe, depression is generally curable. People can talk to a doctor about their alternatives in order to determine the best strategy for them.
In conclusion, depression support groups may provide people with friendship, empathy, and a secure place to talk about their feelings. Although in-person groups are not available in every place, anybody with an internet connection may participate in online groups.
Support groups offer various advantages, but physicians advise using them as a supplement to treatment rather than as a replacement.
After an abortion: Here’s how to look after yourself
After an abortion, proper self-care is important for physical and mental health.
According to one estimate, approximately one out of every four women will have an abortion before the age of 45.
Abortion is a relatively risk-free operation when conducted by a medical practitioner. People should, however, be mindful of what to expect physically and mentally later.
Continue reading to learn more about what to expect following an abortion, how to care for yourself, and when to seek medical help.
Gender and sex exist on a spectrum. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to the sex assigned at birth. To learn more, visit here.
Symptoms after an abortion
Abortion can come in a variety of forms. A doctor will advise on the best method for a person’s medical needs and pregnancy stage. Abortion comes in a variety of forms, including:
- the abortion pill
- vacuum aspiration
- dilation and evacuation, or D&E
A person’s regular menstrual period should return in 4–8 weeks after the procedure. They may, however, experience irregular spotting or bleeding at first.
In the days and weeks after an abortion, some people experience powerful emotions and mood swings. This can be caused by a sudden change in hormones, as well as a person’s feelings regarding their abortion or pregnancy.
Abortion can be a difficult emotional event, and people may need support from close friends in the days and weeks following the surgery.
When a woman ovulates, she has a chance of becoming pregnant. This might happen before the first menstruation or shortly after an abortion. If a person wants to avoid pregnancy, he or she should utilize contraception or refrain from sex.
Symptoms that commonly occur after an abortion
Regardless of the form of abortion, people may experience symptoms. However, if a woman has an abortion later in her pregnancy, the symptoms may be more severe.
Following an abortion, you should expect to experience the following symptoms:
- light vaginal bleeding or spotting
- pain and cramping
- painful or swollen breasts
How to care for yourself after an abortion
A person may feel exhausted and depleted in the days following an abortion.
Pain from cramping — similar to menstrual cramps — is common.
After the procedure, people should be driven home by a friend or family member. They may wish to take the next day or two off work if feasible to ensure that they get enough rest. They should strive to stay away from physically and emotionally challenging activities.
The cervix takes some time to close after an abortion, putting the person at risk of infection. They should avoid the following for two weeks to limit the risk of infection:
- using tampons
- having penetrative sex
- putting anything in the vagina
- using swimming pools
It is equally important to look after oneself following an abortion. Although the operation is generally fast, physical recovery can take several days or weeks. It is possible to try:
- massaging the stomach and lower back
- using a heat pack
- taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetimenophen (Tylenol)
- attending follow-up appointments
Making the decision to have an abortion is a difficult one, and it may be an emotionally draining affair.
Hormonal shifts worsen this following the surgery, resulting in mood changes. The levels of progesterone and estrogen in a person’s body gradually drop after an abortion. This can result in poor mood and mood changes.
Hormone levels will normalize once a person’s menstrual cycle returns to normal.
However, some people have continuing emotional issues that should not be overlooked. Abortion is linked to increased risks of depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and other mental health issues.
Additionally, people with a history of mental health issues may be more susceptible to these side effects.
If someone is experiencing mental health people, they should take time from work, talk to family and friends, and see a doctor.
The time it takes to heal from an abortion varies from person to person.
If an abortion is performed in the first trimester with no complications, the patient will most likely recover in a few days.
Late-term abortions may take longer to recover from. Recovery may take many weeks if complications arise. However, this is improbable, given just 2% of people experience difficulties as a result of an abortion.
Medical attention following an abortion
In a few weeks, most people who have had abortions will have a follow-up appointment. Further medical attention will not be required if there are no signs of problems.
People who are experiencing any symptoms of problems should see a doctor very once. Some abortion complications may necessitate a trip to the emergency room, though this is uncommon.
When should you see a doctor?
Many abortion clinics offer a 24-hour advising line to help people figure out if their symptoms require medical attention. If you have any of the following symptoms, call the advice line, your local emergency services, or go to the emergency room:
- have increased or excessive bleeding
- experience severe back or abdominal pain
- are feeling dizzy or faint
- have a fever
- have foul-smelling discharge
- experience nausea and vomiting
For the vast majority of people, abortion is a simple medical procedure with no long-term consequences.
Some people are concerned that abortion will have long-term consequences. Doctors, on the other hand, largely agree that having an abortion has no effect on a person’s future chances of becoming pregnant or on the probability of pregnancy difficulties.
Abortion is a tough decision, and it is natural to feel a variety of emotions as a result. If a person is experiencing emotional or physical problems as a result of an abortion, they should see a doctor.
It’s important to remember that having an abortion can be both mentally and physically challenging. The abrupt change in hormone levels, along with the emotional stress of deciding to have the surgery, can make recuperation difficult for many people.
During this period, people should seek support from close friends and family members. They can also seek help from close relatives and friends, as well as an abortion support group.
Abortion can be a physically and emotionally demanding procedure. While most people recover in a few days, there are several issues to be aware of.
They should also seek assistance from family and friends, as having an abortion can be emotionally draining.