Pioneering trial to ease grief with psychedelics

by Team Inc.

psychedelic mushroom

The death of a loved one, for example after a battle with cancer, can cause long-lasting grief. It can affect the lives of the next of kin for a long time and ensure that they remain 'stuck' in this phase for a very long time. Psychedelics may help with this grieving period.

“Prolonged grief can cause really intense and overwhelming suffering, impairing a person's ability to function at home, at work and in relationships,” says Vanessa Beesley, assistant professor at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia. Australia. “It essentially leaves people stuck in that early grieving phase.

Psychedelics & psychotherapy

“We want to explore whether psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy can bring some relief and help them live with loss. We are encouraged by other studies involving similar psilocybininterventions were associated with rapid and lasting benefits to the mental health of people with treatment-resistant depression and end-of-life anxiety.”

The upcoming 15-week pilot trial will feature up to 15 participants who have lost a loved one to cancer. Participants undergo three psychotherapy sessions prior to a dose of psilocybin, which will be done in the presence of the therapist and a nurse. This is followed by four more therapy sessions.

“The psychotherapy sessions after the dosing day will really focus on helping participants process their psychedelic experience and any unresolved grief, and identifying changes the participant could make in their life after the experience,” said Beesley . “It is very important that the intervention is built around structured psychotherapy. This way, participants can prepare for the day of dosing and can later unpack the effects with expert guidance.”

The dosing day is expected to last eight hours, with the participant under constant supervision in a private room with a bed, eye mask, and music designed for a pleasurable experience. Dr. Stephen Parker, psychiatrist: “The aim is to investigate whether this therapy with psychedelics is somehow acceptable, safe and potentially beneficial for people. This will help plan larger studies with a large enough sample to test the effectiveness of this intervention for long-term grief.”

Source: (EN)

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