A Look at the Potential of Psychedelics in Treating Bipolar Disorder

June 23, 2020 13:06:32

For decades, the general agreement within scientific circles has been that people with bipolar disorder should stay away from psychedelics as these substances could worsen their condition. The reasoning behind this recommendation has always been that psychedelics can trigger manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder, and that was too huge a risk to take.

This concern isn’t a myth as there are recorded cases of people going into a manic episode. Psychedelics tend to impact the serotonin system within the brain, and for people with bipolar, this could trigger mania or “mood episodes.”

In fact, researchers say that the available literature indicates that many people only get a definitive diagnosis for bipolar disorder after clinicians notice that those individuals feel worse (or get manic and in some extreme cases they exhibit symptoms of psychosis) when they take a prescription of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) for depression.

Consequently, this pattern made the scientific community reach the conclusion that psychedelics aren’t suitable for people with bipolar disorder.

But, is this an open and shut case? Some scientists are beginning to think otherwise.

Ketamine doesn’t influence serotonin as much as other entheogens do. Instead, ketamine interacts with the glutamate as well as the NMDA receptors. The researchers who have observed this activity theorize that this mode of action could explain why ketamine acts so rapidly to tone down the effects of antidepressants.

Benjamin Mudge, a doctoral student at Flinders University, is actually basing on this situation (treating bipolar disorder using ketamine-assisted therapy) to write his PhD thesis.

Mudge also suffers from bipolar disorder, and his quest for a different treatment modality stemmed from his frustration at being “numb to the world” due to the effects of the prescription meds he had been taking for more than a decade.

Mudge turned to ayahuasca and the psychedelic substance taken as a tea has brought tremendous improvements to the quality of his life.

It is the dedicated work of scientists, as well as forward-looking companies like Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (OTCQB: SHRMF) (FWB: 496), which is bringing hope to people suffering from bipolar disorder that they too could one day find relief from their symptoms by taking psychedelics.

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