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A New Line of Antidepressants | Mapping Medicine

A New Line of Antidepressants

Science is still lagging behind when it comes to defining and treating the “mental disorder” that we call depression. Right now science can not tell the difference between the brain of a person who has depression and the brain of someone who doesn’t have it. There are some indications that a lack of certain neurotransmitters (such as serotonin) are involved, but it is a much more complex process that creates and heals depression. Science is still mostly in the dark about the affects of depression on the brain as well as how antidepressants actually work. Isn’t it weird that they are so widely prescribed when so little is known about their functioning? The conventional contemporary treatment procedures for depression are from the 1940’s and 50’s. The so-called SRRI medication (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) prevent serotonin, the happy hormone, from being reabsorbed in the brain cells, which makes it available for stimulation to synapses various times. But at the same time the conventional medication does not work reliably and for everybody in the same way. Especially in mild cases of depression it is argued that this line of anti-depressants is not much more effective than a combination of various other treatment forms. Many unwanted side effects come with the medication, even suicidal tendencies are among them. This seems totally contra-indicative, because when you’re depressed, having suicidal tendencies is exactly what you don’t want to have to deal with. With the current rise of science around psychedelic substances a possible new line of anti-depressants is coming into focus. The science around psychedelics has only recently been rehabilitated, since national and international drug laws have since the 1960s consecutively prohibited the use and research of most of the psychedelic substances. If we look behind the panic screen of public moral and unscientific drug laws we can find very promising results in studies done around ayahuasca (the visionary Amazonian plant brew), psilocybin (the active chemical in “magic mushrooms”) and MDMA also known as ecstasy in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Draulio Barros de Araujo is a professor of neuroimaging at the Brain Institute (UFRN) in Natal, Brazil. He has been part of a preliminary study where six depressed patients received an open label single dose of Ayahuasca. With significant reduction of the depressive symptoms of up to 82% in the patients measured at 1, 7 and 21 days after the study, ayahuasca seems like a promising new approach to treating depression. The next step before such a new medication can be available to the masses are double blind placebo controlled studies on a larger scale. This means that in the study ayahuasca has to be served as well as a placebo that has no chemical interaction with the patients brain, and neither the patient nor the researcher, at the moment of administering the dose, know whether ayahuasca or a placebo is given. While the licensing process might still take a while, we can help spread information on these hopeful new alternative treatments, in the name of everyone suffering from depression and their families.

Links:

http://www.maps.org/news/multimedia-library/2211-can-psychedelic-drugs-treat-depression1

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1516-44462015000100013&script=sci_arttext&tlng=pt

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-med-053013-062946

By | 2017-07-05T21:55:15+00:00 July 5th, 2017|Categories: VIDEO|Tags: , , , , , , |

About the Author:

Lisa
Six years ago I, I had just turned 27, I received my master’s degree in Anthropology. At that moment I was supposed to transition into a working life mode. My passion was with documentary film making, which had been a substantial part of my education. I imagined how a job in that field would be like: I saw myself taking the metro everyday to work, sitting in an office and realising other peoples’ ideas. My heart cramped up at this outlook on life. It just seemed wrong, I didn’t want to be stuck in a treadmill, executing other people’s ideas, I wanted to realise my own. So instead of looking for a job, I separated from my boyfriend, moved back in with my parents and began looking for myself. I spent 9 months exploring shamanism, meditation, systemic therapies, past-life therapies and meditation. I participated in a vision-quest and spend 4 days alone without food in a forest and encountered my deepest fear - the fear of death. I participated in camps that practiced community life and taught the way of the circle, the ancestral way of sharing oneself in a talking circle. I felt the power and the beauty of the shamanic approach and by the end of that year I finally encountered with the amazonian plant teacher ayahuasca. She showed me the perfect harmony of the universe and then she brought me all the way from Germany into the savanna of central Brazil, where I am based now. For the last 5 years I have been drinking a lot of Ayahuasca in various lineages, intensely exploring my Self. I passed through various crises and got stronger along the way. Since the plant medicines and healing modalities that I have encountered have helped me greatly on my path of deconditioning myself of everything alien to me and of becoming more and more who I am meant to be, I feel the call to share this information and my experiences with healing and medicine with more people. I wish for all of us to be conscious and openhearted human beings so we can co-create a new reality on this beautiful earth. Mapping Medicine is a project straight from my heart to yours. I hope it inspires you on your healing journey!