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Bright Ideas 2018: Use psilocybin in treating depression

Bright Ideas 2018: Use psilocybin in treating depression

From the Bright Ideas 2018: Madison's brightest train their brains on the year ahead series
Charles Raison USE

Charles Raison: "Helping patients regain their equilibrium without taking a pill every day? That’s the holy grail of mental health."

For the fifth year, Cap Times reporters asked several Madisonians to share their "bright ideas" for the new year. We will publish the 2018 edition of Bright Ideas throughout the next week.

In my work as a psychiatrist, I have spent years looking at ways to treat depression. Depression and anxiety are problems everywhere. They account for a huge amount of the health burden around the world, much of it in the first world.

But there are some really interesting things afoot. Usona is a medical research organization that is exploring the potential of psychedelic medication — psilocybin — in depression treatment.

My hope in the coming year is that we continue to see exploration of the therapeutic use of psilocybin.

The use of psychoactive substances to transform consciousness goes back 6,000 or 7,000 years. The work on psilocybin is very rigid academically and scientifically with academic partners around the world.

It’s part of a larger movement. Psychedelics and other practices, like hyperthermia (application of heat) were ancient interventions that people realized held great promise.

And psilocybin and hyperthermia don’t appear to have to be taken every day. Helping patients regain their equilibrium without taking a pill every day? That’s the holy grail of mental health.

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