The experimental treatment uses the active ingredient in the mushrooms – psilocybin – to help people with depression.
Translation by Thomas Ansell
UMCG and the UMC Utrecht are using the treatment in collaboration with hospitals in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland. The treatment is seen as an alternative to anti-depressive medication, reports RTV Noord.
During the main session, the patient will take a dose of psilocybin and two specially-trained therapists supervise the subsequent trip. The session is prepared with a psychiatrist, and afterwards there is an evaluation session. For the patients in question, the research includes one session of taking the substance, followed by a number of individual follow-up appointments.
Not all patients with depression benefit from the more commonly prescribed treatments for anti-depressants and psychotherapy. A course of therapeutic psilocybin looks like a promising alternative treatment: the substance has a different working mechanism to traditional anti-depressants, and also has a much quicker effect.
Robert Schoevers, a psychiatrist at UMCG, says that more research must be done. “There is still a lot that we don’t know. Therefore, it is important that we do more research into the side-effects of the treatment in this patient group.”
In a number of other countries, a total of 216 patients have taken part in the experimental treatment thus far. In March, the first patients in the Netherlands will begin their treatment, having been selected by their GPs, psychiatrists, and the GGZ services (geestelijk gezondheidszorg; mental health care).
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