Psychedelic medications are all over the current media. Not a week goes by when we are not asked a question from a current or an exciting patient. At the NeuroScience & TMS Treatment Center, we began offering the first legal psychedelic treatment in our clinical practice for Major Depressive Disorder and Suicidality almost two years ago.
What are psychedelics?
The word “psychedelic” refers to the drugs and naturally occurring substances that can help treat brain disorders medically and psychologically. Psychedelics are NOT new. These substances have been used in most of the world for thousands of years, but they’ve been illegal in the United States since the mid-1960s because of perceived negative effects.
Some research suggests psychedelics can treat a range of brain disorders under expert medical supervision. Esketamine (Spravato) is the only current legal psychedelic medication, and it is covered by insurance. There are Phase 3 FDA trials that may bring MDMA and psilocybin into the realm of FDA-approved medications in the next few years.
What are the effects of psychedelic medications?
Psychedelics are substances that have dissociative or brain-altering effects. The substances produce a feeling of relaxation, empathy, and sense of well-being or even a spiritual connectedness. Sometimes, these substances have side effects, such as:
- Uncomfortable reality distortions such dissociations or hallucinations
- Overly intense emotions
- Or even fearfulness or paranoia
How are psychedelic medications used?
In a therapeutic setting, a physician and a therapist or trained technician can help in treating depression and suicidality now per FDA approval; in the future, it is expected that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, and other anxiety disorders will be approved indications.
What psychedelics can treat mental health disorders?
Esketamine (Spravato) is the only current legal psychedelic medication, and it is covered by insurance.
Other psychedelics could be effective in treating mental health conditions. There are Phase 3 FDA trials that may bring MDMA and psilocybin into the realm of FDA-approved medications in the next few years.
Some of the most well-known psychedelics are:
- MDMA, 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, used illegally as “ecstasy”, has Phase 3 trials underway for the treatment of PTSD;
- Psilocybin could be useful for addiction, anxiety, and depression;
- Ayahuasca is a South American tropical vine that might help treat addiction, depression, and anxiety; and
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) which is presently an illegal drug, “acid”, that alters mood, perception, and consciousness.
How are psychedelics administered?
Esketamine (Spravato) is the only current legal psychedelic medication, and it is covered by insurance. It is a nasally-administered medication. The environment in which treatment is critical to its success. NeuroScience & TMS Treatment Center has currently developed two safe, comfortable environments for patients undergoing care with Esketamine. Following the treatment, we are developing integration therapy to help you process your experiences meaningfully.
Many of the other treatments are currently illegal, there are no standardized administration methods.
To find out more about our innovative, evidence-based treatments, call, email, or text the NeuroScience & TMS Treatment Center or request an appointment.
At the NeuroScience & TMS Treatment Center, we have several treatment options we can use, beyond common medications and therapy, to aggressively treat you for brain diseases. Learn more about our treatments and services on our Comprehensive Behavioral Health Page.
Blog Post Authors
Michelle Cochran, MD, DFAPA
Founder & Chief Medical Officer • Medical Director, Nashville Locations
Dr. Cochran has been living and working in the Nashville area for over 25 years. She supervises the skilled Nurse Practitioners who work in our clinics. She has been offering TMS services since 2011 and lectures and consults nationally and internationally about TMS. She is Board Certified and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Learn more about Dr. Cochran.
Jonathan Becker, DO
Medical Director, Brentwood Locations
Dr. Becker is a native of Tennessee, born in Memphis. He completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees in Developmental Psychology at Tulane University in New Orleans before attending Des Moines University for Medical School. He completed his psychiatry residency program at Vanderbilt University and served as a faculty member there for 7 years before transitioning to our office. While at Vanderbilt, Dr. Becker served as the medical director of the neuromodulation service from 2017-2020. Dr. Becker has also published many psychiatric articles. Learn more about Dr. Becker.