Updated: Jul 21
While the use of psychedelics for mental health conditions such as depression, PTSD, eating disorders and anxiety has shown promise in recent studies, it seems as though there may be some potential overlap in psychedelics that can directly treat autoimmune diseases.
As a psychologist with a keen interest in health and the endocrine system I have been closely following clinical trials for psychedelic therapy and neuroscience research and plan to do my training in psychedelic therapy as soon as I can. You may be already aware that psychedelics have experienced a research renaissance recently. But could these fascinating substances help treat autoimmune diseases?
The current scientific understanding of autoimmune diseases, including unexplained fertility challenges, suggests that they involve complex interactions between genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and the part we are most interested in, - a dysregulation of the immune system. These autoimmune diseases are characterised by an overactive immune response that leads to chronic inflammation and the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissues.
Psychedelics are believed to facilitate healing by promoting the creation of new neural pathways, enhancing neuroplasticity, and fostering the development of new thought patterns through transformative experiences…. This is what we do in therapy, so there is a huge overlap. We’re learning more and accepting more now that a person’s trauma history can affect their physical health. For instance, one study using veterans found that the risk for autoimmune disease was 58% higher among those who already had PTSD.
But you see this novel approach to experiential medicine holds the potential to improve outcomes for individuals with treatment-resistant conditions and facilitate personal growth and self-healing. There is a growing belief among researchers that psychedelics could be valuable tools in the treatment of both physical and mental ailments. The processes induced by psychedelics, which stimulate neural growth, may also impact our body's defence systems, otherwise known as our immunes.
These fundamental cellular processes play a pivotal role in our ability to combat diseases, recover, and perform various essential tasks. If psychedelics can induce alterations in these cellular processes, it holds immense potential for these substances to be used, when in conjunction with psychotherapy, in the treatment of diverse physical and mental conditions. These include autoimmune diseases, inflammatory disorders, cancer, and my hope is, unexplained fertility challenges. Let’s keep our eyes and ears open.
If you'd like to try some, I recommend Lion's Mane Tea.
PS: If you'd like to learn more, I discuss psychedelics in my Workbook which you can find here.