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Psychotherapy with Adjuvant use of Serotonergic Psychoactive Substances: Possibilities and Challenges

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Abstract

Background Recently, scientific interest in the therapeutic potential of serotonergic and psilocybin hallucinogens (psychedelics) such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and entactogens like 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) within the framework of psychotherapy has resumed. The present article provides an overview on the current evidence on substance-assisted psychotherapy with these substances.
Method A selective search was carried out in the PubMed and Cochrane Library including studies investigating the clinical use of serotonergic psychoactive substances since 2000.
Results Studies were found investigating the following indications: alcohol (LSD and psilocybin) and tobacco addiction (psilocybin), anxiety and depression in patients suffering from life-threatening somatic illness (LSD and psilocybin), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (psilocybin), treatment-resistant major depression (psilocybin), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (MDMA).
Discussion Substance use disorders, PTSD and anxiety and depression in patients suffering from life-threatening somatic illness belong to the indications with the best evidence for substance-assisted psychotherapy with serotonergic psychoactive agents. To date, studies indicate efficacy and relatively good tolerability. Further studies are needed to determine whether these substances may represent suitable and effective treatment options for some treatment-resistant psychiatric disorders in the future.
Majić, T., Jungaberle, H., Schmidt, T. T., Zeuch, A., Hermle, L., & Gallinat, J. (2017). Psychotherapy with Adjuvant use of Serotonergic Psychoactive Substances: Possibilities and Challenges. Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie85(7), 383. 10.1055/s-0043-103085
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