By Mayuk Saha
Depression affects about 40 million adults worldwide, and is caused by a lack of the happy hormone, which is called serotonin. Depression had been hailed as just a mood for a long time and it is only in recent times that it has been recognized as a real mental illness. There has been research going on about how it should be treated but nothing has come out just yet that really helps patients. The general medication for depression is one that causes a serotonin reuptake and even though these do help the condition, they have been observed widely to cause intense and unavoidable side effects that deter a lot of patients from taking them.
In, recent times, however, magic mushroom or psilocybin is being hailed as one of the foremost treatments for depression and has been given the designated as Breakthrough Therapy by the FDA, which means that depression has been given the position of a potentially life threatening disease and it is the first time that depression has been recognized with such gravity.
What is interesting is that psilocybin is still a Schedule I drug according to FDA, right next to cocaine.
The study that lead to magic mushrooms being hailed as Breakthrough Therapy saw and compared the effects of the general serotonin inducing medicines and the magic mushrooms and the results were interesting, to say the least.
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The effect that general depression medicines have on a person are very different from the effect that magic mushroom does. SSRIs go to the amygdala of the brain and sort of numb it to any kind of negative emotional feelings that one may feel but after a little time, things take a different turn and people face difficulties like low attention spans, sexual dysfunction and so on. Psilocybin, however, does not do away with feelings in the amygdala, not even close. It actually makes sure that a person feels and feels enough but the aftermath of the magic mushrooms is way better than that of the SSRIs. This happens because the patients deal with things the way they are supposed to be dealt with and denial does not feature in this bid. It creates a source of relief for patients. There is a lot of debate about all of this, especially one that works around the dilemma because psilocybin IS still a Schedule I drug and has been kept in the same group as heroine, which has also been known to have medicinal properties.
The time taken by the FDA to approve and manufacture any medicine is about twelve years but when something is assigned a Breakthrough Therapy, the research is escalated, and the said medicine is approved in less than half the usual time, say around, five and a half years.
All organisations involved in this research is excited and hopeful about the drug that will come out at the end since it is likely to be better than all available medication for depression in the market.
Let’s hope for the best, shall we?