Psychedelics to treat schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain condition that affects less than 1% of the population. Symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, difficulty concentrating, and a loss of motivation. Most symptoms of schizophrenia can be significantly improved with treatment, and the chance of recurrence can be reduced.

Despite the fact that there is no cure for schizophrenia, progress is leading to new and safer therapies. Experts are now researching genetics, conducting behavioral experiments, and using advanced imaging to examine the structure and function of the brain to figure out what causes the disease. These methods hold the promise of developing new and more successful treatments.

The disease’s complexity may explain why there are so many misconceptions about it. Schizophrenia does not imply multiple personalities or split personalities. The majority of people with schizophrenia are no more dangerous or aggressive than the general public. Although a lack of community mental health services may result in homelessness and repeated hospitalizations, it is a common misconception that people with schizophrenia end up homeless or in hospitals. The majority of people with schizophrenia live with their families, in group homes, or alone.

It might sound crazy, but there is an increasing number of clues, that low doses of psychedelics may be used to treat schizophrenia. The majority of evidence is anecdotal or from the 1950s, but some believe, there is just enough to investigate.

It does not mean that all psychedelic doses are safe for people with schizophrenia: these drugs may exacerbate schizophrenia symptoms and cause people to lose grip on reality.

However, one man has anecdotally confirmed that microdoses of cannabis, psilocybin, DMT, and LSD were beneficial in treating his schizophrenia.

When the disease is active, the individual can have episodes in which they are unable to tell the difference between real and imaginary experiences. The intensity, length, and frequency of symptoms can differ depending on the illness; however, in people with schizophrenia, the occurrence of extreme psychotic symptoms generally decreases as they grow older. Symptoms are compounded by not taking medicine as prescribed, consuming or using illegal substances, and being in stressful circumstances. Symptoms are divided into three groups:

  • Positive symptoms: (those abnormally present) Hallucinations, such as hearing voices or seeing things that do not exist, paranoia and exaggerated or distorted perceptions, beliefs and behaviors.
  • Negative symptoms: (those abnormally absent) A loss or a decrease in the ability to initiate plans, speak, express emotion or find pleasure.
  • Disorganized symptoms: Confused and disordered thinking and speech, trouble with logical thinking and sometimes bizarre behavior or abnormal movements.

Another component of functioning that is impaired in schizophrenia is cognition, which leads to issues with focus, concentration, and memory, as well as low academic performance. Schizophrenia symptoms typically begin in early adulthood and must last at least six months before a diagnosis can be made. Men are more likely to develop symptoms in their late teens or early twenties, while women are more likely to develop symptoms in their twenties and early thirties. Troubled relationships, low school results, and a lack of motivation are some of the more subtle indicators that could be present earlier.

Possible causes

Researchers asssume that a variety of genetic and environmental factors play a role in causation, and that life stressors can influence the occurrence and progression of symptoms. Since several causes may be involved, scientists are unable to pinpoint the exact cause of each case. Possible causes:

  • Genetics
  • Structural changes in the brain
  • Chemical abnormalities in the brain
  • Pregnancy or birth complications
  • Childhood trauma
  • Previous drug use

Schizophrenia needs ongoing care. Medication and psychosocial treatment may be used to better handle the disorder. Hospitalization may be necessary for some situations. Treatment is generally directed by a doctor who has experience treating schizophrenia. A counselor, social worker, clinical nurse, and probably a case manager may be part of the recovery team to help organize care. In clinics that specialize in schizophrenia care, the full-team approach may be available.

Antipsychotic drugs are the most widely prescribed medications. They are the foundation of schizophrenia treatment. They’re thought to work by affecting the dopamine neurotransmitter throughout the brain. The aim of antipsychotic drug care is to successfully control signs and symptoms by using the least amount of medication possible. To achieve the desired result, the psychiatrist can experiment with various medications, doses, or combinations over time. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs can also be helpful.

Current status of psychedelics in treating schizophrenia
Patients with schizophrenia are excluded from clinical trials. There are only few anecdotal evidences, that microdosing can help to manage symptoms.