Psychedelic and entactogenic drugs
in the treatment of depression

Riedlinger TJ, Riedlinger JE
Botanical Museum of Harvard University,
Cambridge, Massachusetts.
J Psychoactive Drugs 1994 Jan-Mar; 26(1):41-55


CNS deficiency of 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) has been implicated as a biochemical basis in some forms of depression. Existing drug modalities for treating depression include some with serotonergic effects. Studies suggest that psychedelic drugs are also serotonergic. This may indicate a role for psychedelics in the treatment of depression. Such treatment has already been attempted using psychedelic drugs in both the indoleamine and phenylalkylamine categories. Encouraging results seem to recommend further research, with special emphasis on drugs in the phenylisopropylamine subgroup of phenylalkylamines that are only peripherally psychedelic. Certain of these, called entactogens or empathogens, cause substantially less distortion of normative consciousness than classic psychedelics, such as LSD or mescaline. They could therefore be more easily assimilated into existing psychotherapy approaches, where their function would be to enhance the normal psychotherapeutic process rather than serving a maintenance role as chemotherapeutic agents. Their usefulness in such an application would be mainly at the start of psychotherapy in order to (1) reduce the client's "fear response" that often inhibits ability to deal with repressed traumatic material; (2) facilitate the client's interpersonal communications with the therapist, spouse or significant others; and (3) accelerate formation of a therapeutic alliance between client and therapist.

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Protect and survive
Drugs and psychotherapy
MDMA at a clinical crossroads
MDMA in a therapeutic context
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