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  • Writer's pictureNancy Griffin

One in Three Willing to Try Psychedelics as Mental Health Treatment

With depression and loneliness at all-time high, will senior living communities soon be dealing with resident use of ketamine and “magic mushrooms” alongside cannabis? Research from Verywell Mind indicates it is coming, but probably not anytime soon.

The use of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine is gaining traction as a legitimate mental health intervention. Defined as substances that change sensory perceptions, produce hallucinations, alter mood, and shift your cognitive processes, psychedelics have been used by indigenous cultures for centuries for healing and ritual. Many people are experiencing the benefits of microdosing and states across the country are taking steps towards decriminalizing or legalizing these substances.

To better understand just how much ground this trend has gained in the national consciousness, Verywell Mind surveyed surveyed over 1,800 American adults about their current knowledge of psychedelics and awareness of their potential use in treating mental health conditions like depression and PTSD. Psychedelics & Mental Health examines Americans’ awareness and opinions of psychedelics used in the context of mental health treatment.

The survey was conducted as research from the past year suggests options such as ketamine and psilocybin show promising results in treating various conditions including addiction, depression, and PTSD. Additionally, the growing influx of psychedelic-assisted therapy, such as online ketamine-therapy providers, has made new treatments more available than ever before.

How Americans Feel About Psychedelics

The study found that the psychedelics trend—buzzy thought it may be in mental health circles—has not yet reached a tipping point amongst Americans at-large. Only 15% have a positive opinion of psychedelics, with 34% having a negative opinion and the remaining half either neutral or have never heard of psychedelics.

The survey shows awareness and acceptance of psychedelic therapy overall was greater among those currently in therapy, but an increasing awareness and acceptance by all Americans:

  • Nearly half (45%) of those surveyed say they’d support legalization of at least some psychedelics for treatment of a mental health condition under the supervision of a professional, and they’d be more likely to consider taking psychedelics if they were recommended by a doctor or therapist (35%) or if the specific drug were FDA-approved (30%).

  • 36% of Americans who have seen a therapist in the last 30 days feel positively about psychedelics being used as part of a treatment for mental health (compared to 24 percent overall)

  • 34% would be willing to try psychedelics as part of treatment for a mental health condition (compared to 17 percent overall).

“In 2019, the FDA approved ketamine for the treatment of depression, and since then, a few cities and states have enacted legislation that may allow other psychedelics to be used for mental health treatment in the near future,” says Amy Morin, LCSW, editor-in-chief of Verywell Mind. “According to our survey, consumers may welcome the opportunity to explore psychedelics as part of their treatment. One in five people who are in therapy said they would try psychedelics specifically because other treatment options have left them feeling discouraged, signaling that people are interested in alternative treatment options.”

Findings and analysis of the survey can be found on Verywell Mind.


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