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Friday, January 23, 2015

Classic Psychedelics May Reduce Suicides

Suicide is often called a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Those who feel they have nothing to live for, or they can no longer live with what is going on inside their head, such as mental illness, will often take drastic steps. In America, approximately 30,000 people take their lives every year, more than 90 percent of those people were diagnosed with some form of mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health found that classic psychedelics might be protective with regard to suicidal thoughts and behaviors, Science Daily reports. Classic psychedelics are drugs like LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin mushrooms.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 190,000 respondents of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2008-2012, according to the article. They found that people who reported ever having used a classic psychedelic drug had a decreased likelihood of psychological distress in the past month, and decreased suicidal thinking, planning and attempts in the past year.

"Despite advances in mental health treatments, suicide rates generally have not declined in the past 60 years. Novel and potentially more effective interventions need to be explored," said Peter S. Hendricks, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and lead study author. "This study sets the stage for future research to test the efficacy of classic psychedelics in addressing suicidality as well as pathologies associated with increased suicide risk (e.g., affective disturbance, addiction and impulsive-aggressive personality traits)."

The study, Back to the future: A return to psychedelic treatment models for addiction was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

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