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Psychedelics in Mental Health Care


Psychedelics are a group of psychoactive substances that trigger non-ordinary, expanded states of consciousness including visual, auditory and psychological changes. In controlled environment, psychedelics have a great potential in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. To the great benefit of the patients, some of these substances (MDMA, Psilocybin, Esketamine) are currently used in therapies with patients diagnosed with e. g. depression, anxiety or posttraumatic stress disorder. Additionally, public authorities already recognised the added value of psychedelic substances in other areas too (e. g. palliative care).


Each year, 25% of the population in Europe suffer from depression or anxiety.

About 50% of major depressions in Europe are untreated.

The cost of mood disorders and anxiety in the EU is about €170 billion per year

Source: WHO


  • A 2016 randomized double-blind controlled trial found that psilocybin treatment led to significant reductions in anxiety and depression in patients undergoing cancer treatment.

  • Psilocybin-assisted therapy was also associated with increased quality of life, improved optimism, and reduced anxiety over mortality. About 80% of participants continued to show improvements six months later.

  • A study compiling data from six clinical trials and looking at the long-term outcomes MDMA treatment found that continued improvements in most patients for more than one year after the treatment ended. The follow-up data showed that 67% of patients no longer met the clinical criteria that would lead to a diagnosis of PTSD.

  • Ketamine has been shown to relieve severe depression symptoms in a matter of hours, and low doses of the drug can disrupt the suicidal crisis in those with severe depression.

  • Multiple sessions of ketamine infusions over several weeks can be a life-saving approach for those with suicidal behaviour and a relief for those with other conditions.

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