Falling Inward: Psychedelics in Modern Medicine and Mental Health

Ph.D. Psychotherapist in Miami Beach, Florida
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Tom E.
18:38, 21 Jun 20
Hello, my name is Tom, and thank you for joining this discussion! Throughout this chat I hope we can shed light on the current role of psychedelics in modern medicine and how they might be used in the future. To begin, would you mind telling me a bit about yourself and your background?
Jeff Friedman
17:52, 23 Jun 20
I am a Ph.D. Psychotherapist in Private Practice in Miami Beach, Florida.
Jeff Friedman
18:08, 23 Jun 20
I became interested in psychedelics because of their therapeutic potential. They can have transformative effects from a single session for conditions such as Depression. Whereas traditional anti-depressants cane take up to 6 weeks to be effective. 
Tom E.
12:58, 28 Jun 20
Since the culture surrounding psychedelics in the US has largely been politically driven, rather than scientifically, it seems we are only just beginning to explore these chemicals and the effects they can have on people. With psychedelics being demonized for so long, do you think they are offered fair consideration by most doctors (with access to them) when working with a patient as a potential avenue for treatment? If not, what would cause a doctor to ignore them?
Jeff Friedman
00:36, 29 Jun 20
Hello Tom. I agree with your point about psychedelic being politically driven rather than scientifically driven. Recently there has been a shift in focus from driving this new psychedelic renaissance from a scientific perspective. That is a good question I would say most of the doctors that have access to them due so because they support them. However, the stigma that still surrounds them might cause them to ignore them. Also, compared to other medications for mental health there is still a dearth of information regarding the efficacy of these psychedelics for Mental Health. Another thing is that psychedelic medication to not fit with the traditional assembly line like practices of many practitioners. 
Tom E.
16:41, 30 Jun 20
Hi Jeff, thanks for your response! I find it interesting you bring up the juxtaposition between standardized modern medicine (particularly western medicine) and what the future of medicine might become through a psychedelic lense. You also mentioned an excellent point regarding our collective lack of current data on psychedelic medicines, as well as the production issue surrounding them. Even with so little data on psychedelics, I find it curious that they aren't more seriously considered as a potential tool in the world of mental health. Particularly when there's considerable data on the effects of antidepressants and the harm they cause to patients, even if the intially intended effect of reducing emotional response is achieved. I'd like to dive a bit deeper into these issues, but first I'd love to hear your opinions on the current attitudes towards psychedelic medicine by general practitioners. What do you see as the most common attitude towards these medicines when you speak with other professionals? Furthermore, what do you consider to be the biggest hurdle obstructing psychedelic medicine from becoming a topic to be taken seriously by the average medical professional?
Jeff Friedman
17:20, 30 Jun 20
I would say it falls into three categories on how medical professionals view psychedelics. One camp is skeptical about them due to their history and uses as a recreational drug and only really considers standard treatments for depression. The other camp finds the research promising but does not really promote them. The third group is psychedelic evangelists that exaggerate the benefits of them and minimize the potential risks. 
Tom E.
02:29, 02 Jul 20
It often seems that those most ready to utilize psychedelics are also the quickest to dismiss the harm, particularly if they don't have a medical background. What do you consider to be the most concerning risks associated with psychedelics research?
Jeff Friedman
12:38, 02 Jul 20
The major risk associated with psychedelics themselves is the psychological disturbances that they can cause. The people who experience the negative effects often are predisposed to psychological problems. I have found that there has been a reframing to "Bad Trips" to be renamed as "Challenging Experiences" and with proper support people can gain insight from these experiences. 
Tom E.
21:12, 02 Jul 20 (edit: 16:22, 11 Jul 20)
If you're able to elaborate further I'd love to hear more insight about how these challenging trips could benefit the patient, both in the long and short term. I'd also love to hear what is considered the proper support for people who go through these trips, especially considering so many people who chose to do psychedelics recreationally do them with only anecdotal knowledge of how to gain the most from them.
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