Increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarian political views after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression

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Title: Increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarian political views after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression
Author(s): Lyons, T
Carhart-Harris, RL
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Rationale: Previous research suggests that classical psychedelic compounds can induce lasting changes in personality traits, attitudes and beliefs in both healthy subjects and patient populations. Aim: Here we sought to investigate the effects of psilocybin on nature relatedness and libertarian–authoritarian political perspective in patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Methods: This open-label pilot study with a mixed-model design studied the effects of psilocybin on measures of nature relatedness and libertarian–authoritarian political perspective in patients with moderate to severe TRD (n=7) versus age-matched non-treated healthy control subjects (n=7). Psilocybin was administered in two oral dosing sessions (10 mg and 25 mg) 1 week apart. Main outcome measures were collected 1 week and 7–12 months after the second dosing session. Nature relatedness and libertarian–authoritarian political perspective were assessed using the Nature Relatedness Scale (NR-6) and Political Perspective Questionnaire (PPQ-5), respectively. Results: Nature relatedness significantly increased (t(6)=−4.242, p=0.003) and authoritarianism significantly decreased (t(6)=2.120, p=0.039) for the patients 1 week after the dosing sessions. At 7–12 months post-dosing, nature relatedness remained significantly increased (t(5)=−2.707, p=0.021) and authoritarianism remained decreased at trend level (t(5)=−1.811, p=0.065). No differences were found on either measure for the non-treated healthy control subjects. Conclusions: This pilot study suggests that psilocybin with psychological support might produce lasting changes in attitudes and beliefs. Although it would be premature to infer causality from this small study, the possibility of drug-induced changes in belief systems seems sufficiently intriguing and timely to deserve further investigation.
Publication Date: 1-Jul-2018
Date of Acceptance: 23-Nov-2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/57965
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881117748902
ISSN: 1461-7285
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Start Page: 811
End Page: 819
Journal / Book Title: Journal of Psychopharmacology
Volume: 32
Issue: 7
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: Psilocybin
authoritarianism
depression
nature relatedness
political perspective
11 Medical And Health Sciences
17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences
Psychiatry
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2018-01-17
Appears in Collections:Department of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine



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