Could Psychedelics Help Individuals Who Stutter?

A new study looking into the effect of psychedelics on individuals who stutter has determined that the drugs may have some benefits. The documented effects of classic psychedelic drugs such as LSD or psilocybin mushrooms are plenty, with researchers noting that their positive effects can be a rich study area.

Eric S. Jackson, an associate professor of communicative disorders and sciences, states that investigating the possible effects of psychedelics on stuttering can be positive, particularly since the drugs have already shown potential in the management of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

Stuttering is basically intermittent disruptions in an individual’s speech. It can cause fear, anxiety and shame, which can greatly affect an individual’s quality of life.

For their study, the investigators conducted an analysis of more than 100 posts from 2012 to 2022, focusing on keywords associated with speech and stuttering and specific and generic names for psychedelics. They also analyzed the use of LSD and psilocybin but excluded any accounts of DMT and ecstasy.

The investigators designated the public posts under the themes of negative, positive and neutral effect. Additionally, they created subclassifications based on a particular substance’s effects, such as cognition, behavioral, beliefs, emotions and social connection.

They determined that 74% of users experienced positive effects, especially those associated with emotional and behavioral change. Mixed experiences, which made up 4.8%; negative experiences, making up over 9%; and neutral experiences which made up almost 12%, were also recorded.

In their report, the investigators revealed that almost half of the posts indicated a decrease in stuttering. In one forum, a commenter had revealed how psilocybin had been the primary factor in improving his fluency while speaking.

The investigators noted in their report that while they couldn’t confirm the recorded benefits given the study’s limitations, their findings provided preliminary evidence that stutterers sometimes noticed a reduction in their stuttering and related symptoms under psychedelic influence.

Jackson explained that their findings supported the theory that psychedelics could affect stuttering. He also added that caution needed to be exercised in the interpretation of their findings, given the possible severe health effects of psychedelics and uncontrolled study setting. Jackson then added that while their findings didn’t encourage stutterers to use psychedelics, they did propose that future studies look at the effect of psychedelics on stuttering in controlled trials. The investigators’ findings were published in the “Journal of Fluency Disorders.

Other researchers involved in the study included Noah D. Gold, Noam Goldway and Hope Gerlach-Houck.

This study shows that the full therapeutic potential of various psychedelics is yet to be documented, and more novel uses for these substances could be uncovered by enterprises such as atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ: ATAI) over the coming years as interest in these hallucinogens grows.

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