Researchers are exploring whether psilocybin can be used to help individuals who feel insecure in their attachments to other people. Their findings suggest that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy may help decrease attachment anxiety.
Individuals can be insecure or secure in their attachments, with those who are insecure being either avoidant or anxious. Individuals with an avoidant style of attachment may shun intimacy and distrust other people while those with an anxious style of attachment tend to be fearful of abandonment and rejection. Researchers believe that while these styles of attachment are usually relatively stable, they may change over time.
Christopher S. Stauffer, who is the author of the study, stated that therapeutic changes toward secure attachments corresponded with a decrease in psychiatric symptoms, explaining that treatment could alter maladaptive attachment models, which may also decrease symptoms of an extensive range of psychiatric disorders.
For their study, the researchers carried out a secondary analysis of data from their pilot study that focused on psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for demoralization. The researchers recruited 18 male survivors of AIDS who were openly gay and had gone through three hours of individual psychotherapy, an estimated 15 hours of group psychotherapy and one eight-hour psilocybin session.
The researchers assessed the styles of attachment in this sample, noting that this was relevant as the participants had experienced various attachment-related traumas, including being rejected by their families and the loss of loved ones. They discovered that these participants had lower scores of attachment anxiety three months after they had completed the program, noting, however, that attachment avoidance remained mostly constant.
In addition to this, the researchers also discovered that attachment insecurity forecasted qualities of the psilocybin experience. High levels of attachment avoidance were linked to more challenging experiences during the psychedelic session, including paranoia, physical distress, fear and grief, while high levels of attachment anxiety were linked to mystical experiences during the psychedelic-assisted therapy session.
The researchers noted that the study’s findings have critical implications for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, adding that their study was limited by the absence of a control group and its small sample size.
In their conclusion, the researchers assert that psychedelic-assisted group psychotherapy with psilocybin may help develop a higher sense of attachment security, adding that these findings could influence treatment for an extensive range of psychiatric disorders. The research team was comprised of Joshua Woolley, Kile M. Ortigo, Brian T. Anderson and Stauffer. Their paper was published in “ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science.”
Existing and ongoing research suggests that psychedelics such as psilocybin could have a wide array of therapeutic applications, and it is no wonder that several companies, including Mydecine Innovations Group Inc. (NEO: MYCO) (OTC: MYCOF), are focused on bringing to market psychedelic-based remedies for ailments such as addiction.
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