Anorexia nervosa is a serious and life-threatening eating disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a distorted body image, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a severe restriction of food intake. Anorexia nervosa can cause physical, psychological, social, and spiritual harm to the individual and their loved ones.
Anorexia nervosa is also difficult to treat, as many people do not respond well to conventional treatments, such as medication, psychotherapy, or nutritional counseling. Moreover, many people with anorexia nervosa have low motivation and readiness to change their behavior and attitude towards food and their body.
However, there is hope for people who suffer from anorexia nervosa. A new and innovative form of treatment that uses psilocybin, a psychedelic substance found in magic mushrooms, has shown promising results in helping people with anorexia nervosa.
Psilocybin Assisted Therapy shows Promising Results to treat Anorexia nervosa
Psilocybin assisted therapy is a form of psychedelic therapy that involves taking psilocybin in a safe and controlled environment, under the guidance of a trained therapist or facilitator. The therapist helps the patient to prepare for the experience, to navigate the psychedelic journey, and to integrate the insights and lessons learned afterwards.
Psilocybin assisted therapy can target the underlying causes and consequences of anorexia nervosa, such as serotonin imbalance, negative self-image, low self-esteem, rigid thinking, emotional distress, and lack of meaning and purpose. Psilocybin can induce profound changes in perception, cognition, emotion, and sense of self that can facilitate healing and transformation. Psilocybin can also enhance neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to form new connections and rewire itself.
Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of psilocybin in treating anorexia nervosa
Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of psilocybin with moderate to large effect sizes in patients with anorexia nervosa. For example, a pilot study by Carhart-Harris et al. (2020) involved 10 patients with anorexia nervosa who received two doses of psilocybin (10 mg and 25 mg) seven days apart. The results showed that psilocybin significantly reduced eating disorder symptoms at one week and three months after treatment. The mean score on the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) decreased from 3.8 at baseline to 2.3 at one week and 2.0 at three months.
Another pilot study by Spriggs et al. (2021) involved 20 female patients with anorexia nervosa who received three doses of psilocybin (up to 25 mg) over a six-week period along with psychological support. The results showed that psilocybin significantly increased readiness and motivation to engage in recovery at six weeks after treatment. The mean score on the Readiness and Motivation Questionnaire (RMQ) increased from 3.6 at baseline to 4.4 at six weeks.
These studies suggest that psilocybin assisted therapy can have rapid and lasting effects in reducing eating disorder symptoms and enhancing recovery outcomes.
A personal story of Lisa: overcoming anorexia nervosa with Psilocybin Assisted Therapy
One of the patients who participated in the study by Spriggs et al. (2021) was Lisa (not her real name), a 32-year-old woman who had been struggling with anorexia nervosa for over 15 years. Lisa had tried various treatments for her condition, but none of them worked for her. She felt hopeless, depressed, and isolated.
Lisa decided to enroll in the psilocybin assisted therapy trial after hearing about it from her therapist. She was curious and hopeful about trying something new that could help her overcome her anorexia nervosa.
Lisa received two doses of psilocybin over a four-week period, each time accompanied by a therapist who provided support and guidance throughout the experience. Lisa described her psilocybin sessions as “the most profound experiences of my life”. She said:
“I felt a sense of peace and love that I had never felt before. I saw beautiful colors and shapes that filled me with awe and joy. I felt connected to myself, to others, and to something greater than myself. I realized that I am not my anorexia nervosa. I am so much more than that.”
Lisa also said that psilocybin helped her to gain insight into her condition and to change her attitude towards food and her body. She said:
“I understood why I developed anorexia nervosa in the first place. It was a way of coping with my trauma and my low self-esteem. I realized that I had been punishing myself for something that was not my fault. I realized that I deserved to be happy and healthy.”
Lisa also said that psilocybin helped her to feel more motivated and ready to recover from her anorexia nervosa. She said:
“I felt a new sense of purpose and direction in my life. I wanted to heal myself and to help others who are suffering from the same condition. I wanted to live a full and meaningful life.”
Lisa continued to receive psychological support after her psilocybin sessions, and she reported significant improvements in her eating behavior, mood, and quality of life. She said:
“I started to eat more regularly and more diversely. I stopped counting calories and weighing myself obsessively. I started to enjoy food and to appreciate my body. I felt more confident and optimistic about myself and my future.”
Lisa’s story is one of many that illustrate the potential of psilocybin assisted therapy to help people with anorexia nervosa. This new form of therapy is a promising and innovative form of treatment that can target the underlying causes and consequences of anorexia nervosa, such as serotonin imbalance, negative self-image, low self-esteem, rigid thinking, emotional distress, and lack of meaning and purpose. Psilocybin assisted therapy can also induce profound changes in perception, cognition, emotion, and sense of self that can facilitate healing and transformation.
Challenges and Limitations of Psilocybin Assisted Therapy
However, psilocybin assisted therapy is not without challenges and limitations. Psilocybin is still an illegal substance in most countries, which makes it difficult to access and conduct research on it. As it is legal in the Netherlands, we invite you to research our services to receive this cutting edge Psilocybin assisted therapy for yourself or a loved one.
Psilocybin is also not a magic pill that can cure all eating disorders. Psilocybin can cause challenging or adverse reactions that require careful screening, preparation, supervision, and integration.
Therefore, psilocybin assisted therapy should be done only under the guidance of trained professionals who can provide a safe and supportive environment for the patients. Psilocybin assisted therapy should also be tailored to the needs and preferences of each individual patient who can benefit from it.
Psilocybin assisted therapy is a novel and exciting approach to treat anorexia nervosa that deserves more attention and research. Psilocybin assisted therapy can open new doors of perception, understanding, and growth for people who suffer from anorexia nervosa.
Photo by Kylli Sparre.