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Classic Psychedelics as a Psychotherapeutic Aid in the Treatment of Stimulant Use Disorder: a Case Report

Abstract

Despite nascent research supporting the efficacy of classic psychedelics as a psychotherapeutic aid for the treatment of substance abuse, to date, there is limited published research exploring their use in the treatment of stimulant use disorder and dual diagnosis. A 22-year-old male with a history of mood disorder and polysubstance use presented to a private Australian mental health clinic. While undergoing psychological treatment for mood and stimulant use disorder, this patient reported significant benefit from his use of classic psychedelics. Following consumption of 3.5 grams of psilocybin-containing mushrooms, he decided to seek out psychotherapy for the first time. Throughout treatment, subjective reports of his classic psychedelic use, which among others, included two occasions of having consumed 200 μg of lysergic acid diethylamide and 100 mg of dimethyltryptamine, were recorded and a psychometric tool used to capture mystical experiences was administered. As treatment progressed, the patient reported being better able to consolidate his therapeutic gains through the integration of insights obtained through his use of classic psychedelics, ultimately remaining abstinent from all stimulant drugs. The results of this case report suggest that classic psychedelics may be effective psychotherapeutic aids to be used in traditional substance abuse treatment programs. It is hoped that this case report will inform future research in this field.

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Data Availability

Data supporting the findings of this case report are openly accessible in figshare at (doi:https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.11345024; dataset, Johnson and Black 2020).

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Contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by Dr. Shevaugn Johnson and Dr. Quentin Couper Black. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Shevaugn Johnson, and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Shevaugn Johnson.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by an internal ethics committee (Wellbeing and Recovery Research Institute LTD).

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Written, informed consent was obtained from the participant for being included in the study.

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Johnson, S., Black, Q.C. Classic Psychedelics as a Psychotherapeutic Aid in the Treatment of Stimulant Use Disorder: a Case Report. Int J Ment Health Addiction 20, 744–753 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-020-00398-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-020-00398-7

Keywords

  • Classic psychedelic
  • Mystical experience
  • Serotonin
  • Stimulant use disorder
  • Substance use