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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 62 (2020) 8, 618 - 628

Review article

Psychedelics in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder

J.J. Breeksema, W. van den Brink, J.K.E. Veraart, S.Y. Smith-apeldoorn, E. Vermetten, R.A. Schoevers

background There is a need for new, effective treatments for patients with (treatment-resistant) depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (ocd). At the same time, there is renewed interest in psychedelics for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
aim To provide an overview of results from past and current research into psychedelics in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders and ocd.
method Literature search in Medline and PubMed databases, supplemented with cross-references and results from recent studies.
results There is a considerable evidence base for the atypical psychedelic ketamine. Ketamine has a rapid, beneficial effect on depression and suicidality; longer-term effects are less clear. Research into classical psychedelics for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders is currently limited to a few small (open label) studies, although positive outcomes are reported even after a single administration, with potentially longer lasting benefits. Studies must be repeated in larger and more diverse groups of patients.
conclusion Further research into efficacy, therapeutic mechanisms and intervention models is very worthwhile; for the benefit of patients, but also to provide a deeper insight into the psychotherapeutic and neurobiological mechanisms that play a role in (the treatment of) common mental disorders.

keywords anxiety disorders, depression, ketamine, obsessive-compulsive disorder, psychedelics