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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 62 (2020) 8, 640 - 649

Review article

Psychedelics in the treatment of PTSD

E. Vermetten, E. Krediet, T. Bostoen, J.J. Breeksema, R.A. Schoevers, W. van den Brink

background Posttraumatic stress disorder (ptsd) is often a chronic condition, despite the availability of various evidence-based treatment options. Psychedelics offer new treatment opportunities.
aim An overview of the current evidence, therapeutic context, and possible mechanisms of action of different types of psychedelics in the treatment of ptsd.
method A scoping review of the available literature.
results mdma-assisted psychotherapy has shown to produce lasting reductions in ptsd symptoms in multiple rcts. Based on a small number of studies, ketamine administration appears to lead to temporary symptom relief. Current studies are investigating whether the use of ketamine in combination with psychotherapy can lead to lasting reductions in ptsd symptoms. Classical psychedelics (such as psilocybin and lsd) induce psychoactive effects (on behavior or experience) that could contribute to the psychotherapeutic treatment of ptsd but have not yet been investigated in controlled studies. Reported positive effects extend beyond ptsd symptoms only.
conclusion Psychedelics may have potential to serve as a catalyst for the psychotherapeutic treatment of ptsd. Most evidence exists for mdma-supported psychotherapy; relatively little research is available on ketamine and classical psychedelics. Future research needs to show whether the use of psychedelics can be integrated into available treatment options for ptsd.

keywords ketamine, mdma, ptsd, psychedelics, substance-assisted psychotherapy