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Magic Mushrooms Could Help Treat Anorexia

Magic Mushrooms

Can psilocybin, also known as “Magic Mushrooms” help treat people suffering from Anorexia? Well, a new study from scientists at the University of California San Diego says it just might.

We have all known people who suffer from some sort of malnutrition. They are just too damn skinny and look like ghosts. And they never eat. But does this always mean that the person is anorexic?

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Anorexia nervosa (AN), often referred to simply as anorexia, is an eating disorder characterized by low weight, food restriction, body image disturbance, fear of gaining weight, and an overpowering desire to be thin. Anorexia is a term of Greek origin: an- (ἀν-, prefix denoting negation) and orexis (ὄρεξις, “appetite”), translating literally to “a loss of appetite”; the adjective nervosa indicating the functional and non-organic nature of the disorder.

Anorexia is a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder. It is estimated that 0.3-1% of women and 0.1-0.3% of men will develop anorexia at some point in their lives. The average age of onset is 15-19 years old, but it can occur at any age.

Anorexia is a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Treatment for anorexia typically involves a combination of psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, and medication. With early intervention and treatment, most people with anorexia can recover and live healthy lives

The DEA explains psilocybin comes from certain types of psilocybe mushrooms. Psilocybin is metabolized in the body to the active drug psilocyn, also present in many of the same mushrooms. The psychological consequences of psilocybin use include hallucinations and an inability to discern fantasy from reality. Panic reactions and a psychotic-like episode also may occur, particularly if a user ingests a high dose.

And it has an effect on serotonin levels in the brain. This is why there has been much testing carried out recently on using it to treat depression.

Walter Kaye, a professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego and the study’s lead investigator said, “Malnutrition has a very powerful effect on the serotonin system. Our data suggests that that may play a role in why antidepressants haven’t been very effective. It’s a hard system to move in anorexia.”

Kaye explained that another mark of anorexia is rigid thinking, saying sufferers, “tend to have perceptual distortions about body image and how much they’re eating, and they tend to be inflexible.”

Scans of patients’ brains on psilocybin show them firing up in underused areas, associated with flexible or creative thinking. So this may be why it helps with anorexics.

Dr Knatz Peck, another one of the study’s authors said, “One of the things that makes anorexia so hard to treat is that, while most people with a psychiatric illness want to get rid of it, that’s not the case with this. People become identified with their illness — they say they like themselves better or feel better with anorexia. So they might refuse to come back for more treatment.”



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