Psychedelics for the Treatment of PTSD

Psychedelics for the Treatment of PTSD

From the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

As we move closer to getting psilocybins into the hands of Veterans and their families, it is important to show the science driving the recommendations. While the numbers of research papers and testimonies are growing, we’ve picked this one to pull some excerpts from because it includes the same ones we’ve been on about for a while now: This review discusses 4 types of compounds: 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, ketamine, classical psychedelics (e.g.,
psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide), and cannabinoids.

magic mental health mushroom

Psilocybin — the active component in so-called “magic” mushrooms — has been shown to have profound and long-lasting effects on personality and mood. But the mechanisms behind these effects remain unclear. Researchers at Copenhagen University were interested in whether changes in neuroplasticity in brain regions associated with emotional processing could help explain psilocybin’s antidepressant effects.

Here is the abstract from their published research findings. No, I don’t understand much of it either, that’s why we include the link to the research paper itself, as well as a link to the more consumer-friendly online article. 

“A single dose of psilocybin, a psychedelic and serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) agonist, may be associated with antidepressant effects. The mechanism behind its antidepressive action is unknown but could be linked to increased synaptogenesis and down-regulation of cerebral 5-HT2AR. Here, we investigate if a single psychedelic dose of psilocybin changes synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) and 5-HT2AR density in the pig brain. Twenty-four awake pigs received either 0.08 mg/kg psilocybin or saline intravenously. Twelve pigs (n = 6/intervention) were euthanized one day post-injection, while the remaining twelve pigs were euthanized seven days post-injection (n = 6/intervention). We performed autoradiography on hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC) sections with [3H]UCB-J (SV2A), [3H]MDL100907 (5-HT2AR antagonist) and [3H]Cimbi-36 (5-HT2AR agonist). One day post psilocybin injection, we observed 4.42% higher hippocampal SV2A density and lowered hippocampal and PFC 5-HT2AR density (−15.21% to −50.19%). These differences were statistically significant in the hippocampus for all radioligands and in the PFC for [3H]Cimbi-36 only. Seven days post-intervention, there was still significantly higher SV2A density in the hippocampus (+9.24%) and the PFC (+6.10%), whereas there were no longer any differences in 5-HT2AR density. Our findings suggest that psilocybin causes increased persistent synaptogenesis and an acute decrease in 5-HT2AR density, which may play a role in psilocybin’s antidepressive effects.”

Sources:  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32170326/

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Links for More Information:

 

Patient Describes Psilocybin Mental Health Benefits

Patient Describes Psilocybin Mental Health Benefits

A Success Story Over Depression

A recent video posted by the Johns Hopkins Media Team shows an interview with a male patient who underwent psilocybin treatement. During the 28-minute story, he explains what it’s like to trip out and how he was able to defeat the source of his depression.  “Michael” overcame his 15-year long depression with just two sessions of psilocybins administered in a controlled environment. Michael had been in psycho-therapy for over 15 years as well, so he had some insights and a skill set that many newbies may not, but we wanted to share his experience so that others can gain confidence to try this old but new source of  depression and PTSD defeating drugs.

soldier rests

During his trip, Michael had a conversation with his "inner critic" that was the source of his depression. After the brief conversation, his demon "just sorta went away."

Talking animals, talking objects, geometric shapes from out of the 80s, and a conversation with his “inner critic” are all what went down when Michael took his first trip. Like many, he was diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression. It is this designation that many need to get to this next level of psilocybin treatment. Michael was also part of a Johns Hopkins program where he received “training” on what to expect. His trained professional “trip sitters” or guides, advised him on how to engage in the session, how to sit back and observe what was going on, and how to enable the change he wanted during the session.

This ability to be conscious enough to step in and out of the experience is key to a successful trip. His goal was to allow himself to talk to his “inner critic.” This critic was taking up alot of brain power, time and energy and was the key to his depression. He was able to defeat this critic by confronting him during the trip. In his own words, after the conversation, “he (his inner critic) was just kinda gone.” Putting a number to it, Michael says his demons are 90 – 95% gone.

Veterans struggling with PTSD demons have also given similar accounts of how they won. “It just poofed away.” is how one Vet described his PTSD reveral. He took a Ketamine IV-drip therapy treatment.

Michael said the turnaround has been ongoing. Unlike pills, the effects of psilcybin continue to help him long after the drug has worn off. He realized that sometimes there are benefits that don’t seem instant, but that reveal themselves over time. Michael said that in the days and months after his sessions, it’s like he’s no longer banging his head against a wall, rather he’s driving in a nail into the wall. His session becomes more useful and productive as time goes by.

“The human brain during a psilocybin session gets turned from a hard piece of clay, to a much softer more malleable one. Ruts that you’ve been stuck in get softened and you’re able to get out of them. There’s a plasticity to the brain that these meds create. They are able to hit the reset button on many of my emotional issues.”

Sources:

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Take A Hard Look At The Bloody Reality of Suicide

Take A Hard Look At The Bloody Reality of Suicide

We’re Not Meeting the Real Challenge of Postvention

It getting more and more obvious, thinking and acting on Veteran suicide prevention is more than just the right thing to do. It’s the easiest thing to do. Focusing on the living and trying to reverse the rising rates of suicide makes everyone feel better. But the truth is, suicide rates are rising among Veterans. And that means that more and more Veteran families are stuck with cleaning up the aftermath. We have to look at what happens right after a Veteran suicide and help them. It’s not easy to look at: Dad killing himself in the living room with his service revolver, but we must.

magic mental health mushroom

Often, families are right there when the Veteran kills himself. PTSD kills one, and in this Veteran home, infects 3 more in one shot.

Suicides in Front of Family Are Common

On March 9, 2021, a 12-year Veteran with PTSD rampaged in the living room of their rented house. Flashing back to his days on the battlefield, this Veteran belived his wife and eldest daughter, 15, were attacking him. He fought back. They fought back. No one can be too sure how long this went on for. Somehow, it ended and the Veteran drifted back into reality. He had just tried to kill his wife and one of his five kids.

Stuffing a revolver into his mouth, both this wife and daughter watched as he blew out the back of his head. His one and only son was also aware of the madness. Luckily, he was on the other side of the door and was spared the hard and ugly death of his father. But that doesn’t mean we should look away.

We have to put ourselves in the same position as the family in the setting above. This sort of thing happens 22 times a day, probably more as the numbers are on the rise. Prevention comes in a myriad of forms, from dogs to horses to pills. Postvention only comes in one varitey. It’s a hard knock for a family that didn’t deserve to have their service committment end in a bloody mess in their own home.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Links for More Information:

 

VA Burial Benefits S. 4511, Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020

VA Burial Benefits S. 4511, Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020

Veterans Families Get Modest Increases

Recently passed, the Moran Act holds many Veterans benefits increases. S. 4511 was incorporated and enacted when President Trump signed it into law in October, 2020. “Its past time for the other victims of Veteran suicide to get some more substancial aid from the VA.” says Dave Barbush, CEO of Once A Soldier. “Veteran suicide is reinforced as the VA top priority in S. 4511. We would like to have seen some more creative and valuable support for Veterans suicide families.”

PTSD was also given a priority and help for Veterans suffering from it are now fingered out into more of America’s heartland. Places where the VA can’t reach, or don’t want to be reached, are now in view and hopefully this $174 million infusion will help suicide prevention. There is nothing in S. 4511, Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020 for postvention. Congress needs to create a new loan program ala the GI Bill only for Veterans suicide families to borrow up to $5,000 to bury their Veteran with pride and dignity.

soldier rests

Veteran suicide is on the rise ever since we started tracking it in 2016. Prevention fails approximately 22 times a day.

S. 4511, Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020 for Burial Benefits

Veteran suicide is on the rise ever since we started tracking it in 2016. Prevention fails approximately 22 times a day. What the new burial benefits don’t keep pace with is the dollar amount awarded as benefits. They continue to fall way short. If these increases are any indication of how much our legislators think of postvention support for the families of Veterans suicide, then it is going to be a hard road to travel indeed.

 

Burial Benefits. 

 

Several sections of S. 4511 would increase burial and death benefits for

veterans. The changes in those benefits, which are paid from mandatory appropriations,

would increase direct spending by $444 million over the 2021-2030 period.

 

Death Benefit. 

 

Section 202 would increase VA’s standard death benefit beginning in 2023.

 

Under current law, VA pays the surviving family of eligible veterans a monetary benefit to cover funeral and other expenses. The amount of the payment depends on whether theveteran was hospitalized by VA at the time of death, and whether the veteran died from a service-related condition. The standard VA death benefit is $300 for veterans who were not hospitalized by VA at the time of their death and whose death was not the result of service related conditions. The bill would increase that amount to equal the rate for veterans who were hospitalized by VA at the time of death, currently $796. 

Under section 202, that amount would increase with inflation each year. Using information from VA, CBO estimates that about 39,000 veteran families would receive $855 in 2023, an increase of $555. That gap compared to the current benefit would continue to grow, and CBO estimates that by 2030 an additional 46,000 families would receive an additional $700. In total, CBO estimates section 202 would increase direct spending by $212 million over the 2021-2030 period.

 

Outer Burial Receptacles

Section 203 would allow VA to pay the cost of an outer burial receptacle, such as a crypt or grave liner, for casketed burials that occur in state or tribal cemeteries. VA would begin providing that benefit in 2023. An outer burial receptacle is a container that is designed to protect the casket in the grave. Under current law, VA only provides outer burial receptacles for casketed burials in national veterans’ cemeteries. Using information from VA on the number of burials in state and tribal cemeteries and the cost of outer burial receptacles, CBO estimates that VA would provide an average of 12,400 additional outer burial receptacles per year at an average cost of $850, beginning in 2023. In total, CBO estimates providing outer burial receptacles for casketed burials in state and tribal cemeteries would increase direct spending by $88 million over the 2021-2030 period.

 

Burial Urns and Plaques. 

VA provides headstones or grave markers for veterans who are interred in cemeteries. The department does not provide those benefits for veterans who are not interred in cemeteries. Section 207 would require VA to provide an urn or memorial plaque for those veterans upon the request of their families. Veterans who served on or after April 6, 1917, and who otherwise were eligible for burial would be eligible for the new benefit. That change would be effective beginning in 2023.

 

CBO Cost 

Estimate S. 4511, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

On the basis of information from VA about the number of headstones and markers providedannually, as well as data on burial and cremation trends, CBO estimates that in 2023 about 48,000 eligible families would request an urn or plaque under the bill. Under current law, CBO expects that those families would forgo requesting a headstone or grave marker because they would either retain the remains or scatter them. CBO estimates that 24,000 families would choose an urn and an equal number would choose a plaque. Because the percentage of people choosing cremation is expected to increase, CBO estimates that the number of urns and plaques also would rise—to 28,000 each by 2030.

Under the bill, the families of some veterans who will have died before the bill is enacted could also request urns or plaques. Using information from VA and data on trends in burials and cremations, CBO estimates 86,000 families would request urns, and 203,000 would request plaques over the 2023-2026 period for veterans who die before the date of enactment.

Over the 2021-2030 period, CBO estimates, 294,000 urns would be provided at an average cost of $175 each, and 410,000 plaques would be provided at an average cost of $59 each. In total, those urns and plaques would cost $76 million, CBO estimates.

Implementing section 207 would also affect discretionary spending. 

Transportation to State and Tribal Cemeteries.

Under current law, VA may pay the costs for transporting the remains of deceased veterans to the nearest national cemetery. Section 201 would allow VA to pay for the costs of transporting the remains of deceased veterans to state or tribal cemeteries, up to the amount it would cost to transport those remains to the nearest national cemetery. That change would be effective beginning in 2023.

On the basis of information from VA on the number of remains that receive the transportation benefit fromVA to national cemeteries, and the number of burials in state and tribal cemeteries, CBO  estimates an average of 11,000 additional veteran remains would have transportation costs covered by VA annually beginning in 2023. Using information on the average cost to provide transportation for deceased veterans to national cemeteries, CBO estimates transporting a veteran’s remains to state and tribal cemeteries will cost an averageof $710 beginning in 2023. In total, CBO estimates that the cost of transporting the remains of deceased veterans to state and tribal cemeteries would increase direct spending by $61 million over the 2021-2030 period.

Headstone Inscriptions.

Under current law, VA will inscribe on or replace, upon request, a veteran’s government-provided headstone or gravesite marker that is located in a national cemetery in order to include information about the veteran’s spouse or dependent children following the spouse’s or child’s death. Section 204 would allow VA to replace any headstones or gravesite markers it has provided for veterans, regardless of the type cemetery in which they are located. That new benefit would be available to veterans who die after October 1, 2019.

On the basis of information from VA on the number of headstones provided for veterans buried each year in non-VA cemeteries, as well as other demographic information such as marriage and mortality rates for veterans, CBO estimates that about 3,000 deceased veterans would be eligible for replacement headstones in 2021 as a result of the death of a spouse or dependent child.

Using data from VA, CBO estimates that the families of 25 percent of those veterans—about 750—would request replacement headstones. The number of eligible veterans would increase to about 24,000 by 2030, with about 6,000 families requesting replacement headstones in that year. In total, VA would replace about 31,000 additional headstones over the 2021-2030 period, at an average cost of about $230 per headstone. In total, replacing those headstones would cost $7 million, CBO estimates.

 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. Together, we will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Postvention Veteran Suicide To-Do Checklist

Postvention Veteran Suicide To-Do Checklist

How To Manage the Minutes and Hours After a Veteran Suicide

Postvention is what called after veteran suicide prevention fails. This failure is usually discovered by a family member. Natural reactions such as shock and the fight or flight response kick in. Once the initial shock simmers, other less natural reactions take over. The urge to call the police, the EMTs and then a funeral home. But what is really happening in those calls will set the course for the rest of the burial process. And they may not be in your best interest. This checklist for what to do after a veteran suicide is one of our most effective tools in limiting the scars of a veteran suicide. See why we’ve chosen this as our mission.

Coroner or Medical Examiner  – make sure you tell them that your loved one was a Veteran. The VA Report on Military Suicides needs better information next time they update it. This will help.

Did they have a PTSD or depression diagnosis? Request that they put that on the death certificate.

Don’t Rush to a Funeral Home – Coroners or Medical Examiners will hold the body for up to 2 months. Once you pick a funeral home and whether to cremate or not, you’re locked into their service or pay a large transfer fee. We have experience in negotiation on your behalf.

Funeral Homes – Not a good fit for families we talk to. Professional but expensive. They’re also cash and carry – some won’t let you see your loved one until their bill is paid-in-full.

Life Insurance Payouts – Most funeral homes will offer to act as a holding/transfer agent for you with the insurance company. They will subtract their fees for your service out of yourmoney. Ask if they charge for that. Don’t like their answer? Contact your agent directly. Their response times can vary significantly.

Biohazard Clean Up – Homeowners insurance may be able to pay or repay the biohazard clean up costs. Landlords or management companies may also have this insurance.

Funeral Homes – Can be helpful, but they are in business to make as much money as possible no matter the circumstances. They should be able to connect with a crematorium if they don’t have one on-site or locally. Many don’t offer that service on-site

Direct Cremations – “A direct cremation all included” is exactly what you should ask for. It is the most affordable service with ashes delivered in one or more urns. Urns start at $75.

Other Financial Resources

County Social Services – Every county in America has a social services office. Call them. They often can help with reasonable funerals, psychadelic.

Local Military Nonprofits – Start with the branch related to your Veteran served. 

Local Faith-Based Outreach Groups

TD Foundation
www.TDFoundation.org

They grant modest financial aid like us, and they focus on children’s needs, so reaching out to them if you have kids may turn out good. Check out their website and you want to talk to Tom Deierlein – Co-Founder.

Military Aid Society offers grants and loans interest free to retired Veterans. There are two main MASs.

Army Emergency Relief (AER)
7117 Baltzell Ave. Bldg. 7
Ft. Benning, GA
(706) 545-4043 

Contact: Lionel Grant – Military Aid Society

Navy and Marines
There is an equivalent and that information is coming soon.

Go Fund Me – Consider starting a Go Fund Me page. Other families have had success here. Hit or miss but definitely worth the time invested.

Emotional Healing

Your emotional healing may never be complete, but on our site we offer free and drug-free ways to clear your mind and find some peace. Here are some links below to get you started and feel free to roam our blog and the rest of our site for anything that may help.

Click here for PTSD and depression options.

David Lynch Foundation Resilient Warrior Program for learning Transcendental Meditation. 4 in-person lesson. They are currently revising this program during the pandemic.

TAPS.ORG – they are the largest in the nation and it may take a while to hear back from them.

The WATCH Program at 22 Kill – this is a newer program that is similar to Taps’ networking opportunities.

Please feel free to stay in touch in any way that makes you feel better. 

May you find the peace you deserve.