Changing the ‘Depressed Filter’ using Psilocybin

Dr Dean Wright

Within the mental landscape of a person with depression, some commonalities arise. These include persistent negative biases of how that person looks at themselves, and their future prospects. A sense of worthlessness and hopelessness generally arises, leading people to become apathetic and avoid pursuing activities.

Within the depressed person, very often these perceptions are unrealistic and not based in reality, but based on a bias towards the negative aspects which confirm their assumptions. In contrast, ‘healthy’ people generally display a more positive bias in their perception, and in fact often display a “rose-coloured glasses” effect, conflating these positive aspects of themselves and their lives. This is thought to be an evolutionarily conserved mechanism which motivates us to interact more functionally with the world.

A recent study has shown that psychedelics change this mental landscape in a person with depression. Specifically, psilocybin both alleviated depression and reduced the level of pessimism a person displayed. Importantly, patients became significantly more accurate at predicting the occurrence of future life events after taking psilocybin.

Read the full text here.

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