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MAINTAINING MENTAL WELL-BEING IN STRESSFUL JOBS

David Brabon is a plastic surgeon. In his practice at Rockcastle Hospital and Respiratory Center in Mount Vernon, Ky. – the largest respiratory care center in the United States – he removes skin cancers from faces and hands and rebuilds shattered noses, among other tasks. He has learned to not only encourage others but to maintain his own mental well-being.

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CALMING THE MIND THROUGH CONSCIOUS BREATHING

A calm mind is worth its weight in gold, especially in this day and age. There are more bills, emails, tweets, kids running around and relationships in need of time than ever before. Everybody needs to learn how to catch their breath and relax.  Techniques using the breath to calm the mind have been around forever. While these techniques are widely known and accessible, many people feel they don’t even have the time to learn about them, let alone develop a daily practice.

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The results of two new randomized and controlled mental health research studies demonstrated that just one dose of psilocybin produces significant long-term improvements in patients with anxiety and depression. These findings, recently published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology, are potentially beneficial for individuals who are troubled by anxiety and depression.


Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic substance obtained from certain types of mushrooms indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico and the United States. Fifty-one adults participated in the double-blind crossover study at Johns Hopkins University. New York University was the second site. Stephen Ross, M.D., principal investigator of the NYU study and director of substance abuse services in the Department of Psychiatry at Langone Medical Center, said all patients received targeted counseling plus a 0.3 mg/kg dose of psilocybin at one of two treatment sessions. A vitamin placebo at the other session realized 80 percent of the subjects experienced a significant reduction in anxiety and depressive symptoms after six months. Furthermore, 80 percent of the subjects realized clinically significant decreases in symptomology six months after their final treatment session, suggesting there may be longer term benefits with less need for medication.


Further research with larger samples needs to be conducted,

INNOVATIVE RESEARCH FINDINGS SUGGEST NEW DIRECTION IN MENTAL HEALTH CARE

but it is clear these initial findings raise the issue that psilocybin holds true potential for treating anxiety and depression in patients with this diagnosis. These results represent a dramatic step forward in the mental health profession’s efforts to help some of the most seriously affected patients needing a more effective protocol of care and treatment for anxiety and depression.


Sources and Resources:


•  Hallucinogenic drug psilocybin eases existential anxiety in people with life threatening cancer. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; December 1, 2016.

•  Single dose of hallucinogenic drug psilocybin relieves anxiety and depression in patients with advanced cancer. New York, NY: New York University Langone Medical Center; December 1, 2016.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller