New center to study psychedelics for treatment of depression, anxiety, PTSD

Marco Allegretti/Unsplash

For integrative practitioners interested in following the resurgence of psychedelics to treat severe mental health illness, there’s a new think tank to follow.

Researchers at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin have launched the Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy, the first center of its kind in Texas.

The center aims to advance the application of psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of mental health disorders, such as severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Its focus will be on military veterans living with PTSD and adults affected by prolonged grief and childhood trauma.

Drugs such as psilocybin, MDMA, ibogaine, and ayahuasca will all be subject to clinical research to better understand how these psychedelics can treat resistant and severe mental illness.

The areas of focus for the center include developing and testing novel therapies; optimizing delivery of treatments; understanding biological and psychological mechanisms; promoting community education; and training mental health practitioners.

“This research will bring further scientific rigor and expertise to study psychedelic therapy,” said center co-lead Charles B. Nemeroff, professor and chair of Dell Med’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “Recent studies have demonstrated considerable promise for these drugs when incorporated with clinical support, and this work has the potential to transform how we treat conditions like depression and PTSD, and to identify synergies between these and other well-established therapies to achieve long-term benefits for those seeking treatment.”

The Mission Within and the Heroic Hearts Project, programs for veterans interested in pursuing psychedelic treatment options, will be among the center’s first program partners. This work is part of a growing effort to support novel therapies, particularly for veterans.