Mindful Monkey.

Hallucinogenic Mushrooms may help with depression, say leading scientists

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An article in the Guardian (23.1.12) reported some studies using Hallucinogenic Mushrooms it said:

A drug derived from magic mushrooms could help people with depression by enabling them to relive positive and happy moments of their lives, according to scientists including the former government drug adviser, Professor David Nutt.

Two studies, for which scientists struggled to find funding because of public suspicion and political sensitivity around psychedelic drugs, have shed light on how magic mushrooms affect the brain.

Nutt, from Imperial College London, was sacked as a government drug adviser after claiming tobacco and alcohol were more dangerous than cannabis and psychedelic drugs such as ecstasy and LSD.

He believes prejudice and fear have prevented important scientific work on psychedelic drugs. Research began in the 1950s and 60s but was stopped by the criminalisation of drugs and stringent regulations which made the work costly.

“Everybody who has taken psychedelics makes the point that these can produce the most profound changes in the state of awareness and being that any of them have experienced,” said Nutt.

Magic mushrooms may help with depression, say leading scientists | Society | The Guardian.

If you are interested in these ideas then you might like to take a look at the work of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – http://maps.org/.

Addiction Services in 2012 – where are we headed?


The magazine ‘Addiction Today’ has produced a preview of the challenges faced by addiction services in 2012. The contributors come from a variety of different perspectives. Worth a read I think.

Leading personalities in the field of addiction treatment and recovery use their insights and inside information to predict what they consider will be the major opportunities and threats of the


Mindfulness and the Brain


BBC News – Scans ‘show mindfulness meditation brain boost’. There is more to Mindfulness than meets the eye. While Mindfulness has long been seen as a tool for personal growth and well-being; research into neuroscience can now demonstrate a range of health benefits. This can include overcoming difficulties with sleep, pain, blood pressure and become calmer and centred. Becoming calmer and more centred enables us to deal better with situations. Watch the short clip from the link above to see how modern science is showing evidence that something quite tangible is happening in the mind when we can learn to be mindful.

Who can we lean on when times are hard?

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Based on figures released by the NHS Information Centre some newspapers reported ‘A rising tide of Depression’. The detailed figures are alarming to read.

Prescriptions for drugs such as antidepressants and sleeping pills have jumped 20% in just three years, according to new figures.  The Press Association: Use of antidepressants ‘is soaring’.

In 1999 the World Health Organisation, the global monitor of health in the world, stated that, Depression was the world’s fourth most debilitating human condition, behind heart disease, cancer, and traffic accidents. It also predicted by 2020 depression will have risen to become the second most common cause of human suffering worldwide. In 2006 the WHO predicted that in high-income countries, depression would become the number one cause of disease burden by 2030.

I guess whatever we are doing in our society isn’t making us happy! And the evidence for help from antidepressants is questionable. So what works? Well it seems that mindfulness skills can help. The evidence for its effectiveness in helping with depression is growing and NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines on the treatment of Depression now include Mindfulness based approaches.

The Mental Health Foundation produced the Mindfulness Report in 2010, and ran the ‘Be Mindful‘ campaign. Their summary of the evidence for Mindfulness goes well beyond depression to many other areas of well being.

We will be running Mindfulness Courses in 2011, watch this space. In the meantime feel free to try out my short guided mindfulness download called the Breathing Space which is described in an earlier post

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