Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy as a Novel Treatment for Major Depression: A Pilot Study
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a debilitating condition for which more effective and tolerable treatments are needed. Evidence suggests that psilocybin, a potent 5-HT2A agonist, can have rapid, clinically relevant, and sustained beneficial effects on mood and anxiety. This open label pilot study will explore the use of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy (PAP) in the treatment of MDD. Ten subjects will participate in six-sessions of PAP, consisting of three preparatory psychotherapy sessions, one experimental session (psilocybin dose 0.3mg/kg), and two integrative psychotherapy sessions. We hypothesize that PAP will be safe, well tolerated, and will result in both rapid and sustained reductions in depressive symptomatology. Depressive symptoms, suicidality, and rumination will be assessed before and multiple times following psilocybin administration. We will also employ EEG to evaluate potential target engagement biomarkers, outcome variables, and predictors of clinical response.
Ryan grew up in Montana exploring the mountains of the Northwestern US. He graduated from Montana State University with a BS in bio-resource engineering and earned an MD/MPH from the University of Washington. His research focused on global public health, with projects in Mongolia and Vietnam. His master’s thesis ultimately led to a national cleanup effort in Vietnam to mitigate childhood exposure to lead in battery recycling villages. After medical school, his interest in human consciousness and perception led him to psychiatry – he is currently a psychiatry resident at Yale University