Research may help clear path for use of psychedelics in treating psychiatric patients

Alvin Powell in The Harvard Gazette:

GAZETTE: There’s been a lot written about psychedelics in recent years. How did the center get started?

ROSENBAUM: In retrospective, it appears inadvertent. I spent a little less than 20 years as chief of psychiatry at Mass General and toward the end of that term, I was talking to a patient about his suffering, his torment, what was really bothering him. He was very vivid, and I had this “aha” moment. Much of the burden of all the different conditions that we treat in psychiatry, whether it’s OCD, anxiety disorders, addiction, depression, a main source of suffering is a kind of repetitive, stuck, painful dwelling on things: rumination. I made a practice of asking every one of my patients about rumination and found that it was a substantial part of their suffering. I realized that as a field we had not paid sufficient attention to it.

I have a friend who is a passionate advocate for decriminalization and the development of psychedelics as therapeutics. There was a conference on psychedelics at the Broad Institute and he asked me to attend.

More here.