Psilocybin for (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury occurs due to a violent jolt or blows to the body, particularly on the head. When an object, like a shattered piece of skull or bullet, goes into the brain, it can also cause traumatic brain injury.
The level of severity of the condition varies. Mild traumatic brain injury can occur temporarily, while serious cases can cause bleeding, torn tissues, bruising, and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can cause short-term and long-term complications, including death.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
TBI can have different psychological and physical effects. The signs and symptoms appear after a traumatic event, and this can be immediately or after weeks.
Mild TBI Symptoms
These are the symptoms of mild TBI:
- Loss of balance or dizziness
- Problem with speech
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Increased sensitivity to sound or light
- Sensory problems like ringing in the ears, changes in the ability to smell, blurred vision, or a bad taste in the mouth
Cognitive, behavioral, or mental symptoms
- Sleeping more than usual
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling anxious or depressed
- Mood swings or mood changes
- Memory or concentration problems
- State of disorientation or confusion without loss of consciousness
- Loss of consciousness
Moderate to Severe TBI Symptoms
The symptoms include those of Mild TBI, and they appear within a few hours after the head injury. These symptoms include the following:
- Loss of coordination
- Numbness or weakness
- Inability to awaken from sleep
- Seizures or convulsion
- Repeated nausea or vomiting
- Persistent headaches
- Loss of consciousness
Cognitive or mental symptoms
- Slurred speech
- Profound confusion
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury
As mentioned earlier, traumatic brain injury occurs due to an injury or a blow on the body or head. Different factors influence the degree of the damage, and this includes the force of impact and the nature of the injury.
There are different events that can cause TBI, and some notable events include the following:
- Sports injuries: The injuries can occur from different sports, including football, boxing, soccer, baseball, hockey, skateboarding, lacrosse, and other extreme or high-impact sports.
- Violence: Domestic violence, gunshot wounds, and other assaults are also causes of TBI. TBI can also occur in infants, and this is shaken baby syndrome.
- Vehicle-related collisions: Cars, bicycle, and motorcycle collisions can cause traumatic brain injury.
- Falls: Falls from a ladder, stairs, or shower can also cause TBI, and this is common in young children and adults.
People with increased risks of traumatic brain injury include:
- Males in all age groups
- Adults aged 60 and above
- Young adults between 15 to 24
- Newborns to 4 years old
Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury
There are different treatment options for TBI, and it depends on the severity. Mild cases can be treated with over-the-counter medications. In addition, people with mild cases should be closely monitored for worsening or persistent symptoms.
Emergency cases are recommended for moderate to severe TBI cases, including supplementing oxygen and blood supply in patients.
Different medications are used to limit secondary damage, especially after an injury. These medications include:
- Diuretics to increase urine output and reduce the amount of fluid in tissues
- Coma-inducing drugs to place patients in a temporary coma
- Anti-seizure drugs, particularly for patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury
Surgery is recommended in cases that require reducing further damage to the brain tissues. This helps to address certain problems, including bleeding in the brain, repairing skull fractures, opening a window in the skull, and removing clotted blood.
This is also an option for people with severe brain injury. Rehabilitation relearning basic skills like talking or walking. This makes it easier for them to enhance their ability to perform daily activities.
Other Treatment Options
There is much research directed toward finding newer treatment options for TBI. Among these includes the use of psilocybin for TBI. Today there are interesting research findings on the use of psilocybin for treating traumatic brain injury.
USA- and UK branches of the nonprofit Heroic Hearts Project (HHP) are partnering with the Center for Psychedelic Research at the Imperial College London. They seek to explore the physiological and psychological effects of psilocybin (magic mushrooms) on veterans and people with a history of traumatic brain injury.
According to reports in an article on Canex, HHP performed retreats in the fall of 2021 for the observational study. The US branch of the retreat was in Jamaica, while the UK branch was in the Netherlands. The focus of HHP was on prioritizing veterans with head trauma during service and veterans with other psychological difficulties.
The aim of the study is to yield measurable outcomes about the physiological and psychological benefits of psilocybin in treating TBI. Most currently available research only focuses on psychological outcomes, not physiological effects.
Dr. Grace Blest-Hopley, the HHP Research Director, highlights that their goal is to assist people and provide more evidence supporting the use of psilocybin for treating TBI.
How Can Psilocybin and Other Psychoactive Drugs Help TBI Victims
There’s so much interest in mushrooms, but they are not the only substance studied today. There are multiple studies across the world and from some of the leading research institutions globally. This includes studies from NYU to Johns Hopkins and many other therapeutic companies.
Many psychoactive substances are now being considered for managing TBI and other mental health conditions. This is because of their potential to promote healing in many patients and their ability to restore tissue and neurons.
Recent studies show that psilocybin can increase awareness and complexity in humans. Also, substances like ibogaine can help reset the brain’s reward system and stimulate dopamine growth. This is vital for actual brain healing and pain relief.
Much other ongoing research fully explores the benefit of psychoactive substances for mental disorders and TBIs. However, there’s not much evidence to make a concrete conclusion. In addition, many of these substances aren’t legal in some countries, further limiting research to understand them.
Despite that, recent studies continue to yield promising findings and hope for people with traumatic brain injury. There are also currently available treatment options for the condition, and we have highlighted some of these options above. If you suffer a traumatic brain injury, the best thing to do before using any therapy or treatment option is to consult a health professional.
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