Psilocybin mushrooms have a marked ability in helping people confront mental disorders. One of many ailments that the psychedelic mushrooms have shown an impact in treating is obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD.
OCD, characterized by repetitive behaviors like hand washing, counting or perfectionist organizational systems, is the fourth most common outpatient psychiatric problem in the United States. Patients describe their minds as getting stuck on a certain thought or image, compelling them toward time-consuming behaviors even when they know they don’t make any sense.
There are behavioral and therapies and medications aimed at treating OCD, but none are completely effective and most require ongoing care. However, there is evidence that magic mushrooms can be a quick and long-lasting remedy to combat the disorder.
A study by the University of Arizona administered psilocybin to nine subjects who have OCD and no other major disorder. The research, published in 2006 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, showed positive outcomes for all the patients.
Although the study was initially only designed to test the safety of psilocybin for OCD sufferers, it ended up helping them with their disorder as well. “What we saw acutely was a drastic decrease in symptoms,” study leader Dr. Francisco A. Moreno said to NBC News. “The obsessions would really dissolve or reduce drastically for a period of time.”
Psilocybin and other psychedelics have helped people overcome other mental disorders like PTSD and depression, sometimes permanently after only one dose. The research hints that the substance could have a similar effect on OCD.
“Marked decreases in OCD symptoms of variable degrees were observed in all subjects during 1 or more of the testing sessions,” the study noted. “Improvement generally lasted past the 24-hour timepoint.”
“In a controlled clinical environment, psilocybin was safely used in subjects with OCD,” the research concluded, “and was associated with acute reductions in core OCD symptoms in several subjects.”
More research is needed to corroborate and solidify the findings, but anecdotal reports suggest that the treatment works. Comic Adam Strauss has a one man show called Varieties of Religious Experience in which he describes how mushrooms cured his OCD. Religion, exercise, music, medication, yoga, psychotherapy and acupuncture all failed to treat his debilitating condition, but psilocybin “opened me up to a willingness to bow to a greater force,” he said, and finally did the trick.
A narrator in this YouTube video also reports similar success. “My OCD was getting really out of hand and I knew I had to do something, but therapy and SSRIs really weren’t an option for me,” the woman says in the video, “so I decided I was going to try mushrooms.”
She describes feeling pure joy while on the psilocybin trip, then a gradual shift of perspective as the effects of the mushrooms wore off. “The desire to compulse was just kind of gone,” she says. After six months, she felt her symptoms returning so she took another trip. “Mushrooms have been a life-changing experience for me,” she says. “They’re not what I could call a cure, but a good way to manage OCD.”