The World Health Organization estimates that more than 322 Million people worldwide suffer from depression. Approximately 50% of those with depression suffer from treatment-resistant depression, or TRD, signifying that current treatments are often ineffective. Given the scarcity of innovative pharmacological approaches in psychiatry, interest in psychedelic drugs (e.g. psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”) has regrown.
In Germany alone, the total costs for mental and behavioral disorders are estimated to be 30.324 million € (www.gbe-bund.de). This high disease burden, often exacerbated by chronic diseases like TRD, highlights the importance of investigating promising novel treatments.
The treatment model of psilocybin (supposedly requiring only one or very few drug administrations) is inherently different from classical psychiatric medications which usually require sustained intake. Psilocybin could certainly enrich, if not become a building block for reforming psychiatric care. The proposed treatment might be more effective for certain patients and does not require long-term medication, potentially making the treatment more cost-effective.