Postpartum depression: A role for psychedelics?

This review (2022) makes the case for using psychedelics in the treatment of postpartum depression (PDD). The effects we see in other clinical trials with psychedelics may translate to PPD such as ‘reconnection.’ This effect in PPD, by fostering a sense of ‘reconnection’ for the mother, may allow for improved mood and maternal sensitivity towards the infant, which can positively impact maternal role gratification and the mother-infant relationship.

Abstract

Background: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a major public health concern and has, at its core, a sense of maternal ‘disconnection’ – from the self, the infant, and the support system. While PPD bears similarities with MDD, there is increasing evidence for its distinct nature, especially with the unique aspect of the mother-infant relationship. Current treatment modalities for PPD, largely based on those used in major depressive disorder (MDD), have low remission rates with emerging evidence for treatment resistance. It is, therefore, necessary to explore alternative avenues of treatment for PPD.

Objective: In this narrative review, we outline the potential therapeutic rationale for serotonergic psychedelics in the treatment of PPD, and highlight safety and pragmatic considerations for the use of psychedelics in the postpartum period.

Methods: We examined the available evidence for the treatment of PPD and the evidence for psychedelics in the treatment of MDD. We explored safety considerations in the use of psychedelics in the postpartum period.

Results: There is increasing evidence for safety, and encouraging signals for the efficacy, of psilocybin in the treatment of MDD. Psilocybin has been shown to catalyse a sense of ‘reconnection’ in participants with MDD. This effect in PPD, by fostering a sense of ‘reconnection’ for the mother, may allow for improved mood and maternal sensitivity towards the infant, which can positively impact maternal role gratification and the mother-infant relationship.

Conclusion: Psychedelic assisted therapy in PPD may have a positive effect on the mother-infant dyad and warrants further examination.”

Authors: Chaitra Jairaj & James J. Rucker

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Postpartum depression: A role for psychedelics?

https://doi.org/10.1177%2F02698811221093793

Open Access | Google Scholar | Backup | 🕊

Published in
Journal of Psychopharmacology
May 30, 2022
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Study details

Topics studied
Postpartum Depression

Study characteristics
Literature Review

Authors

Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

James Rucker
James Rucker is a Senior Clinical Lecturer at The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience in King's College London.

Institutes

Institutes associated with this publication

King's College London
KCL is home to the Psychedleic Trials Group.

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