Therapeutic uses of psychedelics for eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder

This review (2022) evaluates the potential use of psychedelics in treating body dysmorphic disorder and other eating disorders.


Background: Clinical use of psychedelics has gained considerable attention, with promising benefits across a range of mental disorders. Current pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and eating disorders (EDs) have limited efficacy. As such, other treatment options such as psychedelic-assisted therapies are being explored in these clinical groups.

Aims: This systematic review evaluates evidence related to the therapeutic potential of psychedelics in individuals diagnosed with BDD and EDs.

Methods: Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, we conducted a systematic review of all study designs published to the end of February 2022 that identified changes in ED/BDD symptom severity from psychedelics using validated measures to assess symptom changes.

Results: Our search detected a total of 372 studies, of which five met inclusion criteria (two exploratory studies, two case reports, and one prospective study). These were included in the data evaluation. Effects of psychedelics on BDD and various ED symptoms were identified mostly through thematic analyses and self-reports.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight that more research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of psychedelics in BDD and EDs and we suggest avenues for future exploration.”

Authors: Nicole Ledwos, Justyne D. Rodas, M. Ishart Husian, Jamie D. Feusner & David J. Castle