Psychedelic medicine could be the next treatment for people living with autism
Given the heightened awareness that is often associated with autism, the condition is now viewed as a way of looking at the world rather than something that needs to be “cured”. Even so, people with autism often suffer from symptoms such as social anxiety and hypersensitivity, which make everyday life a challenge.
There are currently no FDA-approved drugs for treating autism in adults. But, as recent coverage in Filter Mag and the Narcotica podcast shows, researchers studying psychedelics are trying to change that.
The relationship between autism and MDMA (technically a stimulant with psychedelic effects) was investigated in a MAPS study (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelics Study) published in 2018. The research found that consumption of the drug in adults led to a reduction in social anxiety with autism.
Indeed, when scientists later checked in with the study subjects, it appeared that the drug had dramatic effects on the participants.
“We had a six month follow-up and many of the participants had completely changed lives after the study,” one of the study’s authors, Berra Yazar-Klosinski, told Filter (for a report that was also on the Narcotica podcast) were People who never left their parents’ house. And after graduation, they moved out, went to school and joined a soccer team. All of those things that really required a lot of social interaction were perfectly fine. “
A study from McGill University found that low doses of LSD can stimulate brain receptors associated with rodent social behavior – results that scientists believe could have effects on people with autism. The University of Chicago is also currently recruiting a study into the effects of MDMA on autism symptoms.
One civic group that has taken the lead in researching the relationship between people with autism and psychedelics is the Autistic Psychedelic Community. The group holds regular online meetings on Sundays, which attendees can register for on their website.
The organization was co-founded by Justine Lee and Aaron Orsini, a PhD student in pharmacology. This person with autism says that psychedelics helped with his ability to “recognize inner emotional states,” and who is the author of the book Autism on Acid: How LSD Helped Me Understand, Navigate, and Modify My Autistic Perceptions appreciate.
The group has put together a book called Autistic Psychedelic to document anonymous people with good and bad experiences with autism using the drugs.
“Before psychedelics, when I heard a dog barking outside, or a loud car or a door slammed, or someone dropped a plate, I got very angry, almost angry, especially when I was trying to concentrate,” says one writer in the book identified only as Thomas, as reported by Filter. “And that is 100% gone today. If a loud noise can be heard anywhere, it no longer hurts. I am totally calm. “
Orsini hopes that the book and the group’s work can help start a dialogue about the benefits of psychedelics for people with autism.
“We’re really trying to build that conversation and create a space for it,” he says. “And one of those questions is, do these changes only occur during exposure to these substances, are these changes carried forward?”