Pharmacopsychiatry 2021; 54(04): 191-199
DOI: 10.1055/a-1486-7386

The Potential Role of Psychedelic Drugs in Mental Health Care of the Future

1   Central Institute of Mental Health, Department of Molecular Neuroimaging, Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany
2   OVID Health Systems GmbH, Berlin, Germany
2   OVID Health Systems GmbH, Berlin, Germany
3   MIND Foundation gGmbH, Berlin, Germany
› Author Affiliations


Serotonergic psychedelics such as psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), or dimethyltryptamine (DMT), as well as psychoactive drugs that trigger phenomenologically- related experiences like 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and ketamine, belong to the most promising treatment approaches in contemporary psychiatry. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is not only a new treatment paradigm in psychopharmacology, but it also requires a redefinition of psychotherapeutic processes and the contextualization of psychopharmacological interventions within a new treatment infrastructure. Crucial for future practice and research in the field are (1) informed patient referral and co-treatment practices, (2) screening (e. g., choosing the right patients for these therapies), (3) the dosing preparation sessions, (4) the assisted dosing sessions as well as after-care procedures such as (5) psychological integration and (6) supporting the development of structured patient communities. Definition of future treatment delivery infrastructures and requirements for therapist training are further challenges for research and practice. Finally, the implementation of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in routine mental health care must be embedded into public communication about the potential and risks of these innovative therapeutic approaches. This paper provides a synopsis of challenges for practitioners, researchers, and regulators to be addressed in the approval processes of psychedelics.

Publication History

Received: 15 February 2021
Received: 06 April 2021

Accepted: 13 April 2021

Article published online:
12 May 2021

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