The therapeutic potential of psychedelic medicine for elderly population

By Gabriel García February 22, 2023

The American Association on Aging has published an article examining the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for the aging population. According to the World Health Organization, mental disorders are common among older adults and affect approximately 15% of those over the age of 60. The National Council on Aging reports that 80% of adults over the age of 65 suffer from at least one chronic illness, while 68% suffer from two or more, which can exacerbate mental health problems. Unfortunately, mental health care is often neglected, especially among older adults, despite the fact that treating mental health improves quality of life in the same way that treating physical symptoms does.

The article outlines how many factors contribute to this neglect, such as underdiagnosis and generational stigma against mental illness. Depression may manifest differently among older adults, for example through anhedonia, which is the loss of pleasure, rather than through crippling sadness. As a result, they are less likely to be diagnosed and treated when their mental health problems coincide with physical health problems or major life events, such as a loss.

According to the article, many older adults are also less likely to receive mental health care due to demographic and insurance coverage differences. In 2019, nearly 25% of adults with mental illness reported an unmet need for treatment, and older people are less likely to receive mental health care. Uninsured patients with moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and/or depression were significantly less likely to receive mental health care than their insured counterparts.

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Alternative therapies, such as psychedelic-assisted therapy, can help address emotional distress beyond physical treatment options, the American Association on Aging publishes in its article. This treatment involves ingesting a psychedelic substance in combination with behavioral therapy to help people feel compassion for themselves or make sense of their struggles. Despite the regulatory hurdles for Schedule I drugs, perspectives on the medical benefits of psychedelic drugs have evolved tremendously. The FDA has granted breakthrough designation to two psychedelic therapies: MDMA for the treatment of PTSD and psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression.

As we all know, mental health is an important aspect of overall health and quality of life, especially among older adults. Unfortunately, mental health care is often neglected, but alternative therapies, such as psychedelic-assisted therapy, can help address emotional distress and provide relief for those who do not respond to traditional treatments. It is important to continue to advocate for and address mental health care for all people, including the elderly, to improve their quality of life.

If you are interested in learning how these substances can help improve your mental health, you can read more information about psychedelics in the Essential Guide to the Psychedelic Renaissance,as well. We also recommend Psychedelics and Mental Health, by Irene de Caso and Your Brain on Psychedelics, by Genís Oña, where you will learn the keys to the effects of psychedelics, capable of producing significant changes in the processes of perception, thought and consciousness. The book also includes a prologue written by one of the greatest eminences in this field, José Carlos Bouso, scientific director of ICEERS.

These books are now available on Amazon in physical and eBook format, as well as Apple Books. In addition, all titles are available in Spanish version on

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