Current Reserch in Clinical Neuropsychology :The Changing Landscape of Psychedelics in the Treatment of Mood, Anxiety and Addiction Disorders - David E. Presti University of California, Berkeley
Lecture/Workshop Description: Psychedelics are among the most interesting and poorly understood psychoactive substances. They produce a variety of complex effects on the brain and mind, including intensification of thoughts and feelings, alterations of sensory perception, and loosening of psychological defenses. Because of these effects, psychedelics are powerful probes of the connection between brain physiology and consciousness, perhaps the most deeply mysterious question in contemporary science. In their plant and fungal forms, psychedelics have been used for millennia for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Modern scientific research with psychedelics has taken place for more than a century and was one of the driving forces in the early days of biological psychiatry. The widespread popular use of some of these substances in the 1960s contributed to legal regulation that closed down human research. However, after 25 years of quiescence, human clinical research with psychedelics has now returned to mainstream science.
Clinical studies are underway investigating MDMA in the treatment of PTSD and psilocybin in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Another related area is the recent attention to the use of ketamine in the treatment of depression. In addition to PTSD, anxiety, and depression, also underway are clinical studies addressing addiction and social anxiety associated with autistic spectrum conditions. Critical to the use of these medicines in a psychotherapeutic context is careful preparation before a session, guidance throughout, and integration thereafter. Concurrent with clinical psychotherapeutic studies, human neuroscience research in the United States, Europe, and South America is investigating physiological mechanisms of these remarkable substances. In no small part because of its prominence in the media and in clinical and scientific literature, this is a body of research and therapeutic application that is of substantial relevance to all clinical practitioners of psychotherapy.
Lecture/Workshop Learning Objectives After attending this program, participants will be able to:
1) Describe the behavioral properties of psychedelic substances and the distinct differences between psychedelics and other psychoactive drugs
2) Describe the historical use of psychedelics as psychotherapeutic medicines
3) Describe the specific arenas of current clinical research using psychedelic medicines in the therapeutic treatment of mood and anxiety conditions
4) Analyze and predict which kinds of future clinical research strategies might productively involve psychedelic medicines
Biography: David E. Presti is Teaching Professor of Neurobiology, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught for 27 years. Between 1990 and 2000, he worked as a clinical psychologist in the treatment of addiction and PTSD at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco. For 10 years (1999- 2010) he was a core faculty member in the California School of Professional Psychology / Alliant University graduate program in psychopharmacology. And since 2004 he has been teaching neuroscience to Tibetan monastics in India, and more recently in Bhutan. He is author of Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience: A Brain-Mind Odyssey (2016, W.W. Norton).