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Microdosing Psychedelics May Be More Effective Than ADHD Drugs, Says Recent Study
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Microdosing Psychedelics May Be More Effective Than ADHD Drugs, Says Recent Study

Seraiah Alexander
Seraiah Alexander
June 20, 2024
2 min

According to findings from a recent study by Maastricht University, microdosing psychedelics might be more effective than traditional ADHD medications in managing severe symptoms. The research indicates that small doses of psychedelics can help improve emotion regulation and control ADHD symptoms, offering a potential new direction for ADHD therapies.

Study background

The study, published in European Psychiatry, involved a total of 270 adult participants who were divided into two main groups. Those in the microdosing group took regular, tiny dosages of typical psychedelic drugs, including LSD and psilocybin. The other set used conventional ADHD medications like methylphenidate and amphetamines. Participants could continue with their regular activities and self-manage their medication or microdosing outside of a clinical setting, offering a more real-world context for the study’s findings.

Data was collected at multiple points over the study to observe changes and trends over the course of four weeks. The ADHD symptoms of participants were monitored using established rating scales to track changes in inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The study also assessed changes in empathy and emotional regulation through standardized tests and questionnaires (1).

Key findings

Emotional regulation

Overall, the participants in the microdosing group demonstrated significant improvements in cognitive reappraisal and were able to manage their emotions more positively during stressful situations. After about two weeks and continuing through the fourth week, these improvements were noticeable compared to Baseline assessments. Those in the microdosing group also saw a noticeable reduction in the tendency to suppress emotions. By the end of the study, participants were less likely to hold in their feelings, which is generally associated with better emotional health and social functioning.

AHDH symptom management

The participants in the microdosing group reported a significant decrease in their ADHD symptoms over the four weeks, including reductions in inattention and hyperactivity. This suggests that microdosing could potentially help manage these systems more effectively than conventional treatments. Although traditional medications can be effective, the study determined that the participants in the microdosing group had better overall outcomes in terms of symptom reduction by the end of the four weeks.

Empathy

Microdosing participants were found to have significant improvements in their ability to understand and adopt others’ viewpoints and perspectives, which could contribute to better social interactions and relationships. However, other aspects of empathy, like empathetic concern and the tendency to imagine one’s self and other’s situations, did not show any significant changes compared to the conventional medication group.

Implications for future ADHD treatment

The researchers of the study highlight the promise of microdosing psychedelics as a viable alternative to traditional ADHD medications. Because of the significant improvements in emotional regulation and reductions in ADHD symptoms observed in the microdosing group, there’s a strong indication that psychedelic substances could offer a new and effective treatment option for adults with severe ADHD. This approach could be especially beneficial for those who have not responded well to conventional medication or who experience side effects from these treatments.

These findings suggest that microdosing could also potentially treat other conditions characterized by emotional dysregulation, and the study calls for further exploration into how psychedelics could be integrated into therapies aimed at enhancing emotional resilience and social functioning. 

Although more controlled research is needed to fully validate these findings and explore the long-term implications of psychedelic therapies, the study nonetheless opens up exciting possibilities for the future of ADHD treatment and the therapeutic use of psychedelics.


References

  1. Eline, Petra P.M. Hurks, and Kim P.C. Kuypers. 2024. “Effects of Psychedelic Microdosing versus Conventional ADHD Medication Use on Emotion Regulation, Empathy, and ADHD Symptoms in Adults with Severe ADHD Symptoms: A Naturalistic Prospective Comparison Study.” European Psychiatry, February, 1–43. https://doi.org/10.1192/j.eurpsy.2024.8.

Seraiah Alexander

Seraiah Alexander

Content Editor

Table Of Contents

1
Study background
2
Key findings
3
Implications for future ADHD treatment
4
References

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