Psychedelic drug therapy in psychiatry

Dr Ben Sessa

60 minutes


June 2022

CPD learning module

CPD domain:

Psychedelic drug therapy.jpg

What are psychedelic drugs? Are they simply drugs of abuse? Can they be used to treat patients with unremitting mental health problems? Can they assist us in our study of human consciousness and the physiology of the brain? Or could they be considered sacramental tools used by non-Western cultures for spiritual value?

Psychedelics have a controversial history and the subject has always been divisive. This module will look objectively and scientifically at the relative risks and benefits of psychedelic drugs in order to:

  • explore their complex psychopharmacology
  • provide a brief review of the history of psychedelic drug therapy in psychiatry and a discussion about its possible future
  • appreciate the role psychedelics have played in cultural development.

We will look at the development of these drugs within the profession of psychiatry, including:

  • their meteoric rise in the 1950s
  • their fall in the 1960s
  • the hiatus of the last 40 years
  • the re-emergence of interest in psychedelics in recent years.


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