Psychedelic and Dissociative Drugs as Medicines


Man on his back laying on a couch wearing an eye mask and wired earbuds during a therapy session.
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  • Two dissociative drugs are currently FDA-approved: ketamine, which is approved as an anesthetic, and its derivative, esketamine, for treatment resistant depression. Scientists are investigating whether other psychedelic or dissociative drugs may be effective treatments for substance use disorders and other mental disorders.
  • Though research is ongoing, scientists suspect that some of these substances may cause brain changes that boost the effectiveness of treatments for mental health disorders. The drugs are always administered under medical supervision during research studies, usually in combination with treatments such as talk therapy.
  • In partnership with other agencies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NIDA supports and conducts research to better understand the health effects of psychedelic and dissociative drugs and to learn whether some of them may help treat addiction and other mental health disorders in medical settings.

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