Psychedelics for Eating Disorders with Reid Robison
In this conversation, Dr. Robison dissects the intricacies of various eating disorders and shares his experience using ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. At Center for Change, Dr. Robison conducted an IRB-approved study looking at the use of ketamine as a potential treatment for eating disorders. In the study, participants were regularly administered ketamine in a small group setting with therapeutic and integration work happening between sessions. Dr. Robison shares some anecdotal reports as well as the objective data from the study, both of which show promising results. In particular, Dr. Robison notes how ketamine can promote a sense of embodiment for individuals struggling with eating disorders, helping them return to a more intuitive connection with food and eating.
Additionally, Dr. Robison discusses topics such as neuroplasticity and the default mode network as potential key factors explaining why this type of treatment could be effective. Since compounds such as ketamine can promote neuroplasticity and downregulate the default mode network, this gives the therapist a window to do particularly effective work with the patient, as they are in a more malleable state and less burdened by routines and habitual thought patterns. Dr. Robison closes with a discussion of the upcoming MAPS study which will look at the possible efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anorexia and binge eating disorders.
In This Episode
• Dr. Robison’s study of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for eating disorders
• The therapeutic modalities Dr. Robison’s team uses alongside ketamine for addressing eating disorders
• Psycholytic vs transformative applications of ketamine in psychotherapy
• The co-occurrence of eating disorders and conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD
• Details of the upcoming MAPS study on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anorexia and binge eating disorder.
“Ketamine and other psychedelic medicines are therapy aids, therapy boosters, accelerators, or catalysts to the therapeutic process.” [10:42]
“But I do believe that there are lasting benefits, especially when you pair it with the psychotherapy—when you have this window of opportunity of neuroplasticity to do some deeper work.” [21:07]
“Healing can be disruptive sometimes and you do feel worse before you feel better in some cases.” [25:23]
“Downregulation of the default mode is such a powerful and welcome break from the day-to-day patterns in these conditions.” [37:43]
* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.