Advancing elite athlete mental health treatment with psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy
AuthorWalton, CC; Liknaitzky, P
Source TitleJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
PublisherTAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
AffiliationCentre for Youth Mental Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsWalton, C. C. & Liknaitzky, P. (2020). Advancing elite athlete mental health treatment with psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. JOURNAL OF APPLIED SPORT PSYCHOLOGY, https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2020.1848941.
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2021-11-10
Despite a politically vilified past, classical psychedelics, including lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin, and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), are experiencing a revival in scientific and clinical research. When used under the appropriate guidance and setting, these substances show promise for substantially improving well-being and reducing mental ill-health alongside an excellent safety profile. Elite athletes are known to experience mental health disorder symptomatology and psychological distress at similar, if not higher, rates to the general population. Therefore, this promising line of research may be relevant to mental health treatment within elite sport. Psychedelic treatment may reduce the incidence and experience of mental ill-health in athletes, particularly when related to a range of issues commonly seen in elite sport, including therapeutic resistance, challenges to identity and meaning through career transitions and injury, and managing interpersonal stress and conflict. As a number of psychedelic treatments are currently advancing through the drug development pathway in the US and EU, it is timely to develop an understanding of the clinical application of psychedelics within elite sport, and the legislative and sport-specific regulations that will need to be addressed if psychedelics become registered medicines. In this article, we outline the sport-specific relevance of psychedelic treatments, the role of sports psychologists and psychiatrists in delivering and managing prospective psychedelic treatment, the key ethical and regulatory issues this prospective treatment raises, as well as propose initial research questions the field could address. We argue that psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy should be investigated as a novel treatment option for addressing mental ill-health in elite athletes.
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