Psilocybin and the amygdala

Psilocybin is known for its therapeutic effects in people with depression and various anxiety complaints such as social anxiety and PTSD. Researchers think this is because the substance helps restore emotional responsiveness in the brain. The amygdala plays a role in this. The amygdala is a part of our brain that helps process emotional responses, including fear. Researchers have found that psilocybin increases activity in the right amygdala. This would mean that psilocybin people temporarily become more sensitive to fears and positive emotions. In theory, experiencing fears more strongly is not useful for people with anxiety complaints, but due to the effect of psilocybin, the brain can be in a satisfied state. The higher emotional experience can lead to higher emotional acceptance through the state of satisfaction. As soon as people with anxiety complaints feel more satisfied with mild anxiety, the anxiety can reduce to such an extent that extreme complaints do not occur. The increase in emotional responsiveness can also lead to experiencing both the negative and positive elements of life.

Psilocybin anxiety and amygdala

Psilocybin against anxiety according to research

A lot of research is currently being done into the effect of psilocybin on various anxiety complaints. In general, the success rates of psychedelic therapy are estimated at 70% and depend on the therapy, the drug and (the severity of) the complaints. Below we give a few examples of which the results are already known.

Social anxiety

There is evidence to suggest that psilocybin may have empathogenic and prosocial effects. In case social anxiety is caused by low self-esteem, psilocybin can make social interactions easier through greater self-acceptance and the lower level of self-consciousness.


There is evidence that psilocybin promotes the growth of new neurons and synapses in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in forming memories. The increased neuroplasticity can help reduce anxiety symptoms.

Existential anxiety

Because of the spiritual experiences, psilocybin can reduce existential anxiety and end-of-life anxiety. Psilocybin reduced patient-rated depressed mood, anxiety, and fear of death. It also increased quality of life, meaning in life and optimism.

Sometimes more anxiety after a bad trip

After some psilocybin trips, a small portion of users experience more anxiety than before psilocybin use. These increased anxiety symptoms after a trip can have several causes. People who indicate that they have had a bad trip often indicate over time that they have learned from the bad trip and that it was a difficult lesson. A small portion still suffers from anxiety for several weeks to months.

Preventing a bad trip is important and the important points are quite well known. Providing a safe environment with guidance drastically reduces the chance of a bad trip. Furthermore, research shows that lowering glutamate in the hippocampus and increasing GABA further reduces the risk of a bad trip. Good preparation is therefore important. Read more about bad trips and GABA can help via the buttons below

Alternatives that work better for anxiety disorders

Although there is a risk of negative after-effects during a psilocybin session with preparation and guidance, anxiety symptoms may increase. We note that only a few customers per year actually suffer more from anxiety complaints after a psilocybin session than the intended improvement. This is especially true in individuals diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. A few with long Covid indicated that they had more anxiety than before the session. Although psilocybin can be a benefit for most people with these complaints, it is advisable to bear in mind that deterioration can sometimes also occur.

In our opinion, it is wise to see whether there is an alternative for the group of people with generalized anxiety disorder and severe PTSD symptoms. One of the alternatives we offer is an MDMA session. According to research, MDMA therapy for PTSD has proven to be very successful, with a success rate of around 70%. As an additional benefit, almost no side effects or additional anxiety complaints are mentioned after the MDMA sessions. MDMA therapy therefore feels like a safer choice for severe anxiety complaints. More information about MDMA as therapy:

Our advice and second opinion

At Triptherapie we have already helped more than 2,000 people with various complaints such as depression, addiction and various anxiety complaints. We ask every customer to complete the intake so that we can detect contraindications. If we detect contraindications such as medication use or psychological conditions that cannot be combined with psychedelics, we will indicate this. It often happens that a psychedelic session would be irresponsible.

With complex registrations, we are sometimes unable to make a proper assessment of the safety of a session and we ask the customer to contact their own doctor/psychiatrist. It is also advisable to request a second opinion from your own healthcare specialist in the case of extremities. Would you like a psychedelic session with us? Then complete the intake without obligation.