In a bid to treat hypochondria, researchers in India are developing a pill that can treat the condition in a controlled setting, potentially in less than an hour.
The new pill, called Nasal Hypnosis Treatment (NHIT), has already been tested in trials in the US, Canada and Australia and will now begin a trial in India, the Times of India reports.
The pill works by using the nose to send a chemical called psilocybin, which can trigger a relaxation response in patients.
The pill is currently available only in India.
Scientists hope that the drug can be administered to more people and, eventually, be prescribed to treat depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Nasial Hypnosis Therapy (NHT) is being developed as a treatment for depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, says its inventor, Amit Shah, from the University of California, San Diego.
“This pill will be able to help millions of people with the condition,” Shah told The Times of Indian Express.
“We are talking about millions of patients.”
India has seen a steady increase in the number of patients suffering from mental illness in recent years.
It is one of the world’s poorest countries and has a history of severe poverty, high unemployment and lack of healthcare.
A large part of the increase in depression cases has been attributed to the country’s high number of suicides.
However, there is growing awareness of the condition, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced it will begin a global programme to help those who have been affected by it.