Could Hallucinogens Be A Treatment For Depression And Anxiety?
When hallucinogens became a counter cultural trend in the 1960s, they were serving a spiritual purpose, if not an entirely recreational one. Many factions of the 1960s counterculture felt that hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and “magic mushrooms” among others were the gateway to higher consciousness. Taking a “trip” on these mind altering, hallucinatory drugs was taking a trip through transcendental transformation. The youth of this decade were tired of the suffocated, suppressed society of the 1940s and 1950s who lived by a “be seen not heard” philosophy. Likewise, the youth were largely angered by the Vietnam War and many other social, as well as political injustices. Themes of universality, oneness, and togetherness, seemed to resonate from one end of the globe to the other as millions of youth, and adults as well, were partaking in hallucinogenic recreation.
Hallucinogens can be natural, in the case of mushrooms and other plants, or they can be laboratory made. Before the countercultural outbreak of the 1960s, hallucinogens were being scientifically researched and tested for a variety of applications, including mental health treatment. With mental health disorders like depression and anxiety reaching adults and children worldwide in the hundreds of millions, researchers have taken to testing these drugs again to determine their potential efficacy in treating mental illness. Some of the findings have indicated that hallucinogens can reduce symptoms, increase happiness, and eliminate stress. Mental illness which manifests from trauma might be able to find resolution as a result of therapeutic hallucinogen use.
Medical Xpress recently reported on new statements regarding hallucinogen use and the treatment of mood disorders from the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, which included a symposium on psychedelics and psychotherapy. Some of the research presented looked at how the use of LSD or “magic mushrooms”, scientifically named psilocybin, as well as ayahuasca, could be a benefit for people who live with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
“Using hallucinogens was related to greater levels of spirituality, which led to improved emotional stability and fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression and disordered eating,” the website reports. Additionally, psilocybin, in conjunction with psychotherapy, helped patients cope with loss and difficult experiences like “existential distress”. The study included patients who were fighting cancer, however, loss and existential distress are two experiences common to those who are fighting to cope with significant traumas which have occurred in their lifetimes.
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