Besides depression, anxiety is another prevalent psychiatric disorder that poses significant morbidity. And whereas pharmacological and psychosocial interventions play an essential role in managing these conditions, their efficacy is often limited.
Recently, there has been growing interest in treating anxiety without medication through psychedelic-assisted therapy for patients unresponsive to conventional treatments.
Let’s explore the use of psychedelic and anxiety drugs like Ayahuasca, psilocybin, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). This substance shows promise as an alternative management plan in the treatment of resistant depression.
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What is the Meaning of Psychedelics?
Psychedelics define a group of drugs associated with having hallucinative properties capable of impacting changes in perception, mood, and the cognitive capacity of individuals. Among the most discussed psychedelics and anxiety, substances include Ayahuasca—a psychedelic drink known as the “vine of the soul.”
Does Ayahuasca Cure Anxiety
Ayahuasca brew comprises N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a compound that mirrors serotonin, the chemical message transmitter of the brain. This chemical component is supposedly responsible for the euphoric impact and alteration of the State of consciousness of a user.
Owing to the above properties, doctors who treat anxiety have been exploring the possibility of using Ayahuasca. This substance offers an alternative option to treat anxiety without medication alongside many other mental health disorders.
How do Psychedelics Treat Anxiety?
Typically, when you consume chacruna leaves, the compound doesn’t have considerable effects on your body as it gets broken down in your gut by the digestive enzyme monoamine oxidase. Even so, once you mix the chacruna leaves with the vines, the beta-carbolines prevalent in the Banisteriopsis caapi inhibits the action of the monoamine oxidase. This process helps the N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) dissolve in your blood system and then cross the blood-brain barrier—thereby impacting the brain.
Psychedelics for Anxiety and Treating Mental Illnesses
Treating addiction with psychedelics can prove to have favorable benefits, as documented in various studies:
Benefits of Ayahuasca in the Treatment for LSD Addicts
Based on a 2015 research, Ayahuasca can modulate the Default Mode Network (DMN) processes present in the brain. These activities come to the fore when an individual is daydreaming, replaying memories/future events, or thinking about other people.
Subjects with high DMN activity are more likely to struggle with mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, social phobia concerns, and schizophrenia.
Another study documented in the journal of Psychological Medicine observed that Ayahuasca shows promise in providing rapid antidepressant impacts to the user. And hence, the substance can help not only in the management of depression but also in anxiety issues, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and providing a solution for drug addiction concerns.
Using psychedelics to treat depression is known to improve assertiveness, boost energy levels, increase positivity plus confidence in the subject.
Clinical studies show promise in Ayahuasca helping a person deploy immune cells to counter a virus or tumor growth in the subject’s body. Nevertheless, more tasks are necessary to prove the substance’s efficacy as an option in cancer therapy.
Psychedelic-assisted therapy alongside cognitive behavioral therapy holds considerable promise in managing many mental health conditions in the future.
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What Is Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy
Psychedelic therapy or psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (PAP) is a form of psychiatric treatment practice that employs ingesting a psychedelics and anxiety compound as a step of the psychotherapy process.
During this psychedelic therapy process, the doctors who treat anxiety may combine psychedelics with talk therapy. Psychedelics and anxiety substances prevalently in use are often derived from plants. These compounds include psilocybin (magic mushrooms), DMT, Ayahuasca, peyote, ibogaine, among others. Non-plant compounds involve chemical derivatives like ketamine, MDMA, and LSD.
Is Microdosing Legal in the U.S.?
Whereas psychedelics among indigenous communities has been a common practice in therapeutic and religious settings for decades, psychedelics and anxiety therapy is somewhat new in clinical settings.
Today, the increased legalization of some psychedelics and anxiety substances, a considerable rise in mental health issues, and more research in how to deal with anxiety without medication are driving the use of psychedelics.
Microdosing entails the consumption of low doses of a compound, typically a psychedelic drug. The quantity of the substance in use is often relatively below the level of a hallucinogenic dose; even so, backers of the practice consider it to bring about favorable health outcomes. Due to the relatively low dosage, users can have improved daily functioning while minimizing the risk of a drastically altered state of consciousness.
Legal State of Microdosing
Oregon made history by becoming the 1st State in the U.S. to legalize the use of psilocybin—the primary psychoactive compound present in “magic mushrooms.” The State is also among the first jurisdictions worldwide to provide a blueprint for regulating the compound’s therapeutic use.
Later on, John Hopkins University researchers released results from their first randomized controlled trial linked to the management and treatment of major depressive disorders using synthetic psilocybin.
The findings of this study, documented in JAMA Psychiatry, indicated 71% of the subjects experienced a “clinically considerable response” (showing improvements lasting more than four weeks after treatment). Additionally, 54% matched the criteria that point toward total “remission of depression.”
Regardless, the psychedelics and anxiety drug remains a categorically prohibited schedule 1 drug at the federal level. Currently, psilocybin is denoted by the Drug Enforcement Administration to have little to no accepted medical impact and a relatively high potential risk for abuse.
Yet, the State-level ballot measure alongside the supporting positive study outcomes stretches the legal circumstances and the environment under which the psychedelics and anxiety compound can be of potential use in mental health therapy.
Following up on the loosening of the restrictions involving psilocybin are more cities. These jurisdictions include Oakland, Denver, Ann Arbor, Washington, DC, among others who have recently voted to decriminalize the substance successfully. Decriminalization is a first step towards providing for a framework to regulate legal therapeutic use.
The Oregon vote shows promise in what many proponents see as “magic mushrooms,” making strides to rise in importance akin to “the next medical marijuana” and therefore gaining acceptance as a natural therapeutic plus a mind-altering substance in a regulated market.
Further research is required to help establish psychedelics and anxiety as a potent drug plus as well-tolerated and effective treatment options in alleviating depression concerns and anxiety symptoms.
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Get Help in the Treatment of Anxiety and Depression Concerns
Treating depression and anxiety issues takes time. At MD Berry, we recommend a commitment to your treatment plan, support from your family or friends, and routine evaluations with a certified mental health expert.