Once cast aside as a risky dalliance of the counterculture, interest in psychedelics and mental health is rapidly gaining mainstream acceptance. As a result, many jurisdictions in the U.S. are today in the process of permitting and decriminalizing the use of psilocybin for therapeutic and recreational purposes.
Psychedelic therapy is a process involving the use of psychedelic compounds to help in therapy. Hallucinogenic substances have a long history of use in holistic medicine alongside spiritual practices. Today, psychedelic drugs hold considerable potential in treating a range of conditions like anxiety, depression, and addiction.
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What is Psychedelic Therapy Used For?
Based on trial studies on the impact of psychedelics and mental health, researchers have found psilocybin not only safe but also capable of yielding favorable results on an individual’s well-being. When used under supervision and in controlled environments like psychedelic treatment centers, psilocybin can produce long-lasting symptom relief and substantial psychological/behavioral changes.
Are psychedelics the future of mental health? Researchers have unearthed several potential applications of psychedelics and mental health therapy. Apart from anxiety, mood disorders, and depression, patients struggling with substance abuse, alcohol addiction, and PTSD can respond favorably to psychedelic-assisted treatment plans.
What is Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy?
This future mental health therapy plan commonly integrates “talk therapy” with the ingestion of traditional psychedelics like psilocybin or ayahuasca. Clinicians typically prescribe three specific therapy phases. These include:
- An acute psychedelic experience
- Primarily, the non-psychedelic principles of this approach are crucial to effectiveness and safety.
Let’s illustrate the three use-case phases of psychedelics and mental health below:
Preparation: From diet to psychotherapy, participants attend several talk therapy sessions supervised by a trained therapist. During the psychedelic session, a therapeutic bond is developed, and the circumstances of the subject’s struggles are explored.
Next, the therapist will guide the individual in several ways, often placing more weight on certain aspects like curiosity and the need to remain open to stressful experiences. But whereas the challenging experiences may be requisite to the therapeutic and benefits that follow, the inferred “bad trip” emerges from an attempt to escape the experience. Again, an open and trusting interaction can ease this concern.
Psychedelic Session: During this phase, “set” and “setting” are regarded as overriding elements. Set (also referred to as mindset) is an intricate mix of more transient occurrences like expectations and mood, among other developments like personality and past experiences.
On the other hand, “setting” denotes the context or circumstances under which the session evolves—taking into account element likes comfort and aesthetics of the room, alongside more delicate factors like the soundness of the relationship between the subject and the therapist.
Typically, the session rooms are designed to mirror comfortable living rooms, and the individual can sit or stretch out on a couch. The clinician may encourage the subject to wear eyeshades and sometimes introduce carefully selected music. Administration of the synthesized psychedelic capsule is often through oral ingestion. One session may take a maximum of 8 hours.
A clinician or therapist may adopt a non-directive approach during the psychedelic session. In this context, the therapist will remain attentive but often silent, complementing the emerging process. If need be, the clinician will also offer support and guidance, besides listen and respond to the subject when they speak, with a minimal assessment of the material.
Integration: Soon after the psychedelic session and subsequent days, a process of integration follows and is moderated by the therapist. Amidst these interactions, the subject has the latitude to process, comprehend, and give significant bearing to their psychedelic experience.
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Benefits of Psychedelics for Mental Illness
Psychedelics are potent compounds that elicit profound mind-altering effects. Psychedelics for mental illness are believed to work by impacting the neural circuits that rely on the neurotransmitter serotonin. Potential benefits include:
- Feeling of relaxation
- Spiritual experiences
- Enhanced sense of wellness
- Improved social connectedness
- Side Effects
- Distorted sense of reality
- Altered perceptual experiences
- Distorted sense of time
- Strong perceptions or emotions
As a result, patients should explore psychedelics and mental health in a therapeutic setting under the supervision of a trained professional who can help the individual understand and embrace these experiences.
What is DMT Psychotherapy?
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a chemical compound present in some plants and animals. It’s a derivative and structurally analogous to tryptamine. This substance is a serotonergic psychedelic that manifests its effects through serotonergic receptors present in the brain like 5-HT2A and 5-HT1A, alongside 5-HT2C plus 5-HT7 receptors, and more.
Psychedelics are believed to have therapeutic benefits in mental disorders that project rumination, habits, and one-sidedness as the chief symptoms. These internalizing disorders include depression, anxiety, addictions, and PTSD, where the individual replays negative thoughts repeatedly.
Psychedelics produce results by disrupting the way a subject’s brain ordinarily processes information. This “reset” mechanism to the brain checks unhealthy thought patterns by availing an avenue for these ruminations to resettle differently. These disruptions help the individual to benefit more from psychotherapy that centers on the administration of DMT.
Can Psychedelics Help PTSD?
Studies have demonstrated considerable potential in psychedelic-assisted treatment plan’s long-term efficacy in the management of PTSD. Whereas psychedelic-assisted therapy is to an extent considered safe and well-tolerated, subjects’ must be aware of the potential risks and unfavorable side effects. Classic psychedelics and mental health compounds like psilocybin PTSD treatment pose considerably fewer risks attributable to physical or psychological dependence.
When is Psychedelic Therapy Available? How to Get Started
In 2019, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) listed psilocybin-assisted therapy as a “breakthrough therapy.” Following this designation, clinicians expect an expedited development and review of the psychedelics and mental health drugs—emerging from the preliminary clinical trials that indicate considerable promise to treat severe conditions.
Today, clinical trials on the use of LSD and psilocybin center on the treatment of alcohol dependence, anxiety issues, and depression. For patients looking to try psychedelic therapy, one available option involves signing up for research trials.
In a nutshell, never attempt to self-treat with psychedelics. It’s worth noting that subjects are given a quantified, pure dose in clinical settings. Besides that, the entire psychedelic experience is closely supervised by an accredited therapist. Subjects also get the support of professional therapists to integrate the experience.
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As good treatment plans in the future of mental health, psychedelics can offer robust solutions. At MD Berry, we believe the effectiveness of a treatment plan primarily depends on preparation and integration work. Book a psychedelic consultation today and learn the strengths and shortcomings of psychedelic therapy sessions before applying for the process. With many individuals resorting to the supervised use of psychedelics to help with mental health concerns, it’d be wise to seek guidance from an M.D. expert before the therapy session.