* The objective of this article is specifically for speculation on how we can treat mental disorders with psychedelics. I do not condone or encourage the consumption of any illegal substances. Please be responsible with this information. Thank you.*
Millions of people all around the world suffer from mental health issues every single day. These mental health issues, or mental disorders, can range from Depression, PTSD, and anxiety just to name a few popular ones. Globally, around 800,000 people die each year from committing suicide. It is no secret that those who end their own lives suffer greatly from mental illness and mental disorders. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in young people, according to our data. If we can successfully treat mental disorders, then we could potentially decrease the numbers of suicide each year, saving lives. The question is how and the answer is not something you can pinpoint. Because the source of mental disorders is not one person or one thing, we cannot tackle it with ease. In fact, one could say that treating mental disorders is one of the more complex things humans have attempted.
When thinking about mental disorders and how we have treated them in the past, it is safe to say that we have not been very successful. Stress rates are at an all-time high in today’s society. However, in 20202, more than ever, awareness of mental illness is surfacing and plays a big role in social media content. More and more people are beginning to accept those with mental illness or even come forward about their own mental illness issues. While the awareness of this issue is important, it will not fix the problem itself. So, how can we ‘fix’ the problem? Of course, there is no easy fix to such a deep-rooted issue. Although, as of lately, we have come across some remarkable alternatives to previous methods such as prescribed anti-depressants or SSRIs. Let’s look at this alternative, shall we?
In this article, we will be looking at how one’s mental disorder can be treating via the usage of psychedelics. We will specifically be looking into using psychedelics to treat depression (one of the most common mental disorders) as well as others.
What are Mental disorders?
To sum it up, mental disorders, or mental illnesses, are conditions that affect your thinking. This can affect how you are feeling as well as your mood and behaviour towards yourself and others. Some individuals suffer from chronic mental disorders which are long-lasting. Others are affected on a day to day basis. These disorders can affect your ability to relate to others as well as your daily function. One’s social interactions can be deeply influenced by their mental disorder. Although those around individuals with mental disorders can be affected by these symptoms, the person dealing with the mental disorder themselves will suffer the greatest, of course.
If you are wondering about the different types of mental disorders, here is a short list of a few commonly diagnosed mental illnesses:
- Anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, obsessive- compulsive disorder and phobias
- Depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTDS)
- Psychotic disorders, and schizophrenia
Unfortunately, there is no single cause for mental disorders, making them very hard to prevent. There are a large number of factors that can contribute to the risk of mental illness. A few are family genes, living circumstances, biological factors, and your life history/life experiences. Abuse and childhood mistreatment is a strong pattern we see when we look into those who suffer from mental disorders. Sadly, mental disorders are very common. Today, more than half of all Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their life.
Treatment for a mental disorder largely depends on which mental disorder you have and how serious it is. Typically, treatment for these disorders involves strong medication and some kind of therapy. In more intense cases, a psychiatric hospital is necessary. In such hospitals, you receive counseling, group discussions, activities with a mental health professional. In the more serious case of being in a psychiatric hospital, you will be given a cocktail of different medication in an attempt to balance out the chemicals in your brain/body. Medication for mental disorders can have a positive effect on many individuals. However, there are many risks for taking these prescribed drugs. These drugs have a long list of alarming side-effects. Ironically, the majority have depression, anxiety and suicide on their list of side-effects. This is where alternative treatments because appealing.
What are psychedelics?
For anyone reading this article that isn’t quite sure what classifies a substance as a psychedelic, here is a brief explanation. Psychedelics, also known as hallucinogens, are a popular class of psychoactive substances. These psychoactive substances produce extreme changes in perception, mood and one’s cognitive process. There are many different types of psychedelics that hold their effects. Some psychedelics occur naturally in trees, vines, seeds, leaves and fungi. Other are synthesized in laboratories. Psychedelics are non-addictive substances.
Psychedelics affect all the human senses, altering an individuals process of thought, sense of time, and emotional experience. They can also cause one to hallucinate, making one see or hear things that do not exist or are distorted. These hallucinations only exist in the head of the person experiencing them. Many individuals report having a ‘life-changing’ and ‘thought-altering’ experiences. It is not uncommon for one to refer to the psychedelic experience as ‘one of the most profound experiences’ of their life. While this is quite a large statement, many individuals say it with great honesty and sincerity.
While psychedelics can provide a magical experience where colours change, objects breath and fractals appear in mid-air, psychedelics hold great importance in the process of healing. Society is beginning to accept the undeniable potential of psychedelics and how they can help mankind in various ways. One is improving the mental health of individuals and subside the common mental pain and suffering many of us experience. These psychedelic substances are very potent and only small amounts are needed to experience such events. The risk with taking natural psychedelics that come from nature like psilocybin mushrooms, for example, is the strength is then unknown. That is why synthesizing these chemicals is best for medical treatments as the exact dosage can be provided.
How can we treat Mental disorders with Psychedelics? What does it look like?
When we look at how psychedelics and mental health, we see a lot of data suggesting psychedelics can be a promising treatment. Many individuals treat their own mental disorders by taking psychedelic in the comfort of their own homes and the results are astounding. That being said, it is clear that in a controlled medical environment, psychedelic therapy holds great potential for many. There are many ways to treat mental disorders with psychedelics. Let us look at John Hopkins University and their center for psychedelic and consciousness research. They specialize in treating individuals who suffer from depression via the usage psilocybin.
At John Hopkins psychedelic center, they have treated 360 patients who suffer from depression and other similar mental disorders by using psychedelics as a tool. The treatment involves a controlled dosage of psilocybin. After taking the dosage, they are placed in a calm room where they are told to lay on a comfortable sofa and are wrapped in a cosy blanket for additional comfort. They switch off the lights in the room and give the patient a face- mask to ensure they are in pure darkness. They also provide a headphone set that plays therapeutic music at a comfortable volume. Essentially, the patient lies in the dark, wrapped up in a blanket on a cosy sofa and listens to music for the duration of their trip. This part of the treatment does not involve talking or any kind of verbal therapy or human interaction. However, medical professionals stand close by to ensure the safety of the individual. After the ‘trip’ is over, they are provided with therapy sessions to follow.
So what is different about these studies then doing psychedelics by yourself in yourself in your home? Being treated in a professional/clinical/medical environment means all the substances are clinically calculated and the dosages are controlled. Lots of experienced individuals will report doing psychedelics in their home without a ‘trip sitter’. This means they are tripping by themselves
or with other people who are tripping with them. They do not have a sober person present in case of anything going wrong, unlike clinical studies such as at Hopkins psychedelic center where they ensure professionals are close by patience during their sessions.
These therapeutic psychedelic treatments have shocking results. For most patients, just one or two sessions can lift depression for months on end. Their research found that psilocybin drastically reduces the brains response to negative emotional stimuli. It is important to note that psilocybin and other psychedelics are not a cure for depression and other mental disorders. One cannot simply partake in a few clinical psychedelic sessions and expect their mental disorder(s) to be cured. Although treating patience with psychedelics has resulted in groundbreaking progress when treating mental disorders, a lot of other factors play in helping individuals with their diagnosis’. Most of us know that eating healthy, exercising and being in nature is key to a healthier mind. That being said, psychedelic treatments, therapy and a healthy/active lifestyle may be the most effective way to treat such mental illnesses.
2020 is an exciting time to be alive, to say the least. A time where psychedelics are being used to help people while negative notations of these substances are dissolving as we accept their assistance to the human race. Our future with psychedelics appears to be promising. Hopefully, we can move forward and be more open about alternative treatments, psychedelic or non-psychedelic. Mankind is at war with himself and we suffer from a great deal of pain on the daily. With modern technology and ever-expanding knowledge, perhaps we can improve consciousness one psychedelic session at a time.