When taken in a carefully controlled setting, psychedelic “drugs” have the potential to positively influence a number of different medical conditions. From anxiety and depression to PTSD and addiction, various psychedelics show promise to alleviate certain psychological disorders, a discovery that could offer countless people the treatment they so desperately need.
The use of psychedelics as medicine is nothing new, however, this idea has seen a surge of interest in recent years. As more studies show encouraging results, more people are becoming interested in the idea of psychedelic-assisted treatment. The time when psychedelics were considered dangerous drugs is becoming a thing of the past, and more and more people are discovering that what they’ve been told about psychedelics is decidedly untrue.
Psychedelics Have Shown to Be Medically Beneficial for Years
Before they were deemed dangerous by the FDA in the 1960s, psychedelics were used and studied widely to treat a host of different mental health conditions. LSD showed promise as a treatment for alcoholism and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) exhibited excellent results at helping with depression. Until the mid-80s, MDMA (ecstasy) was used by therapist for about 15 years to help reduce depression and anxiety.
Although there has been an upsurge of recent interest in reintroducing psychedelics as medicine these substances are still classified as Schedule Class I. This means that, according to the DEA standards, they have no medicinal benefit and have a high potential for abuse. Until these substances can be reclassified (something the DEA isn’t willing to do) it will most likely prove difficult to advance with further studies.
The studies that have been conducted on psychedelics as medicine show that it is indeed time for reclassification. With so many promising results in treating various psychological conditions with various psychedelics, it’s time to let go of outdated policies and allow research to resume on these substances that could revolutionize the way mental health is treated.
Studies among various psychedelics have shown favorable results after just a few sessions of treatment. In some cases only one session was needed to help patients receive positive effects. What do psychedelics do in the brain to help patients overcome serious psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, and even addiction?
How do Psychedelics Work in the Brain?
While researchers don’t exactly know how psychedelics work within the brain, it’s suspected that they promote lasting changes in the manner that various areas and processes in the brain communicate with each other. Where it was once suspected that psychedelics increase activity in the brain, it’s shown that some actually decrease activity and could be responsible for eliminating that “extra noise” in the brain that holds us in negative habitual thinking patterns.
Some psychedelics “reset” the brain’s neurochemistry, thusly allowing for changes to take place within the brain. Ibogaine, which has shown tremendous results in helping addicts overcome even the most severe cases of addiction, is believed to flood receptors in the brain that have been damaged due to excessive drug or alcohol abuse. This “flooding” helps to set the brain back to its pre-addicted state, offering an alternative to quickly recover from psychical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
Perhaps one of the greatest ways psychedelics assist in helping people overcome various mental maladies is the way they encourage one to look inside themselves for the answers they seek. When taken in the right setting and with the right intention, psychedelics help a patient understand some of the most complex emotional issues they have.
Psychedelics have a way of showing a person emotions and thoughts that have been suppressed for years. Uncovering these issues is one thing, but working through them is another entirely. Psychedelics have a way of urging people to take a deep look within and come face to face with the emotions that have caused them undue pain and stress. For many, taking psychedelics to treat their psychological issues has been equated to what would take years to accomplish with traditional therapy.
Although the government claims that these substances have no medical benefits, the people who have found promise in them say different. A study sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelics Studies (MAPS) for instance, that tracked 12 people who underwent end-of-life treatment with LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions, concluded with anxiety levels that “went down and stayed down.” Several clinical trials performed with MDMA have showed that it helps to successfully treat people affected with post-traumatic stress disorder. The reason? MDMA is responsible for releasing oxytocin in the brain, the human hormone that controls feelings of love and compassion.
The criticism of certain substances that show promise to help people overcome serious mental conditions has gone on far too long. If there are ways to help people prevail over the issues that keep them from living a meaningful life, they need to be taken seriously. Psychedelics, when used in a controlled setting, carry the potential to turn people’s lives around and allow them to experience the peace of mind everyone inherently deserves.