An Introduction to Psychedelics: 10 ways they can help heal trauma, PTSD, and chronic disease
In the 1950s and 60s, scientists and researchers began performing trials to study the effects and benefits of psychedelic substances. Scientists believed psychedelics had a great deal of potential, but due to political interests and the targeted conditioning that created a social stigma around the use of psychedelics, research soon ground to a halt.
Since the early 2000s, however, psychedelic therapy has experienced a great resurgence around the world by both researchers as well as the public. Scientists are beginning to unlock the potential for psychedelics to treat mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, PTSD, and even neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In addition, psychedelics show great results for boosting mood, helping addiction, and even reducing pain.
And that’s not all. Psychedelics aren’t only capable of assisting people to heal from serious conditions; they are also sought out for their ability to expand our minds, and are also desired by many for spiritual growth. That’s right – these drugs may be able to not only help treat mental health and other physical illnesses and conditions, they can also help communities as a whole around the globe become happier, healthier, and more connected.
Psychedelics have been used by shamans and other ancient healers for thousands of years. Still, they have only recently made their way back into modern societies. Universities and researchers around the globe are finally being allowed to study these substances thanks in large part to the research being done with them at institutions like Johns Hopkins University and NYU. In fact, Johns Hopkins recently received the most extensive grant for the study of psychedelics in 50 years: a nearly 4 million dollar NIH Federal Grant to study the effects of magic mushrooms and talk therapy for quitting smoking. A growing number of researchers and experts are seeing positive outcomes using psychedelics to influence shifts in brain chemistry which is resulting in long-term mental health improvements and the reduction of the damaging physical effects and symptoms of trauma.
Psychedelic therapy is showing incredible promise for a wide range of psychological as well as physical conditions. In fact, there are no less than three MDMA studies being conducted right now for the treatment of PTSD with promising results. Psychedelic therapy is now at the forefront of mental health research. With scientific evidence that these substances are highly effective in treating serious conditions like depression, anxiety, addiction, OCD and PTSD, they’re taking center stage.
In addition to being used to treat trauma sufferers, psychedelics have been shown to make a huge impact on mental health and physical health as well.
Here are 10 ways psychedelics have been shown to be used in the treatment of mental health conditions, addiction and PTSD.
1. Treatment for anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders
Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health concerns in the country today, affecting over 20 million adults. New research has found that psychedelics like LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, can actually change activity in the brain which is linked to positive mood changes. They found that there was increased communication between parts of the brain that don’t normally communicate, leading to an improved sense of well-being.
2. Treating addiction
Psychedelics are showing incredible outcomes when it comes to treating addiction. One study showed that magic mushrooms were able to reduce cravings and anxiety in long-time smokers who had not been able to quit smoking despite other treatments. Another study showed that psychedelics could be helpful for alcohol addiction, and one patient treated with psilocybin reported a year later that he no longer experienced cravings and that he felt better than he had in years.
3. Resolution of PTSD
It’s not just veterans who suffer from PTSD. A study found that nearly 7.8 percent of adults in the United States will experience PTSD at some point in their lifetimes. This means that over 23 million people are currently living with PTSD which is something psychedelic therapy can help to treat. Psychedelic psychotherapy has been found helpful for veterans struggling with PTSD. Researchers believe these substances help to reduce fear and defensiveness allowing patients to overcome their traumatic experiences.
4. Better than antidepressants
Depression is one of the conditions that is most likely to be treated with medication, but researchers are beginning to find psychedelics can actually prove to be more effective. One study found psilocybin mushrooms were more successful in easing anxiety and depression symptoms than SSRIs or other antidepressant medications. This isn’t to say that people should stop their medications, as they can certainly be helpful in combination with psychotherapy.
5. Treating a variety of mental health disorders
The old paradigm of labeling people with mental health disorders and the stigma around that label has finally crumbled. The new paradigm of understanding there are root causes and long term solutions is here, and it’s now available to people all over the world. At Modern Holistic Health, we teach others about the main underlying causes of both mental health disorders and neurodegenerative disease. We also teach about the solutions that are working to reverse these issues. In addition to the causes and solutions we teach, we show studies on the effects of unprocessed emotions and unresolved trauma, and how the resulting fragmentation of the mind, body, and spirit can also be one of the many underlying causes of brain-related disorders. The use of psychedelic assisted therapy is showing amazing results for those who are struggling with brain related disorders that are also tied to trauma, unprocessed emotions, and mind, body, and spirit fragmentation.
6. Treating eating disorders
Psychedelics have been found effective in treating eating disorders, and many who struggle with anorexia, bulimia, or obesity turn to psychedelics to help them overcome their fixation with food, weight, and body image. Patients undergoing this type of treatment report improved mood, better self-esteem and healthier relationships with food after taking these substances.
7. Treatment-resistant depression
Treatment-resistant depression is a difficult disorder to address, as it doesn’t respond to the standard therapies. One study found that ketamine has promising results when addressing treatment-resistant depression. Not only was this medication able to lift patients’ spirits, researchers found it actually changed the physical structure of the brain, resulting in fast-acting antidepressant effects. One of the ancient medicines that is being used to resolve treatment resistant depression is Psilocybin (magic mushrooms). Many studies, including one recent one from John Hopkins University, have shown impressive and lasting results.
8. Busting anxiety
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions, affecting 40 million adults in the United States, and can be difficult to treat. Psychedelic therapy has been found helpful for those struggling with anxiety as it allows patients to face their fears and learn how to cope with them in a non-threatening environment.
9. Fear of death or dying
Many people struggle with anxiety about mortality, the unknown, and what happens after we die. Psychedelic therapy can help ease feelings of existential dread, and while it’s not for everyone, some report feeling more connected to the universe and in tune with their spiritual selves.
10. Ethical treatment for all
One final benefit of psychedelic-assisted therapy, and the reason we should all be talking about it, is that these substances are not addictive, have few if any side effects, there’s no evidence of physiological harm when used in a controlled setting, and they’re generally considered safe. These medications aren’t just for those labeled with severe cases of mental illness; anyone struggling with trauma, addiction, PTSD, anxiety, or depression can benefit from applying psychedelic therapy in their lives.
What are some of these psychedelics being used today, and how do they work?
Psychedelics are psychoactive substances with the ability to change how people feel, think, and behave. They do this by stimulating receptor sites for neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, responsible for regulating mood, perception and sleep.
Psychedelic substances can also help us reconnect with ourselves, others, and the natural world around us. They increase levels of serotonin and other mood-altering chemicals in our brain that foster emotional wellbeing, feelings of personal authenticity, and connection with ourselves, others and the natural world. They encourage openness to new ideas or experiences and promote integration of experiences, leading to greater self-awareness.
Some of the psychedelic substances being used therapeutically today include MDMA, Psilocybin, peyote (mescaline), ayahuasca and DMT, the cactus San Pedro, and LSD. All but LSD have been used in sacred healing and spiritual rites for thousands of years, and now these ancient medicines are also being used by thousands around the world and have made their popular resurgence.
LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) is a psychedelic that first made its introduction in 1938, and with its resurgence is now considered by researchers to be a promising therapeutic tool in the treatment of addicts, those with mild to severe mental health disorders, and those with PTSD. Dr Craig Blinderman, Director of Adult Psychotherapy at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), uses the psychedelic compound LSD in his psychotherapy sessions with patients struggling to overcome issues including cancer, anxiety, and addiction.
Psilocybin and other plant medicines are ancient medicines that have been used for thousands of years and work in similar ways. Many of these plant medicines work in similar ways – they stimulate brain receptors that increase our serotonin levels and other mood-altering chemicals leading to a feeling of euphoric wellbeing, feelings of personal authenticity, connection with ourselves, others, and the natural world around us. Psychedelic therapy is also used to assist people in overcoming spiritual issues such as fears or resistance that can interfere with our normal psychological development.
The paradigm of modern medicine is shifting rapidly towards the treatment of chronic diseases, mental health disorders, unresolved trauma, and unprocessed emotions with psychedelics. This movement has only just begun, and many believe it is here to stay.
Psychedelics are back – they’re changing medicine as we know it and giving people their lives back.