- Recent research confirmed the health benefits linked to the use of psychedelics in therapy.
- These hallucinogens are found particularly successful in treating addictions and mood disorders.
Harry, Duke of Sussex, in a new interview about his memoir Spare, credited the use of psychedelics in therapy for giving him a radically different life perspective and helping him deal with mental health issues. He declared the drugs a fundamental part of his life, insisting that “[he] started doing it recreationally and then started to realize how good it was for [him]”.
The royal’s comments on drug use, especially psychedelics, have come under fire, provided that there is scarce research into the health benefits of these otherwise recreational drugs.
What Are Psychedelics?
Psychedelics are a type of hallucinogen that triggers non-ordinary mental states marked by enhanced energy levels, cognitive processes, and sensory perceptions.
These ‘euphoric’ mental states are also known as “psychedelic experiences” and these have been often compared to meditative or mystical experiences and near-death experiences.
Commonly used psychedelics include:
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- Dipropyltryptamine (DMT)
- 2,5-dimethoxy-4-bromophenethylamine (2C-B)
Psychedelics And Mental Health
The use of psychedelics has a scientific and cultural influence, despite being banned in most countries across the globe. The therapeutic use of psychedelics has also been incorporated into social traditions and religious rituals since ancient times, by the virtue of their health benefits.
Modern research claims that their medicinal benefits lie in treating inflammatory diseases like cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and diabetes. Besides, they are heavily used recreationally.
In recent times, “psychedelic micro-dosing” is a term used to describe the practice of using sub-threshold or harmless doses of psychedelics to improve creativity, emotional functioning, and energy levels.
While generally not addictive, consuming large or inappropriate doses of certain psychedelics like LSD can cause tolerance, dependence, and other addictive symptoms. Using psychedelics on a daily basis also poses certain risks, such as:
- Impaired motor control
- Psychosis-like symptoms
- Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD)
- Serotonin syndrome (SS)
- Seizures and extensive muscle breakdown
- Coronary symptoms, etc.
Psychedelics In Mental Health Care
Recent studies have affirmed that the use of psychedelics may improve mental health. Since the 1970s, psychedelic therapy has been in vogue, making use of the drugs to treat mental health conditions like:
- Mood disorders, such as depression
- Chronic stress, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Nicotine addiction
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Migraines and headache disorders
The drugs have further shown promise as psychoplastogens, promoting neurite growth (or repairing degraded neurons in the brain) and neuroplasticity. Because of their usefulness, the scientific community is looking for ways to include psychedelics in medically-supervised conventional psychiatric medications in the near future.
Health Tips For The Use Of Psychedelics In Therapy
Notwithstanding the effectiveness of psychedelics for depression and anxiety treatment, the drugs are limited by their exclusivity.
For instance, the therapeutic use of psychedelics is contraindicated for people who are pregnant or have a history of cardiovascular diseases and psychotic illness. Therefore, a cautioned use of the drugs should be undertaken and such use should be properly monitored to reap their benefits.
Most importantly, as psychedelics carry addictive properties, a person using the drugs—should he/she experience any physical or psychological symptoms—must seek professional help to address the long-term negative consequences of their uses.