Psychedelic substances are psychoactive drugs, typically from plants or fungi that have been eaten, smoked and even injected to induce an altered state of consciousness.
One of the most popular psychedelic substances is LSD .
Today, these drugs are still widely used by many people seeking spiritual healing or just to explore the mind more fully.
These drugs have powerful effects on brain chemistry and consciousness and often induce a profound sense of euphoria in their users.
Types of psychedelics
The most popular psychedelic drugs are LSD, DMT and psilocybin.
LSD is a synthetic substance that is chemically related to the hormone LSD-25. LSD is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that acts as a direct agonist at serotonin receptors in the brain. No supplement or prescription drug can produce similar effects to LSD, but many people have reported similar effects while on other psychedelics like psilocybin and DMT
DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, is a potent psychedelic drug found in certain plants and fungi. When smoked or injected, it causes rapid physical and mental effects that last only a few minutes.
DMT is a direct agonist at serotonin receptors in the brain, and it is also found in trace amounts in the brain where it may play a role in normal brain functioning.
Psilocybin, or psilocine, is the primary psychoactive substance found in psilocybe mushrooms. Along with DMT, it is one of the most commonly used psychedelic drugs.
Psilocybin is the active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms.’ It’s chemical makeup is similar to tryptamine. It’s sold as dried or fresh mushrooms, or as a pressed tablet.
Most people can experience psychedelic effects from just one dose, though sometimes multiple doses are needed for full effects.
What To Know About Psychedelics and Counseling
Psychedelics have sparked controversy in recent years as they raise interest in the use of drugs to treat mental disorders and even to improve cognitive functioning.
Counseling is an essential part of the healing process and to prevent any further damage from happening. A trained professional can help guide you through the negative effects of taking psychedelics and alleviate any fears or anxieties you may experience.
In a study published by the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Dr. Peter Gasser, a psychiatrist in Solothurn, Switzerland, evaluated the effects of psilocybin on 12 people with anxiety related to life-threatening diseases.
“Very intense and very long-lasting positive changes of mood and attitude can occur but also some confusion,” he said. “Patients went through so-called fear periods before they reached the mystical or spiritual core experience. The mystical experience is a peak experience and very strong.”
Psychedelics alter reality on a fundamental level; trusting them means radically altering your perception of reality.
The psychedelic experiences can be unpredictable, but some people report positive outcomes.
How Psychedelics are Helping People Heal
There are many different uses of psychedelic drugs. Some people use them to reduce depression and anxiety, others use them to help with the healing process.
While psychedelics may be used in therapy to help with PTSD, alcoholism and other issues, they cannot be prescribed as a legal drug in the United States.
Many research studies have shown that psychedelics have the potential to help people with a wide variety of mental health issues including:
Enhancing Psychotherapy Treatment for PTSD
Researchers found that psilocybin was able to alleviate end-of-life anxiety and depression in patients with advanced cancer.
Enhancing Psychotherapy Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
A pilot study examined 25 alcoholics and found that 13 of them quit drinking alcohol altogether with no relapse 2 years later. Another study showed that the psychedelic significantly reduced the amount of drinks each patient consumed.
The most common results from psychedelic use have been a sense of increased self-confidence, decreased depression, increased happiness and increased spirituality.
Effects of psychedelics in therapy
Some people seeking counseling may have hope that a psychedelic substance will help them move forward in a positive way. After the substance has taken hold, the following effects take place:
Increase in bodily sensations
The effects of the psychedelic can be felt for an entire week, but most effects peak within a few hours. During this time, users experience intense body sensations and may sweat or shiver profusely.
Increased Appetite and Weight Gain
Many people experience acute hunger during and after their psychedelic experiences. This is due to the release of the neurochemicals in the brain, including norepinephrine and dopamine. Increased appetite is often apparent as weight gain.
Some people may experience insomnia as a result of their psychedelic drug use. Symptoms include problems falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up early in the morning.
Altered Mental States
Though some people experience an incredible amount of anxiety during these experiences, it is important to note that many others report enhanced states of mind.
The psychedelic experience is so powerful that it may leave people completely overwhelmed with awe or with experiences of self-discovery or spiritual connection. In these cases, what comes up for them may be difficult for them to deal with.
In conclusion, psychedelics are a powerful substance that can be used for both therapeutic and recreational reasons. Studies show that they may help with mental health issues, but psychedelics should always be taken under the supervision of a licensed therapist.