Antidepressants and other traditional medicines for mental health issues, such as chronic anxiety, depression, and PTSD, often take a little while to kick in. They usually work only as long as the dose lasts, which is why some people either have a hard time after getting off the medication, or they continue to take it for life. Research on psychedelic therapy, however, suggests that even a single dose can lead to significant improvement in one's condition.
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Psychedelic therapy uses plant compounds that can bring about hallucinations in those who take them. LSD and Psilocybin are common examples, the latter found in what people call "magic" mushrooms. Currently, psychedelic treatment is only experimental, hence accessible mainly through clinical trials. Psychedelic therapy can be prescribed as a standalone measure, but it's usually combined with other, more traditional treatments, known as drug-assisted therapy. The two other forms of psychedelic therapy are: guided therapy, where a person may guide someone through the psychedelic high, and standalone psychedelics.
Researchers are still trying to understand the exact way in which psychedelics work. Potentially, mystical or psychedelic experiences may lead to a shift in a person's mindset, causing them to think and act differently. There are also reports of increased suggestibility, so therapists sometimes guide people with psychedelics, giving them positive suggestions. The benefits of psychedelics might also arise from changes in neurotransmitters caused by their constant intake.
Psychedelics can improve conditions and generally help with various problems. Chronic and terminal illnesses often bring with them existential dread and anxiety, which can be eased by psychedelics. They may also reduce the symptoms of dread and anxiety in people who don't face fatal diseases. Hallucinogenic Drugs and their effects can help with PTSD, as they can help ease the effects of trauma. However, the current research on this is limited and has shown mixed results.
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Addiction and its symptoms may be relieved to some extent by the use of psychedelic substances. Addiction and other mental health symptoms often accompany one another, which might explain the benefits. The mystic and psychedelic experiences that have been mentioned earlier may also help people shift one's body image away from unhealthy thoughts, and can thus potentially ease symptoms of eating disorders.
Psychedelic drugs can lead to psychosis, certain fear-inducing hallucinations, and even increased heart rate and blood pressure. But, reports suggest that despite these risks, there are few to no negative effects of psychedelic therapy. As more research is conducted, psychedelic therapy may find its ground in mainstream medication, and could consequently become more accessible.