When it comes to treating trauma, it’s likely that you think of therapy, and maybe even specific treatments like EMDR. But what about other methods, namely, medications?
Sure, you can take antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or even antipsychotics to help manage some symptoms. But are there other things you can take that will help? Medical marijuana is one that comes to mind for many, but today we are talking about psychedelics.
Medication and Mental Health
In treating trauma and PTSD, some studies show antidepressants can be largely ineffective in people who have experienced multiple traumas over time or who have chronic PTSD. Antipsychotics were also shown to be ineffective in some studies as well. Additionally, some of these drugs can cause unpleasant side effects on top of persisting symptoms.
This led researchers to look at other options for treating trauma and PTSD.
What Are Psychedelics?
When we talk about psychedelics, we aren’t necessarily talking about what people took for fun at Woodstock. While psychedelics are known to induce hallucinations, instead, we are looking at how they may help stimulate nerve cell regrowth in the brain.
Psychedelics can help increase the successfulness of other traditional treatment methods when combined with therapy, etc.
They can help a person suffering from trauma or PTSD find meaningful experiences when taken, make them more suggestible to positive changes posed by a therapist, and help change the brain’s chemical behavior for improved mood.
Psilocybin as Trauma Treatment
One prime psychedelic that showed potential in treating trauma is psilocybin. This is the compound typically found in “magic mushrooms”. However, when taken carefully in the right amount, psilocybin has been shown in studies to promote neurogenesis, a.k.a. the growth and repair of brain cells in the hippocampus.
This is important because the hippocampus is the brain’s center for emotion and memory. It plays a big role in how we process trauma. And psilocybin is believed to help break the traumatic cycle that occurs in trauma and PTSD patients.
What Studies Show
In initial mice studies, subjects given psilocybin were able to overcome fear conditioning much better than those who didn’t receive the psychedelic. When it came to human studies, terminal cancer patients who received psilocybin as treatment reported their overall quality of life improved.
Not only did they feel less distress about their circumstances, but they felt they had more energy and desire to engage in outside activities. They also reported improvements in their relationships and work performance. Scientists concluded that if psilocybin could have such a great effect on terminally ill patients, it could also be useful for other psychologically distressing circumstances, namely trauma and PTSD.
Additionally, it’s important to note that psilocybin is not chemically addictive like, say, nicotine. This means your cells won’t get addicted to it or need it for bodily functions as a result. As such, psilocybin is not known to have any strong negative effects.
Things to Keep in Mind
As with taking anything as treatment, there are risks. With psilocybin, there is the question of having a “bad trip”. This is why it’s important to work with a professional in treating your trauma with psychedelics. They will be able to help you find the right dosage that works comfortably for you.
With psilocybin, many agree that the good far outweighs the bad.
When it comes to alternative methods for treating trauma and PTSD, psychedelics may be a viable option for those who have struggled to find relief with traditional methods and medications alone. Living with the effects of trauma doesn’t have to be permanent. You can cultivate a better and outlook and more peaceful future for yourself.
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