Psychotropic drugs like LSD and South American ayahuasca induce an altered state of consciousness that allows users to access previously unconscious knowledge and release any negative thought patterns they’re holding on to.
These changes appear to help break free from depression and PTSD patterns, according to studies. They may even reduce symptoms of anxiety.
1. Psychedelics allow people to explore their inner world
Psychedelic drugs like LSD and psilocybin bind to serotonin receptors in the brain – which regulate “feel good” neurotransmitters such as serotonin – to produce mystical experiences; two studies of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy found that such drugs reduced depression symptoms significantly.
Neuroplasticity allows neurons to create dendrites resembling tree branches and increase communication among them, helping patients revisit traumatic or anxiety-inducing memories in a fresh light.
Researchers are also investigating whether psychedelics can aid people in dealing with complex problems like the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Leor Roseman from Imperial’s Centre for Psychedelic Research has been studying whether Ayahuasca ceremonies, in which participants share a potent plant brew, can bring groups together. Her experience suggests personal psychedelic experiences can alter people’s outlooks; group sessions could foster empathy between members which could then contribute to lasting peace – but more research must still take place before making definitive claims either way.
2. They help people deal with trauma
Psychotropic drugs have once more made headlines for their potential to help people heal from trauma. A recent study demonstrated how these substances could reopen critical periods for learning which tend to close off with age.
Psychopharmaceutical-assisted psychotherapy offers patients an alternative method for experiencing trauma and processing it in ways that lead to long-term healing. Furthermore, this form of therapy can increase neuroplasticity – helping the brain repair damage from long-term stress or anxiety.
Psychedelic drugs such as MDMA and psilocybin (found in mushrooms known as magic mushrooms) are currently undergoing clinical trials to treat depression and PTSD, under careful supervision from therapists. Since these substances remain Schedule I drugs with high potential for abuse, careful supervision from therapists must also be maintained – unlike Ketamine which has already been approved for medical use in the U.S.
3. They can help people develop empathy
One of the most fascinating benefits of psychedelics is their potential to increase empathy. Empathy is a fundamental aspect of moral behavior, helping individuals better comprehend and connect with one another.
Researchers conducted this research by having participants complete tests of creativity (convergent thinking and divergent thinking), empathy, and satisfaction with life before taking psilocybin, immediately post-use morning, and seven days after consumption. Psilocybin significantly enhanced divergent thinking and emotional empathy immediately post use morning; its benefits continued throughout seven days post use despite any effects such as visual inaccuracy or hallucinations associated with visual hallucinations effects of the drug.
These findings indicate that psychedelics could help people develop greater empathy, which could benefit a variety of mental health conditions. If combined with psychotherapy sessions as “psychedelic-assisted therapy”, such treatments could become available; an example being seen already in the US where ketamine, an analogous compound to MDMA, has been combined with therapy to treat depression.
4. They can help people connect with others
Psychedelics such as classic hallucinogens psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms), LSD and MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (ecstasy)), can alter how neurons communicate between themselves. This has been found to reset your “neuroplastic state,” helping your brain create new connections or alter old ones more readily than before – which researchers have demonstrated.
Studies on humans have shown that psilocybin and dissociative psychedelics like ketamine can effectively treat depressive symptoms by increasing serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter), similar to how established antidepressants work. Furthermore, these drugs create mystical experiences which enable users to better visualize how everything connects or their version of God, providing tremendous healing benefits for those dealing with mental health conditions.
Though these drugs offer promising results, many scientists advise caution when administering them in clinical settings or with a therapist. This process, known as psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (PAP), involves preparatory sessions, dosing sessions, and integration therapy in order to interpret any insights gained during an experience and make long-term changes based upon it.