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Not Your Parent's Trip: Psychedelics Are Part A New Practice To Treating Anxiety And Depression

Not Your Parent's Trip: Psychedelics Are Part of a New Practice for Treating Anxiety and Depression

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Aug. 31 2022, Published 8:06 p.m. ET

“We believe in psychedelics as a path to healing. But healing itself is mind, body, soul—it’s everything already inside of you that just needs to be more connected," says Dr. Julie Holland, author of Good Chemistry and Moody Bitches.

In a previous presentation, she explained, “A psychedelic is anything physical that manifests in the mind. MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy or molly? That’s a psychedelic.” And, although it's not chemical, Dr. Holland also considers meditation a form of psychedelics. Other forms include LSD, "magic" mushrooms, some strains of cannabis, and ketamine.

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Please note that this article here is strictly to inform you about a new mental health practice. Consult with your doctor before potentially considering psychedelics as a treatment.

Breakdowns To Make Breakthroughs

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Dr. Gita Vaid, a member of Mount Sinai’s Psychedelic Psychotherapy Research and Trauma Center, stated, "Psychedelics can release the brain from a fear-based pattern. They don't just confront the symptom: they get behind the symptom."

A press release about the integration of psychedelics into mental health therapies also states, "Psychedelics present a new potential path to relief for patients who continue to struggle with mental health conditions despite conventional therapies."

The press release later on reads, "Preliminary research shows that treatment with classical psychedelic compounds, such as psilocybin, LSD and DMT, the entactogen MDMA, and the dissociative ketamine, can be effective in treating certain mental health disorders including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD), when used in controlled clinical settings under the supervision of trained professionals."

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But how exactly is this possible?

Well, for the scientific explanation, the compounds within psychedelics enhance neuroplasticity - the brain's ability to modify, change, and adapt both structure and function throughout light and in response to experience (by definition.) This gives psychedelics the ability to "rewire the brain," Dr. Holland explained. Elle refers to it as a "chemical shortcut to your 'inner child.'" because "natural neuroplasticity is greatest in infancy and childhood when attachment patterns are set with caregivers and the wider world."

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Dr. Vaid reports, "Sometimes even one session can lessen depression," following some breakdowns that lead to breakthroughs. She explained, "because your brain is finally letting go of the fear that’s blocking you from fully participating in the world.”

Grant Jones, a Harvard Graduate student in the Department of Psychology, led a study which hypothesized "that psilocybin can suppress the brain’s chemical reaction of serotonin and dopamine, which have been previously linked to addiction. The spiritual experience often associated with use of psychedelics may also be a factor in helping treat addiction."

And, the study concluded that "30 percent less opioid dependence among magic mushroom users."

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But once again, in case you read past me earlier, consult with a doctor before potentially considering psychedelics as a treatment.

Make Sure It's Fitting For You

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Now, receiving this type of treatment isn't as easy (or cheap) as walking into the office of your primary care doctor and requesting other forms of medication. In fact, before getting approved for psychotherapy you will have to go under an extensive medical and psychiatric evaluation. This is to be certain that the drugs will do more good to your system rather than harm.

And, unless you're sitting pretty on top of a few designer bags and satin sheets, you might have to do some saving before beginning your sessions. At this time, the majority of insurance plans do not cover this kind of treatment which means you can be paying around $4500 (per cycle of Ketamine cycle at Nushama, for example.)

It's important to note that psychedelics are not a forever thing but instead an aid for someone on a mental health journey of healing. Along with psychotherapy is necessary and positive lifestyle changes.

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