Mental Health Problems and Psychedelic Drugs: Study Finds No Link

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Some researchers in Norway wondered if individuals who have used psychedelic drugs also have a higher incidence of mental health problems, so they looked into it.

“After adjusting for other risk factors, lifetime use of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline or peyote, or past year use of LSD was not associated with a higher rate of mental health problems or receiving mental health treatment,” said researcher and clinical psychologist Pal-Orjan Johansen.

Johansen and researcher Teri Krebs also found some significant correlations between having fewer mental health issues and the use of psychedelics.

“We cannot exclude the possibility that use of psychedelics might have a negative effect on mental health for some individuals or groups, perhaps counterbalanced at a population level by a positive effect on mental health in others,” the researchers wrote.

The Evidence

The researchers are from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Dept. of Neuroscience. They analyzed data from a 2001-04 U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This survey questioned individuals about mental health symptoms and treatment over the past year including psychological distress, mood disorders, anxiety disorders and psychosis.

Krebs and Johansen point out that other studies looking into the social and health effects of those who have frequently used psychedelics in legally-sanctioned religious ceremonies have found no evidence of mental health problems either.

Psychedelics vs. Recreational Drugs

Despite the many warnings that have been issued about the use of psychedelics over the past five or six decades, these drugs are not associated with addiction or compulsive use, and there is no evidence they harm the brain.

However, with any substance there is potential for adverse effects, and no one is recommending people jump on a psychedelic bandwagon and start “tripping.” Psychedelics can cause temporary sensations of confusion and anxiety and may lead to accidental injury, though rarely.

What the researchers want others to realize is that early reports of psychedelics leading to mental illness were based on a limited number of reports viewed without regard to the widespread use of psychedelics and the prevalence of mental illness in the general population.

The Power of New Vistas

Some individuals have significant beneficial life-changing experiences using psychedelics because their usual perceptions are way-laid by alternative ones. When we see things differently, when old avenues of thought are disrupted by new ones, change can occur.

We can also look at things differently without the use of psychedelics. Our mental vistas can shift through the rub of everyday experiences, during therapy, by quieting the mind, by reading, and by allowing ourselves to look at things from different perspectives.

Source: Science Daily

 
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