Currently on the market today, there is a huge variety of anti-depressant medications from Abilify to Etafron to Lexapro to Paxil to Symbyax to Zoloft and everything in between. What does that tell us about our society today as a whole? The rate of anti-depressant use in America among teens and adults (people 12 and older) has increased by almost 400% between 1988-1994 and 2005-2008. This is insane!
According to the World Health Organization depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide. One has to wonder, are there that many people that are so unhappy that they need to rely on these medications to make them feel better?
Some of the more common side effects from taking anti-depressant medication include: nausea, increased appetite and weight gain, loss of sexual desire, fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, dizziness, agitation, irritability, anxiety -with many brands even warning that they may increase thoughts of suicide, especially in those under 25.
Now, some of these side effects are some of the main symptoms of depression in the first place, so one has to wonder, how exactly are these medications supposed to help the issue? The problem is, these medications only serve to mask the issue, without ever getting to the root cause. If depression is truly a mental health disorder, than surely a prescription drug alone will do little to cure the diagnosis.
Alternative Treatment Options
Fortunately there are some amazing new studies emerging that are delving into the amazing healing potential of psychedelics for medicinal use and treatments for mental health issues such as depression. Here are 3 psychedelics proven to potentially help treat depression:
LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamid, aka Acid)
A Swiss chemist, Dr. Albert Hoffman in 1938, first synthesized LSD. It wasn’t until 1943 however, due to accidental exposure, that he realized what he had created. Up until the 1960’s LSD-assisted psychotherapy was the subject for the publication of over 1000 scholarly articles, until the drug was banned in the 1960’s. Many of these studies focused specifically on the use of LSD for treatment of ailments such as: depression, anxiety and even alcoholism.
During the time that the drug was being banned, there was a lot of anti-drug propaganda designed to create fear around the use of LSD. It wasn’t uncommon to see articles in magazines about people who “jumped off of buildings” while under the influence, or people who would have terrifying “flashbacks.” The establishment was losing the grip of conformity that was easily maintained in the 50’s, they were threatened by the counter culture that was arising, and mostly the drugs ability to bring a sense of oneness and peace to the users, which ended up losing a lot of support for the Vietnam War.
In April of this year, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease published its results from the first study of LSD’s therapeutic potential for humans, that has appeared in more than 40 years. The controlled double blind study was conducted in Switzerland under the direction of psychiatrist Peter Gasser and measured the impact of LSD assisted psychotherapy on 12 people with life threatening diseases such as terminal cancer. According to Gasser, “The study was a success in the sense that we did not have any noteworthy adverse effects, all participants reported a personal benefit from the treatment, and the effects were stable over time.”
Psilocybin (Aka Magic Mushrooms)
David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology (who leads the Imperial College team) says, “We know that a number of mental illnesses, such as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and depression are associated with excessive connectivity of the brain, and the default mode network becomes over-connected.” Nutt states that the over connectivity causes people who are depressed to become locked into rumination and concentrate excessively on negative thoughts about themselves and their lives. He goes on to say that, “By disrupting that network (with psilocybin) you can liberate them from those depressive symptoms by showing them it’s possible to escape those thoughts.”
This is pretty incredible, I can attest to these benefits of psilocybin as I have experienced some of these benefits first hand after suffering from mild to moderate depression for a few years of my life. Although, everyone is different and not everyone is guaranteed the same results.
Ayahuasca (Aka The Vine of the Soul)
Ayahuasca is a medicinal tea prepared from Banisteriopsis Caapi, a jungle vine that is found in the tropical regions of South America and is often combined with other plants such as Chacruna, and/or Psychotria Viridis. It has been used for centuries by ancient shamans to treat a wide variety of mental and physical disorders in South American countries like Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and Columbia. It has recently become very popular in North America and Europe.
Although, it is tough to find an actual clinical study on the amazing benefits of ayahuasca, the medicine speaks for itself. There are countless testimonies and positive reviews from people who have tried the medicine first hand and experienced relief from such ailments as post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, addiction, depression and many others. Some of the main benefits of ayahuasca and a common thread between users is that it assists the user with letting go of past traumas, and seeing themselves and their lives objectively so that they can begin to make the positive changes that are needed. Many users experience a connection with their soul and discover more of their purpose.
Click here to read more about ayahuasca.
All three of these alternative treatment options pose extremely minimal (if any) health concerns -unlike the pharmaceutical medications that are so often prescribed by health care professionals. Is there a reason these psychedelics are illegal in the first place?
Although there has been amazing success with some of the alternative methods listed below, they are not recommended for just anyone and are not a toy. The more awareness that is raised about the potential benefits of these drugs, the more of a chance they will become legal for medicinal purposes. Many people who perform these studies strongly advise those who wish to take part do so under the supervision of qualified practitioners.
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