“It was a whole personality shift for me. I wasn’t any longer attached to my performance and trying to control things. I could see that the really good things in life will happen if you just show up and share your natural enthusiasms with people. You have a feeling of attunement with other people.”
– Dr. Clark Martin reporting on his experience with psilocybin to treat depression
When depression hits, people become a shadow of their highest potential, and when depression becomes chronic, people often turn to destructive coping behaviors and prescription drugs of dubious effectiveness that have dangers all their own. Thankfully, new research is showing that psychedelic therapy using substances like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms can be enormously helpful to people with mood disorders like depression, with many patients reporting lifelong positive changes to their outlook on life.
Good News for a Seriously Bad Illness
Depression is rightfully considered a serious illness, but our traditional treatment methods with antidepressant drugs have a spotty track record in combatting it. A recent National Institute of Mental Health study illustrated that less than half of people on antidepressants claimed that their symptoms were cured, and that even among those who do respond well to medication, people often slip back into depression despite continued use of antidepressant drugs.
Keep in mind that reliance on powerful antidepressant drugs is a serious matter. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that prescription drug overdoses account for more deaths than overdoses on street drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth combined. So while the established medical system sees psychedelic treatment as somewhat radical, it’s important to understand that substances like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms are dramatically safer and often much more effective than prescription antidepressants when used properly. This is great news for those that suffer from depression and are not interested in turning to or continuing on prescription drugs.
The Power of Psychedelic Treatment
The core of depression is being out of alignment with our true nature, not following our calling, making too many compromises, and feeling trapped in our current life situation. Antidepressant drugs only temporarily numb this pain, and do nothing to address the heart of depression. Psychedelic treatment, on the other hand, has some big advantages over traditional treatment methods. The vast majority of the time, psychedelic therapy is done with just 1 or 2 doses of the substance, rather than a regiment of continued use. Psychedelic journeys are so powerful that people report lifelong positive effects from just a single experience, with lasting benefits to their mood and sense of wellbeing. Scientists are still trying to define exactly how psychedelics are able to accomplish this, but the immediacy and uniqueness of a psychedelic experience is hard to quantify. What they do know from decades of research and clinical trials is that they do work, even if we don’t know exactly how.
Where prescription antidepressants and traditional treatment methods for depression often only focus on subduing the symptoms of depression, psychedelics have a remarkable and unparalleled ability to holistically transform a person. A Johns Hopkins University study that looked into the effectiveness of psilocybin mushrooms found that even 14 months after the treatment, 94% of the 18 adults that took mushrooms in the trial claimed that their trips were among the top 5 most meaningful experiences of their lives, with 39% saying it was the single most important experience. Friends, coworkers, and family members of the subjects also reported that after treatment, they noticed they were calmer, happier, and kinder. Compare those benefits with the side effects of traditional antidepressants like Zoloft and Prozac and you can see why more research and adoption of psychedelic therapy is an exciting and hopeful prospect for depression sufferers. Psychedelic therapy for depression is faster, safer, longer lasting, and more holistically effective.