Magic Mushroom Therapy for Coping With Grief and Loss
Psychedelics, also known as hallucinogens, are a type of psychoactive chemical that has the ability to alter perception, mood, and cognitive processes. The most popular psychedelics include ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, and LSD.
Indigenous cultures have long employed these substances for spiritual and therapeutic purposes, and more recently, the possibility that they may be used to treat a range of mental health issues has reignited interest in the fields of psychology and neuroscience.
One area where psychedelics like magic mushrooms have shown tremendous promise is in the treatment of grief and loss.
Grief and loss are common human experiences that touch everyone at some point in their lives. Grief can be a difficult and overpowering emotional experience, whether it is brought on by the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or a way of life.
It may cause us to feel disoriented, perplexed, and cut off from our surroundings. While there is no simple way to deal with grief and loss, research points to psychedelics like magic mushrooms as a unique and perhaps even beneficial strategy for recovering from loss, healing, and finding purpose in life again.
By offering a fresh perspective and a sense of connection to something bigger than oneself, magic mushrooms are a potent tool that work by digging up and uncovering the true underlying issues we store inside of ourselves and bringing them out to the light for healing and transmutation.
What Research Has Been Done?
Depression and anxiety are typical responses to grief and loss, and those who have lost a loved one may have these symptoms for a long time.
Traditional therapies like counseling and antidepressants may be successful for certain patients, but they might not be for everyone. The possibility of experiencing symptom relief for people who do not find relief from these treatments can be both upsetting and disheartening.
According to research results from 2018 that were published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, psilocybin may be an effective alternative therapy for those with depression who are resistant to other forms of treatment.
The goal of the study, which was directed by Carhart-Harris, RL, and colleagues, was to examine any possible advantages of psilocybin for people with depression who are resistant to therapy. Twelve people with treatment-resistant depression participated in a small, open-label feasibility trial that was carried out by researchers.
The study’s findings were startling. Following ingesting psilocybin, the subjects’ depressive and agitation symptoms significantly decreased, and these effects lasted for several weeks after the treatment.
Overall, the study’s participants said they felt more upbeat and hopeful after taking psilocybin, and many said they felt a sense of personal progress and self-discovery—both of which are essential for integrating a newfound relationship to the outside world and to ourselves as we go through grief.
More recently, a proof-of-concept study on the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy for the treatment of alcohol addiction was carried out in 2015 by a group of researchers at the University of New Mexico. Ten individuals, 10 of whom were male and 10 of whom were female, were enrolled in the study. All had been diagnosed with active alcohol dependence and expressed concern about their drinking (alcoholism is common when dealing with grief and loss in many individuals).
The percentage of days with heavy drinking and the overall percentage of drinking days both considerably reduced after the psilocybin sessions, and these decreases in alcohol use remained for several months after the therapy, according to the results. At various stages after the psilocybin sessions, the study also discovered significant improvements in other measures, including drinking consequences, appetite, self-efficacy, and motivation.
Overall, the findings point to psilocybin-assisted therapy as a potential treatment for those who are battling with alcoholism. Participants also mentioned having mystical or spiritual experiences while receiving treatment, which is a crucial component of 12-step recovery programs that promote faith in a higher power.
In a 2016 study, Griffiths, RR and colleagues performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 51 cancer patients whose conditions were life-threatening and who had major anxiety and depressive symptoms.
In a controlled and supportive atmosphere, the individuals got either a high dose of psilocybin or a low placebo-like dose in combination with psychotherapy. Using standardized assessment methods, the researchers then compared the patients’ anxiety and depressive symptoms before and after the treatment.
Psilocybin was shown to be generally beneficial in lowering participants’ symptoms of anxiety and depression, with a high proportion of those in the high-dose group exhibiting clinical improvement and symptom remission at six months.
Additionally, the research revealed that psilocybin raised optimism, life purpose, and quality of life while decreasing anxiety about dying. Positive views toward mortality, life’s significance, and coherence, as well as decreases in negative affect, were among the other notable changes that were seen.
People going through grief and loss frequently have a sense of disconnection from both themselves and the outside world. Feelings of loneliness, isolation, and a sense that one’s life no longer has any value or purpose might result from this. If left untreated, it can lead to thoughts of suicide and/or self-harm in many people, so it’s of the utmost importance to seek out other forms of treatment if conventional methods aren’t working for you or someone you know.
It has been demonstrated that psychedelics like magic mushrooms increase openness and a sense of connection to the universe, both of which can be helpful for people going through the loss of a loved one. Giving those who are mourning a fresh perspective on their loss is one of the main ways that psychedelics can be of use to them. Sometimes we just need to get outside of our own heads for a moment to be able to see other perspectives, and magic mushrooms help with that.