What Is Psychedelic Therapy?

Psychedelic therapy, also known as psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy or PAP, is a type of psychiatric therapy that uses psychedelic drugs as part of the psychotherapy process. During psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, the use of psychedelic substances is combined with talk therapy. Between the 1950s and 1970s, before the U.S. Controlled Substances Act banned these classic psychedelics, some research showed evidence of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic therapy to treat:

  • Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse and addiction

These substances were made illegal after they entered the mainstream in the 1960s. However, there has been a recent resurgence in the use of psychedelic substances and hallucinogenic drugs being used and researched for some mental health conditions and terminal illnesses aid both in clinical and nonclinical research on psychedelic settings.

To be clear, psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD, and MDMA, are currently classed as Schedule I drugs. This means they are illegal and not recognized as having any medical uses. These drugs have a high potential for abuse and carry significant legal repercussions for possession. It would help if you did not attempt to obtain or use these drugs on your own.

Anyone struggling with psychedelic drug abuse or addiction should seek help, and WhiteSands can provide effective treatment. For people with treatment-resistant depression or PTSD, medically sanctioned Ketamine therapy at WhiteSands is a safe and legal option for psychedelic therapy that may benefit you. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at (877) 640-7820 to learn how we can help.

What Drugs Are Used in Psychedelic Therapy?

Since the 1990s, there has been a renewed interest in psychedelic research with the following psychedelic substances:

  • Ketamine Therapy
  • MDMA Assisted Therapy
  • Psilocybin Assisted Therapy, aka “Magic Mushrooms”
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide LSD Therapy

WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab is a leading addiction treatment center offering Ketamine Therapy for treatment-resistant depression and substance use disorder. Ketamine therapy is a legal, medical option when administered under the supervision of a medical doctor. 

Ketamine therapy differs from therapy with other psychedelic drugs in several ways, including: 

  • Ketamine therapy produces a much milder and gentle experience than “traditional” psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin, or MDMA
  • While other psychedelic drugs temporarily but completely override certain aspects of the brain, Ketamine merely relaxes them.
  • Ketamine therapy participants report a familiar dream-like feeling that is not separate from their normal reality.
  • Ketamine therapy does not induce powerfully challenging emotions and thoughts like other psychedelics sometimes can

Psychedelic Therapy for PTSD

People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience substance abuse, suicide, anxiety, and depression at a higher rate than the general population. Current conventional therapeutic effects are only effective in about half of patients. Studies have shown that about two-thirds of subjects who enrolled in psychedelic-assisted therapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder no longer met the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder after two treatments. Several people have reported a massive improvement in their major depression symptoms after just a single dose.

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The Biden Administration’s Plans to Legalize Psychedelic Therapy

President Biden’s Administration is anticipating the regulation of MDMA-assisted therapy and psilocybin-assisted therapy within the next two years. After being demonized for decades, the mental health disorder and drug misuse crisis call for exploring psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in treating PTSD and major depression. There would be guidelines that assist states in addressing the complex regulatory, clinic, and public policy necessary for deploying MDMA-assisted therapy and psilocybin-assisted therapy.

Will Psychedelic Therapy Work for Everyone?

While some people have shown a significant improvement in their mental health conditions even after a single dose, studies have shown about one-third of people with mental health conditions do not respond to psychedelic therapy. Scientists are not sure why some people react to psychedelic treatment differently. However, research suggests genetic variations in serotonin receptors may be a factor. Other factors that may play a role in whether psychedelic therapy works include how well the person engages in psychotherapy, their ability to be compassionate towards themselves, and how severe and early their trauma started. Just as symptoms of various mental illnesses present differently in each person, people may respond differently to psychedelic medicines differently as well.

Risks of Psychedelic Therapy to Be Aware Of

Experts have raised concern about using self-medication hallucinogenic drugs, especially from a 2020 Global Drug Survey that says several people are self-treating their mental illness with psychedelic drugs on their own. 

People should not attempt to self-administer psychedelic therapy. There is an increased risk of psychosis in people with psychotic disorders and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), especially in Lysergic Acid Diethylamide LSD. This rare condition involves intense hallucinations and flashbacks but is more common when using a hallucinogenic drug without medical supervision. MDMA and psilocybin therapy (magic mushrooms) sometimes have a short-term increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature, but they typically go away after use.

Additionally, these substances are currently illegal and carry significant legal consequences for possession. The negative repercussions of legal action from purchasing or possessing illegal drugs can last a lifetime and far outweigh any benefits.

For these reasons, Ketamine therapy administered as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for mental health and substance use disorders remains the safest and most effective option. WhiteSands’ ketamine therapy is conducted by medical professionals who can determine who is and is not a good candidate for the treatment. Ketamine at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab is administered in a safe and comfortable setting under continuous medical and therapeutic supervision. 

While there are promising advantages to psychedelic therapy in treating mental illness and substance use disorders, especially in treatment-resistant depression, it is not widely available. WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab is proud to be at the forefront of this promising new approach to mental health and substance use disorders. To learn more, contact us today. 

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.