Treating Anxiety with Psychedelics

Many people find their day to day experience of life is filled with anxiety, limiting the activities they do and the enjoyment they have in life. Psychedelics like mushrooms and LSD have been used for decades to treat anxiety disorders and to reduce anxiety levels.

In some cases, these substances seem to directly alleviate feelings of anxiety, even at very small doses (below the level at which they subjectively alter consciousness). For other people, psychedelics help them explore the root causes of their anxieties and fears and find peace with them. And for many people, psychedelics bring them to a place a spiritual peace and openness that can become a new touchstone for letting go of anxiety or learning not to identify with it so strongly.

This description of the process may sound abstract to someone suffering from anxiety day to day, but like talking therapy, the healing process of psychedelics can be a little difficult to convey until you’ve tried it.

Recent clinical research has shown dramatic reductions in anxiety even after a single psychedelic experience with psilocybin mushrooms. Even for patients facing the extreme anxiety of terminal illness, psilocybin allows them to embrace their fate and find peace with their loved ones.

Here’s one woman’s story of being treated with mushrooms as she was facing death, described in a New York Times article (see below):

Norbert Litzinger remembers picking up his wife from the medical center after her first session and seeing that this deeply distressed woman was now “glowing from the inside out.”

Before Pam Sakuda died, she described her psilocybin experience on video: “I felt this lump of emotions welling up . . . almost like an entity,” Sakuda said, as she spoke straight into the camera. “I started to cry. . . . Everything was concentrated and came welling up and then . . . it started to dissipate, and I started to look at it differently. . . . I began to realize that all of this negative fear and guilt was such a hindrance . . . to making the most of and enjoying the healthy time that I’m having.” Sakuda went on to explain that, under the influence of the psilocybin, she came to a very visceral understanding that there was a present, a now, and that it was hers to have.

Two weeks after Sakuda’s psilocybin session, Grob (the researcher) readministered the depression and anxiety assessments. Over all among his subjects, he found that their scores on the anxiety scale at one and three months after treatment “demonstrated a sustained reduction in anxiety,” the researchers wrote in The Archives of General Psychiatry. They also found that their subjects’ scores on the Beck Depression Inventory dropped significantly at the six-month follow-up.

What’s remarkable about the research results from this and many other studies is that even a single dose of a psychedelic substance can create long lasting changes, reducing anxiety, depression, and creating more emotional openness.

LSD, MDMA, and mushrooms have all been studied for anxiety reduction. Remember that a psychedelic experience can sometimes produce anxiety or can focus the mind on sources of anxiety, as part of the process of addressing the root causes. Starting with small doses and following all the safety guidelines can help reduce anxiety.

Articles and Research about Anxiety and Psychedelics

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