According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were over 1.4 million first-time users of hallucinogens in America in 2020.
Psychedelics are steadily gaining mainstream acceptance. As a therapeutic medicine, they are known to offer several cognitive benefits. In fact, studies have shown that ketamine and psilocybin can be quite effective in treating depression and other mental health disorders. And even as recreational drugs, they are not as harmful as some of the other drugs.
While there are some benefits of using psychedelic therapy, it comes with certain risks too. If you’re considering psychedelic therapy, and wondering if it is the right choice for you, then you’ve come to the right place. In the upcoming sections, we’ll explain when it can be risky and which individuals should avoid taking psychedelics altogether.
Let’s get straight to it.
When are you not eligible for psychedelic therapy?
There are instances when psychedelic therapy can come with harmful after-effects. To make an informed decision, it’s important to understand what factors can make this therapy risky for some individuals.
You should avoid taking psychedelic drugs if you are –
It’s common knowledge that what you consume during pregnancy (and even breastfeeding) goes to the child in the form of nutrients. This helps in the healthy growth and development of the child. While there is not much research that shows the consumption of psychedelics causing birth defects in the child, it’s best to stay away from alcohol and drugs during this time.
If you are immunocompromised or suffering from any pre-existing health conditions, psychedelic therapy can come with some harmful side effects. It can cause vomiting and nausea, and might even lead to an increase in blood pressure.
3. On medication
If you are already on medications like mood stabilizers, SSRIs, or stimulants, it’s important to consult an expert before going into psychedelic therapy. You need to understand if these medicines can interact with psychedelics in a way that could harm your body.
For instance, if you are on antidepressants that alter your serotonin levels, taking psychedelic medicines could impact the same serotonin pathways. And the result would definitely be far from pleasant.
4. Have heart-related issues
If you have a history of heart disease or have had seizures in the past, psychedelic therapy may not be advised. This is because psychedelic medicines often promote tachycardia and hypertension, which can negatively affect a person with a pre-existing heart condition.
A study has found that psychedelic use can also lead to seizures, especially if the individual already suffers from epilepsy.
5. Don’t have proper support for the therapeutic journey
The unique thing about psychedelic therapy is that it can alter a person’s way of thinking and perspective on things. Because you’ll be undergoing these changes in a short period, it’s important to have proper support of people who can help you process them. The support of family and friends during the therapeutic journey helps in ensuring a safe experience.
6. Have undergone trauma
When tragedy hits, it can really shake you and make you feel like you’ve lost your sense of safety in the world. So, when something traumatic, devastating, or life-altering happens, taking psychedelics might not be the best idea. You’ll be dealing with changes both inside and out in life, and adding in a mind-altering substance can get too much to handle. It’s advised to wait for some time to pass before you start with psychedelic therapy.
7. Struggling with substance use disorder
For those dealing with addiction, it’s important to be extra cautious when it comes to using psychedelics. While certain psychedelics have proven to be successful in treating addiction, it’s important to only take them under the supervision of an expert. Some psychedelic drugs, like MDMA, are known to present a higher risk to those struggling with substance abuse.
8. Under 25 years of age
The rational part of our brains is usually not fully developed until we’re 25. While technically, psychedelic therapy is meant for individuals of all ages, the risks are more for people whose brains are not fully developed. If you’re younger, it may be difficult to process the thoughts and feelings that arise during a psychedelic experience.
Although psychedelics have been known to provide individuals with remarkable therapeutic benefits, there are still certain instances when it is not recommended to consume them. When considering psychedelic therapy, it is essential to understand all the potential risks. This article hopefully gives you a fair idea about the instances when it can be risky. Armed with this knowledge, you can now make an informed decision that will ensure a safe experience during psychedelic therapy.