Depression and Hallucinogens

Depression and HallucinogensAccording to the National Institute of Health (NIH), depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or longer.

Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of depression can include the following problems:

  • Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
  • Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate and guilt
  • Becoming withdrawn or isolated
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
  • Anger and discouragement rather than feelings of sadness
  • Hallucinations and delusions

What Are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens distort the way you perceive reality by disrupting how your nerves interact throughout the brain and spinal cord. By changing the normal structure of serotonin, hallucinogens twist and alter the way your brain processes your senses, feelings and visual information, which causes you to see, feel and hear things that don’t exist. In addition, hallucinogens cause intense mood swings and make it hard to communicate or think clearly. They disturb normal brain function, therefore they put you at risk of developing long-lasting psychosis or mental disorders.

Depression and Hallucinogens

In a report from July 20, 2010, Johns Hopkins discussed research on using hallucinogens to treat depression and anxiety. While hallucinogens were the topic of much research in the 1960s, they were banned in the ’70s and ’80s after their recreational use became a widespread problem. In 1990, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed researchers to study the effects of some hallucinogens as potential treatment options for depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The research is inconclusive and the report suggests that “[these methods] should not be tried on your own or outside of a clinical trial.”

How to Treat Depression

According to NIH therapy should be considered when treating depression, including the following practices:

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy teaches you how to fight off negative thoughts and learn effective skills for problem solving
  • Psychotherapy can help you understand the issues that may be behind your thoughts and feelings
  • Join a support group of people who are sharing problems like yours

Help for Depression and Hallucinogens

Feeling sad and depressed are often associated with many reasons, such as relationship problems, angst about work or concerns about your physical health. But, when you turn to hallucinogens to respond to this depression, you are creating a cycle of destruction. The sooner you can get help, the greater the likelihood that you can recover. You need to talk to people about this cycle.

To be assured of confidentiality as well as to receive answers to any questions you might have, call our toll-free helpline any time; we are available 24 hours a day. We want to help you find the right treatment program to handle depression and can provide you with options, information about insurance and resources. We are here to help.