WORKING WITH PsychedelicS
A note from Dr. Goetzel
In response to the call of numerous patients, colleagues, & friends asking to share my experience and opinions about Psychedelics, we are officially introducing Psychedelic Consultations at My Health 101– and we’re calling it My Health Journey. Our goal is to educate, advise, and assist individuals seeking safe use of Psychedelics.
Although decriminalized in a few municipalities, Psychedelics are still illegal in most states and there are no FDA approvals for them being a viable treatment of any health condition or indications. Safety and efficacy studies are ongoing. As a licensed physician, I am not yet allowed to officially recommend the use of Psychedelics aside from Ketamine, which is the only currently approved option.
Yet, Psychedelics have been used in healing rituals for millennia. More recently it has become evident that they have helped many of my patients improve symptoms, helped colleagues to get a handle on burnout and stress, and helped seekers of personal growth in their own journey.
That said, the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes is a rapidly evolving field with great opportunity, but also many risks that need to be taken into consideration. Many psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and psilocybin, can cause powerful psychological experiences, which can be difficult to manage in clinical settings. Practitioners need special education on how to properly guide and work with clients in Expanded States of Consciousness. Furthermore, there are pharmacological interactions, food interactions, lifestyle considerations and physiological effects that influence safety and efficacy, which all need to be taken into consideration.
The effects of psychedelics can vary significantly from one person to another, which can provide challenges for the Psychedelic Guide and therapist. The potential for adverse reactions and long-term effects is still not completely understood. Moreover, psychedelics can induce long-term alterations in perception, behavior and thought processes, making it difficult to assess their safety and efficacy. Finally, there are legal implications which must be taken into account when recommending psychedelic therapy, as many psychedelic drugs remain classified as Schedule 1 controlled substances in the US.
For all of these reasons, please understand that it is important for me as a medical professional to approach this subject with utmost caution. Despite a substantial body of work form the 1950s and 1960s and many recent studies, physicians are still officially not allowed to recommend them as a treatment modality, yet.
Aside from the above, I am very hopeful that MDMA and Psylocibin will be approved for medical use in the upcoming years. There are various phase II and phase III trials on the way and their preliminary results are quite promising
Psychedelic therapy is a form of psychotherapy that utilizes psychoactive substances such as LSD, psilocybin, and ketamine to promote emotional healing and psychological growth. It combines traditional therapeutic practices with the altered states of consciousness brought on by psychedelic substances in order to help treat psychiatric disorders, emotional difficulties, and other conditions. In recent years, it has been gaining momentum as an exciting alternative to conventional treatment approaches. Psychedelic therapy has been found to be particularly effective in treating depression and anxiety, PTSD, and addiction, but there are also works on OCD, eating disorders and even Autism Spectrum Disorder. While the long-term effects of psychedelic therapy are still being studied, initial research indicates that it has the potential to be a powerful tool for helping people overcome difficult emotional and mental health issues if used appropriately and in the right setting. This is also the tricky point, as using Psychedelics not recreationally, but for healing, requires a rather sophisticated set of tools and knowledge. In ancient cultures, the expertise how to do it correctly and provide individualized treatments was part of sacred knowledge passed on through families of medicine men & shamans. Many things can go wrong in using Psychedelics without proper knowledge, and the desired healing effect likely will remain elusive. Furthermore, studies have also shown that Psychedelics can increase suicidality and worsen MH symptoms especially when used without proper guidance and the necessary work of integration. So called “bad trips” with competent guides can transform into “challenging trips” and experiences that can lead to desired insights and shifts in ones understanding of oneself and the need for refraining one’s life. Without proper guidance, such experiences can also add to trauma.
HOW DO PSYCHEDELICS WORK?
There are several layers of answers to this question. The one most commonly explained is the Pharmacological one. That they bind to and assert a stimulation effect & binding through binging to the Serotonin 5HT-2A Receptor. In this way Psilocybin and other psychedelics alter Neurotransmitter balances, Synaptoblasticity and the chemical composition of the brain. These substances affect the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and nor epinephrine; these chemicals are responsible for maintaining balance in the brain. The new chemical balance created by these drugs can have profound effects on an individual’s mental and emotional state.
Psychedelics can cause dramatic changes in how people perceive the world around them. They can cause sensory distortions like seeing colorful patterns and sounds where there are none, hearing voices, and experiencing extra-sensory perceptions. People may also experience a feeling of being out of body, or having intense spiritual or mystical experiences.
A trip on psychedelics can also create extreme changes with how an individual sees themselves and their place in the world, leading to increased self-awareness, insight into personal problems and a sense of contentedness to the people and things around them. It can also lead to deeper understanding of one’s own emotions, thoughts and behavior.
Psychedelics also affect the brain’s reward system, creating feelings of euphoria, joy, and well-being. They can also cause physical changes like increased heart rate, dilated pupils, and heightened sensitivity to light, sound and touch.
These changes are not without risks, however. Psychedelics can cause serious psychological distress, such as paranoia and confusion, and intense physical discomfort. Poor preparation and irresponsible use can increase the likelihood of negative outcomes. It is therefore important to be aware of the potential risks, to use caution before taking psychedelics and to work with somebody who has experience with their use. If you are suffering from certain types of Psychiatric conditions, including Bipolar Disorder or any Psychotic Disorders, you definitely want to stay away from Psychedelics.
Overall, psychedelics work by altering the chemistry of the brain, resulting in profound changes in perception, emotions, and behavior. They can lead to significant psychological insights, but they have been called “sacred medicines” for a reason and taking them inappropriately, without preparation and proper guidance, the right set and setting, also comes with significant risks.
Working with Psychedelics
Working with Psychedelics belongs to some of the most fascinating and oldest healing techniques. Various indigenous cultures have used these powerful substances in communal settings & with proper guidance for millennia. There is even an evolutionary theory that these substances together with Fish Oils have been the essential key evolutionary trigger leading to the growth of our Neocortex, the part of our brains that holds our understanding and awareness of ourselves. The part that sets us apart from animals and makes us humans.
Over the years, I have seen so many colleagues, friends and patients benefiting from the various ways of using these powerful substances, for personal growth, to address trauma, anxiety, depression and also physical ailments. Through my Chinese Medicine Education, thinking in terms of Qi and energetic is part of my armament as physician and healer. As for Psylocibin Mushrooms, the word “magic” has been attributed to their capacity for healing and creating insights for a reason. If Psychedelics are used correctly and within the right set and setting, they have the capacity to lead to powerful changes and healing, which cannot be explained by just Western medical understanding. While science has only been allowed to study these compounds again more recently, there is a substantial body of work from psychiatrists and therapists studying and working with these compounds in the 1950s and 1960s. Western Medicine will still take its time to sort out the various effects and side effects while using these compounds. At this time, they are still deemed as illegal and as licensed providers, we cannot yet officially recommend them as treatments. We also cannot state that they are safe to use, as safety standards have yet to be established and agreed upon by the various experts. Yet, we do know a lot about these substances already and many of my friends, patients and colleagues have been traveling to places where their use is legal and done with the right context. At this point, I shall emphases that these are indeed powerful substances and that using them should not be done on the side or lightly or without guidance. After all, these are ancient and in many cultures also secret medicines. If used in the wrong way and without having somebody experienced on your side and with proper reference to the ancient lineage of their use, they might not only not work for you, or worse, they can also set off dangerous ego dissolution effects or put you on the wrong path. There is much sophistication in guiding somebody through a Psychedelic experience as well as preparing for it and doing the integration work afterwards. While for many, this is exactly what’s needed to start a personal healing path, not to have guidance on how to receive what these substances have to teach, digest, process and integrate them, is what often precedes a dreaded negative outcome. While every medicine we take– Western, Plant, Chinese, Campo, Aruveuda — to only name a few healing modalities (there are as many as there are anxiety cultures, whether we know about them or not), every medicine needs to be understood and befriended, discovered and instructed on how to take them has to be adhered to ensure safety and efficacy. Taking any powerful medicine at even the smallest dosage without any education and guidance carries substantial risks.
If you decide to use them, please use them safely and with respect. Please seek the proper advise and the right environment, monitoring and set. One of the effects of Psychedelics includes repairing the way we relate to ourselves and others, which leads to the ability to reconnect to parts of yourself, others but also nature like plants, animals and all things on this Earth. Breaking isolation caused by trauma and so often part of our suffering, is one aspect on how this plant medicines work and heal. So my strong advice to you and all my patients: don’t embark on this potentially amazing healing journey on your own. Seek guidance from somebody experienced, surround yourself with friends that are understanding & accepting of what you are planning and accepting of it. This makes a difference if you are MICRO or MACRO-Dosing. Set your intentions before you walk this path and set aside sufficient time of your days to learn what these substances do with you and what it wants to teach you to properly discovery where it leads you, where your integration work lays and to lead you to the change or growth you seek in your life.
Psychedelic integration work is essential for people who have experienced a psychedelic journey or trip. It helps them to understand, process and make sense of their experience, as well as to integrate the knowledge and insights gained from their experience into their life. This integration process helps people to take responsibility for their own healing and growth, allowing them to gain greater insight into themselves and the world, better understanding of their goals and values, and to develop strategies for achieving these goals.
Integration work also enables individuals to understand their experiences in the context of their life and relationships, making it possible for them to build on the insights gained during a psychedelic journey and create lasting positive change in their lives. This spiritual and emotional work allows individuals to move forward with a greater understanding of themselves, their motivations and goals, and their place in the world.
Finally, psychedelic integration work can help individuals become more aware of any potential issues that may arise as a result of their experience, and to be able to take appropriate steps to deal with these issues. This includes being able to maintain healthier relationships, reducing the risk of addiction or relapse, improving self-care, creating better communication and problem-solving skills, and addressing any underlying psychological issues.
MISSCONCEPTIONS about PSYCHEDELICS
Help with doing MICRO DOSING correctly & efficiently
Micro dosing psychedelics is a movement that has been gaining attention in the medical and health communities. The idea behind micro dosing is to take a sub-perceptual dose of a psychedelic drug, such as LSD or psilocybin (the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”), on a regular basis, usually once every few days or a few days per week. By taking this small dose, it is believed that people can experience a variety of benefits including improved mood, heightened creativity, better focus, enhanced energy levels and more.
The hope for micro dosing psychedelics is that it can provide a safe and for some effective way to improve mental health and well-being. It may help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, increase creativity, enhance focus and productivity, and even improve physical health. As more research is conducted, it is hoped that the potential benefits of micro dosing will be revealed and be able to be used safely and effectively in therapeutic and clinical settings. Additionally, it is hoped that the stigma surrounding the use of psychedelic substances will be reduced and individuals will be better able to access the potential mental health benefits through clinically approved, medically supervised micro dosing practices.
While studies did not necessarily show any benefits in comparison to placebo, there are many individual reports of Microdosing psychedelics being beneficial for symptoms related to trauma, depression, and anxiety. Psychedelics seem to be effective at reducing rumination and obsessive thinking, while also providing potential long-term changes in personality traits related to openness.
Although still considered an unconventional approach to health and wellbeing, microdosing psychedelics seems to be an increasingly popular trend, with more and more people beginning to talk about it as a viable treatment option. Although more research needs to be done in order to fully understand its risks & efficacy, micro dosing with popper guidance could turn out to be a safe and successful way to improve emotional health for some.
Psychedelics & Psychiatric Medications
Psychedelics and psychiatric medications are two very different classes of drugs and they affect the body and brain differently. Psychedelics, also known as hallucinogens, are a class of drugs that produce changes in perception, mood, and thought processes. Commonly used psychedelics include LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and dimethyltryptamine (DMT). These drugs can cause visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations, altered states of consciousness, and often an altered sense of time, self, and reality. Their effects can be powerful and can vary from person to person.
Psychiatric medications, on the other hand, are pharmacological treatments for mental health disorders. They work by targeting specific neurotransmitters in the brain, influencing levels of serotonin, dopamine, and other chemicals that are responsible for mood regulation. These medications can be used to treat anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and other psychiatric illnesses. Commonly prescribed drugs include SSRIs, SNRIs, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and MAOIs. Unlike psychedelics, psychiatric medications are not generally associated with hallucinations or altered states of consciousness.
Generally, it is not advised to take Psychedelics together with Psychiatric medications. If you are considering taking psychedelics while on psychiatric medications, it is important to consult with your doctor first, make a detailed plan and be aware of the potential risks. Psychedelics can interact with certain mental health medications, resulting in dangerous and unpredictable outcomes. Moreover, if you have a pre-existing mental health condition, psychedelics can aggravate it, leading to serious complications.
Therefore, it is essential to speak to a medical professional about your plans before taking any psychedelics at any dose. It is important to learn about interactions you need to be aware of and any potential side effects. Generally I highly recommended that you prepare well, seek professional guidance and help with any sort of psychedelic experience and especially if you have a history or are currently taking psychiatric medications.
Why working with a professional when considering a Psychedelic Journey or Microdosing
If you have questions about Psychedelics, are preparing for a ceremony, retreat or personal experience, if you have used them and need help with integration or challenges experiences or want to discuss your ideas on Microdosing safely, want to discuss more about your ideas about optimal dosing, interactions and or other processing, Set or Setting related questions, please contact our office and schedule Using Psychedelics Safely Consultation
For legal purposes, we need to add the disclaimer that we are not allowed and none our our writing does encourage the use of Psychedelics nor can we claim that Psychedelics heal any medical condition. The purpose of offering this specialized service is to fulfill a clear need in the community and with the acknowledgment that Psychedelics are readily available and that there is a need to guide our patients to prevent harm to them and others as a consequences of uninformed use of these powerful substances.