Psychedelic medicines have been somewhat slow to enter mainstream therapeutic solutions, mostly because of stigmas surrounding them. Thankfully, that is changing as more psychotherapy options are becoming open to using them as a helpful medium.
When used correctly and in a controlled setting, psychedelics can have an extremely positive impact on those dealing with trauma or PTSD. Most trauma therapy focuses on stabilizing the symptoms of trauma so the struggling individual can manage them on a daily basis.
Psychedelics, on the other hand, are used for healing. Psychedelic treatment can reduce the need for stabilization because it mutes the severity of the symptoms. As a result, there is less “monitoring” of a patient after treatment.
So, how do psychedelics and trauma therapy really work together? Is it the right solution for you?
How Do Psychedelics Work with Trauma Treatment?
Instead of working as a management tool, psychedelics actually change your state of consciousness for a period of time. That allows you to see the world from a different perspective. Usually, the effects last anywhere from 6-8 hours.
During that time, those who have been through trauma can re-experience the event(s) in an altered state. That can help you form insights you might not be able to process during a normal conscious state. When you’re working with a therapist, you can use that perspective to explore those insights and “re-experience” your traumatic memories in a different way.
Rebuilding Your Narrative
Psychedelics leverage the power of trauma therapy and medicinal treatment by working together to help you create a new narrative.
By working with a therapist, you can build a new story regarding what happened. That puts you in control and suppresses things like fear, flashbacks, and anxiety. You can reflect on the traumatic experience without feeling shame, guilt, or worry. Those feelings often distort the original experience and fuel the fire of PTSD. By looking at the narrative from a different perspective, it no longer has a hold on you the way it once did.
Are Psychedelics Safe?
Perhaps the biggest concern and most common question regarding psychedelics with trauma therapy are whether it’s a safe practice.
It’s important to note how quickly trauma can impact your life. People living with the effects of it know that things can change in an instant. All it takes is one event for your brain and body to be changed.
The same goes for psychedelic medicine. Because one experience with psychedelics can be profound, it has the ability to make extreme psychological changes. Some people may require more than one treatment with psychedelics. However, it is typically a single experience that is closely monitored by a therapist.
Simply put, a single moment of trauma can negatively impact your life. A single moment of psychedelic treatment can positively do the same.
There is, as you might expect, more research to be done on how psychedelics and trauma therapy work together. But, it is interesting to see how this type of medicine can not just change the brain for a moment; rather, it works to completely change how the brain networks and thinks about a traumatic experience. That promotes growth and healing, instead of just “management.”
It’s time to stop the stigma associated with these drugs, especially when it comes to treatment. When they are used properly and specifically, they could provide the healing power those who have been through a traumatic experience really need. But, it’s understandable to have questions or to need more information before deciding if it’s right for you.