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Psilocybin for alcohol addiction?

Psilocybin for alcohol addiction?

The world of psychedelics consistently proves to have a wide range of physical and mental benefits. It seems that slowly and finally the medical world is beginning to accept drugs like psilocybin and LSD as real drug treatment alternatives.

In recent new studies, more research has been published that proves that the well-known substance of magic mushrooms can be used to treat people with alcohol addiction .

We'll find out why this method worked, what the study explicitly says, and other information regarding the links between psychedelics and alcoholism.

What is alcohol dependence?

alcohol vs psilocybin

Addictions come in many forms, and it's often difficult to tell the difference between them and habits. For example, is brushing your teeth an addiction? Well, habits are generally less harmful than addictions.

The truth is that addictions are habits created in the hope of getting some reward . This reward is usually the feeling that the specific substance can give you.

In the heroine's case, it's that feeling of euphoria. In the case of alcohol, it could be that feeling of dissociated pleasure and anti-anxiety. An addiction is something over which we usually don't have much control and which, over time, has a negative impact on ourselves and possibly those around us.

However, habits are generally less harmful. a study from the University of Alvernia in Pennsylvania wrote:

Probably the most important distinction between habit and addiction is how choice, to some extent, is still possible with habit-forming behaviors. When it comes to addiction, people generally have a harder time making decisions due to their dependence on a substance or behavior .”

Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions, partly because alcohol is so readily available and an integral part of most societies. In fact, in France, 5.3% of men and 1.5% of women are dependent on alcohol. This represents approximately 2 million people in France with alcohol problems. Consequently, approximately 49,000 people die each year from this cause, which is the second preventable cause of death in France.

What is alcoholism and how does it manifest?

Well, an alcohol addiction usually means that a person puts drinking above most other aspects of their life, including work and family. It can sometimes interfere with those other parts of their lives.

Other signs of alcoholism include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Inability to stop drinking
  • Increased tolerance

Sometimes it's not always easy to tell when you're an alcoholic. Drinks Aware wrote

a useful list of 4 questions to ask yourself :

  1. Do I often feel the need for a drink?
  2. Am I in trouble because of my drinking?
  3. Have other people warned me about my drinking?
  4. Do I think my drinking is causing me problems?

If the answer to these questions is "yes", it may be time to seek professional advice.

How alcoholism is treated

An addiction to anything is considered a habit, and many believe that habits can be changed once you discover the cause of this pattern in the brain.

Usually this is based on the “pleasure principle”. All addictions including sex, gambling, drugs and alcohol cause a surge of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (area of ​​the brain that activates feelings of well being). It is like a reward for body and mind when these addictions are satisfied. Once the brain realizes that a specific activity can cause that same dopamine boost, it craves it again and again.

The help guide wrote:

"The brain registers all pleasures the same, whether they come from a psychoactive drug, a monetary reward, a sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal...Addictive drugs provide a shortcut to the brain's reward system by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine. The hippocampus establishes memories of this quick feeling of gratification, and the amygdala creates a conditioned response to certain stimuli."

For years, alcoholism has been treated with cognitive behavioral therapy , which can help identify the negative thought patterns that typically lead to drinking. This can obviously take a while to work.

Another method is a complete detox , removing all access to alcohol, which usually requires the help of family and friends. Another common treatment is through self-help groups , such as Alcoholics Anonymous, which help addicts feel less alone in their struggle to sobriety.

However, lately, people have started turning to psilocybin as a possible regimen-changing method to stop alcohol addiction.

Psilocybin and addiction

psilocybin alcohol

Psilocybin is the substance in magic mushrooms that is responsible for the psychoactive effects . The substance can cause hallucinations and psychotropic perceptions.

The drug acts on neural pathways in the brain that include the neurotransmitter that creates serotonin. Many of these hallucinogenic effects are believed to be caused by a surge of serotonin .

However, research on these drugs has been limited due to the fact that few medical professionals have used the substance so far.

Science Alert ” writes:

"Because they are classified as Schedule 1 - which means they have no 'accepted medical use' and are illegal - it has been quite difficult for scientists to figure out exactly what 'they can and cannot do.'

However, a recent study - conducted by scientists at New York University and published in JAMA Psychiatry - gave a group of men and women with alcohol addiction treatment with psilocybin. The people selected were people who drank about four or five glasses (or more) a day . They found that those who took psilocybin therapy significantly reduced their alcohol consumption – 83% to be precise. Those who took an antihistamine placebo reduced their alcohol consumption by only 51%. Stat News writes:

"Eight months after the first dose of psilocybin, almost half (48%) of those who had psilocybin had completely stopped drinking, twice as many as 24% in the placebo group. The study was double-blind and relatively large for a psychedelic study, with 93 participants”

The study has been hailed as a giant step towards finding an effective treatment for people suffering from alcoholism. Each participant received 12 sessions of psychotherapy over 12 weeks, with 2-day sessions using the specific medication.

It was pretty obvious for the participants to say whether they had received a placebo or not, because psilocybin has pretty obvious and intense effects.

John Costas , a 32-year-old man from New York, received the real treatment and he said :

“It definitely affected my life and I would say it saved my life… My biggest expectations were to be able to control my desires. It overcame that. It took away my desire”

Although the results were impressive, it was unclear how the substance actually affected the brains of those involved. Also, overall, the participants did not have as much alcohol dependence as is common in these types of studies.

What this research does, however, is shine a light on the potential of psychedelic addiction therapy. We hope there will be many more to come. However, this is not the first time such research has been conducted.

buy psilocybin

LSD and alcoholism

lsd and alcoholism

In the 1950s and 1960s, professionals began testing the effects of LSD on alcoholism, and the results were equally promising. The problem then was that none of the studies had enough participants to be considered useful.

However, if you combine six of the trials performed during this period, the statistics are actually very useful.

The studies involved 536 participants, with 59% of those taking LSD reporting lower levels of alcohol abuse. In comparison, only 38% of those who received a placebo said the same. These benefits are said to last for around 3 to 6 months.

Nature writes:

"Psychedelics were popularized by psychiatrists in the 1950s as having a number of medical uses...before political pressure in the United States and elsewhere largely put an end to the work...Alcoholism was considered as one of LSD's most promising clinical applications... Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson is said to have championed the benefits of LSD in the book Pass It On: The Bill Wilson Story and How AA's Message Reached the World ”

Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in the United States, allegedly used LSD to end his alcohol addiction. In response, he wanted others to do the same, as he was amazed at the effect the substance had on him.

However, Wilson eventually had to stop advertising the drug as it endangered AA's reputation due to the government's views on recreational drugs.

Classification of drugs according to their dangerousness:

classification of drugs according to their dangers

Closing 👍

It is clear that we are entering an important moment in medical research and psychedelic drugs. For the first time since the 1950s, the medical profession is once again realizing the benefits that these types of substances can have on people suffering from addiction. The hope is that studies like this will continue to happen and that eventually psilocybin and LSD therapy can be readily available to those who need it.

Warning :

All information in this article is based on sources and references, and all opinions expressed are my own. I do not give advice to anyone and although I am happy to discuss topics, if anyone has another question or concern they should seek advice from a competent specialist. People who suffer from psychiatric, neurological or cardiovascular disorders or who use psychiatric drugs should completely avoid psychedelics and other drugs.

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