A new study has found a positive relationship between the use of psychedelics and improved mental health. Specifically, the study found that psychedelics can cause increased feelings of spirituality, and that these feelings lead to better emotional regulation, and therefore better mental health.
“This improved emotion regulation” explains a story in psypost.org. “then appears to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and disordered eating.”
BACKGROUND: PSYCHEDELICS AND HEALTH BENEFITS
Health benefits associated with the use of psychedelics is not a new thing. The Debrief previously covered how psilocybin, the active component of psychedelic mushrooms, can be combined with music therapy to reduce feeling of depression. Another study covered by The Debrief showed the correlation between psychedelic use and reduced alcohol cravings, while yet another showed how psilocybin can promote immediate and lasting growth of neural connections.
Of course, nearly all psychedelic drugs are illegal in most states as well as at the federal level, so no prescription options currently exist. Still, this trend of improvements in overall health has led to a number of researchers giving the “magic” fungus and other psychedelics a new look, including this latest study.
ANALYSIS: PSYCHEDELICS AND IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH
Published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, the recent study involved distributing questionnaires to 159 psychedelic users between ages 18 and 69. These respondents were asked to chronicle their lifetime of psychedelic use, while also reporting their overall feelings of spirituality.
The questionnaire also featured sections designed to measure the respondents’ ability to regulate emotions, anxiety levels, feeling of depression and any disordered eating. And, say researchers, what they found seems to support previous studies highlighting the benefits of psychedelics.
“Using regression analyses, the researchers found that participants with more frequent psychedelic use reported greater spirituality, and those with greater spirituality had fewer difficulties with emotion regulation,” the psypost piece explains. “They also found that participants with more difficulties regulating their emotions had higher depression, anxiety, and disordered eating scores.”
In short, those participants who scored higher on emotional regulation had better mental health in a number of measurable areas.
OUTLOOK: SPIRITUALITY S THE KEY
Although they do not directly endorse the use of psilocybin or other psychedelics, and emphasize that more research is necessary, the research teams states that clinicians and other mental health professionals trying to help folks suffering from these mental health disorders should assist those clients in ““cultivating a greater connection with self, others, the natural world or with spirit, and/or greater involvement with ceremonial or religious practices.”
“A focus on spirituality appears to be a powerful catalyst for the transformation of emotion processing difficulties,” the research paper concludes, “which are thought to underlie most emotion-based disorders, including mood, anxiety, and eating disorders.”
Follow and connect with author Christopher Plain on Twitter: @plain_fiction