Psychedelic drugs should be used to treat mental illness

Published by adviser, Author: Joseph Szalinski - Rocket Contributor, Date: February 4, 2016
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Two things that are incredibly stigmatized in this country are mental illness and psychedelic substances. While the stigma surrounding mental illness is ridiculously unwarranted, there are some more concrete reasons as to why psychedelics are vilified in our society. In America, psychedelics are synonymous with drug use, and invariably, drug addicts. This couldn’t be further from the truth because psychedelic substances are not inherently addictive, not to mention that the mentality for taking psychedelics is starkly different from taking any sort of other recreational adulterant.
Psychedelics have a rocky legacy, which is mostly why the negative association with them persists today. Initially introduced by psychotherapists and other kinds of scientists, psychedelics were heralded as a major stepping-stone in mental health treatment; anything from substance abuse, to marital problems, to depression, anxiety, OCD, and any other sort of mental malady, seemed as if psychedelics could remedy it.
Unfortunately, the history of these wonderful tools was sabotaged and co-opted by those just looking for recreation. Granted, psychedelics possibly can assist one in self-awakening, artistic inspiration, or what have you, but the most beneficial application for these substances, is as medicine.
Currently, psychedelic research is stymied by bureaucratic nonsense, outdated propaganda, and those with allegiances to institutions/organizations that would suffer if psychedelics became available for those who need them. Although research is pretty much at a standstill, trials are performed here and there, each one producing positive results. Whether these trials aim to ease a person’s suffering while he or she deals with a terminal illness, or used for helping soldiers cope with the effects of PTSD, the data being collected shows promising potential for psychedelics.
Granted, the counter-culture association with psychedelics needs to be forgotten about, but this can only happen when everyone recognizes how lifesaving certain psychedelics can be, if administered properly.
I’m not proposing full scale legalization of psychedelics, as people shouldn’t have open access to these medicines, but if one needs a more controversial alternative to a typical pharmaceutical given to him or her by his or her doctor, then said person should have the right to explore every option possible.
The more we learn about the brain, and the way chemicals interact with it, the better equipped we are at dealing with mental health problems whenever we are faced with them. While erasing the stigma of mental illness seems like an easier feat, removing the stigma surrounding psychedelics, and the research of them, is equally as paramount. If isolated and infrequent trials can already provide such promising discoveries, then who knows how many people can be helped if the present restrictions are lifted?

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