Will Psilocybin Help With Mental Health?

A man's hand holding magic mushrooms

The Resurgence Of Psychedelics In Medicine

Psilocybin is the hallucinogenic chemical in “magic mushrooms.” It is converted to psilocin within 45 minutes after ingesting the mushrooms. Users start to feel “mind loosening”, increased perceptual awareness, heightened senses, and expansion of consciousness. Psilocybin has been studied for years in clinical trials at John Hopkin’s as well as a recent clinical trial in terminally ill cancer patients at NYU. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has been studying hallucinogenic compounds for years; their famous study shows MDMA proving to be helpful for patients with PTSD. The MDMA helps the patients become very relaxed and empathic with the therapist, to the point of feeling extreme comfort reliving their traumatic experiences, and working through their traumatic experiences to help avoid being affected by them. But is there evidence that mushrooms and psychedelics can help the medical field, in particular, psychiatric patients?

Psilocybin and LSD actually used to be utilized in psychiatry in the 1950s and earlier on patients with schizophrenia, anxiety, depression and even alcoholics. Alcoholics were given LSD and the trick was to induce a frightening experience or “trip” similar to delirium tremens; a naturally scary hallucinating experience experienced during alcohol withdrawal. It was shown that after their experience with LSD, many alcoholics refused to consume a drink even two months after the experience; a much better result than any medication assisted treatment present in 2019. Psilocybin has been shown to be effective in terminally ill anxious cancer patients who are afraid of dying; the chemical delivers a profound experience, resulting in increased self-acceptance of their fate, as well as drastically reduced anxiety.

Many people have experienced mystical and profound experiences on psychedelics. They come out of their trip reporting “being a new man”, “having rediscovered myself” and claiming to have their ego dissolved. One famous actor in the past even reported “young women are now very attracted to me.” Will psychedelics be utilized in the near future to help heal all the depression and anxiety which people are suffering from in modern day times? Let’s hope!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Addiction Epidemic Of K2

A man lighting up a k2 joint

K2 – A Parasite Of The Brain

K2 or Spice is a drug sold in convenience stores across the United States. It is made up of synthetic cannabinoids that bind to the same receptors in the brain that THC in Marijuana binds to. It is mass produced by chemists in China and other countries, resulting in mass-importation on the black market. However, this garbage of a drug causes seizures, bizarre behavior, psychosis and even death. This is because the chemists alter the chemicals after the DEA bans the last batch’s chemical properties. In return, users never know what they are inhaling.

The drug continues to remain easily accessible because of the changed chemistry of new batches that enter the market. It is very unfortunate that people lower their standards and use drugs that are chemically manufactured and which serve no purpose. Supposedly, the high is similar or more intense than Marijuana, but why do people choose to smoke a fake version of Marijuana that can cause them to have seizures?

The answer is because addiction comes in many shapes and forms; it is like a demon creeping in the alleyway, waiting for its next victim to terrorize. That is why we must come together and better understand how to defeat addiction. Consciousness may be universal, and by coming together, we can create a better and more thorough understanding of our thoughts; sort of like a “world wide consciousness.”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

What Is Gambling Disorder?

People gambling on a poker chip table

When Casinos Hijack The Reward System

Imagine coming from a successful family: your dad is a lawyer, your brothers are physicians and you’re spending endless nights in Atlantic City gambling your life away, hoping to earn more money . . . deciding at 5am that you no longer have energy and you run back to your hotel to crash, only to wake up at 6pm and start all over again. In addition, you consume alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine; anything that can give you that extra edge. Welcome to Gambling Disorder.

Gambling Disorder is a real diagnosis experienced by millions of people worldwide:

1) Gamblers need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to experience a desired excitement. $100 dollars no longer does it. $1000 dollars no longer does it. $10,000 is the next magic number, until they crash and burn.

2) Gamblers become restless and irritable when they crash and burn. They attempt to stop but can’t. The loss is on their mind. They believe that next time will be different. And so they return back to gamble more hours of their life away.

3) Gamblers have made many unsuccessful attempts to cut back. The virus has struck their mind and their circuity has been hijacked: they need to win more money so they can feel good again. Not gambling actually makes them sad.

4) Gamblers think of ways of obtaining money for which to gamble with. Some forge checks, some steal, some use all their money from their jobs. It’s a never-ending cycle.

5) Gamblers gamble when distressed: anxiety, guilt, helplessness, depression. Their mental health takes a toll; they will sacrifice their well-being for the hope of winning money.

6) Gamblers “chase one’s losses.” They will return the next day to make up for what they lost. Say goodbye to your job, your family and your friends.

7) Gamblers lie. They cannot reveal to people that they have an issue. The only people who know at first is the employees at the casino. But they don’t care. It’s a business.

8) Gamblers lose relationships. Their friends and families give up on them. They have a failed marriage, a failed career. Their addiction as taken over them.

9) Gamblers have desperate financial situations. They ask others for money. They do anything to go back to the casino. They have lost it.

This is the life of a person with Gambling Disorder. We must come together and help these people live a normal life again. Stigma and pointing the finger are not the answers. This is a mental disease that needs grave attention. We are in this together.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Time To End Mental Health Stigma

A female leaning her head against a man's shoulder

Stigma Prevents Progress

Why is there disgrace associated with mental disorders? Because someone is suffering from depression, anxiety, personality disorders, psychosis or addiction, society attaches stigma to the symptoms the person is experiencing? This no longer can go on, if we want to help society be open about mental disorders and their corresponding treatments. Stigma halts progress; it is a barrier that stands before us and keeps many people hidden in the shadows; hidden from seeking treatment. The more we come together and share our experiences, the sooner mental health will be normalized and accepted.

There should be no shame to one experiencing depression, anxiety or even suicidal thoughts; the brain is undergoing neurochemical changes and needs help reestablishing order. Just like any sick organ in physical disorders, the same applies to mental illness. The key is coming together and sharing our experiences. Let’s learn why we feel depressed, anxious or experiencing hallucinations. All of these experiences are frightening, but imagine how much more frightening they are for someone who cannot share them due to fear of stigma? This person can commit suicide due to stigma; his or her emotions will literally bury them if they cannot live in an open society, free to share their mental health concerns. Let’s come together and put an end to stigma. I encourage everyone reading this post to share it as much as possible with your friends and family! Spread the word: we will end mental health stigma.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Mental Health Involves Consistency

A woman with makeup holding a piece of white paper with a smile drawn on the paper

Consistency Involves Determination

The daily stress we encounter can take a huge toll on our mental well-being; jobs, errands, relationships, tasks, etc. All of these can add up and influence our genetic makeup – it’s called epigenetics. Our genes can be turned on or off, resulting in depression, anxiety and for some, unfortunately, psychosis. So what do I mean by consistency?

You have to maintain a certain mindset where you remain happy and content with your life, preventing stress from influencing your behavior and emotions; this must be done on a daily basis. This does not mean that you shouldn’t shoot for the stars as in my previous post; you still want to remain motivated for success. But do it in a way where you don’t get bogged down in worry, stress and anxiety.

But you have to be determined to remain in a consistent state of mind. Determination means it has to come from your heart and mind; you are motivated to be consistent and mentally-healthy. And if you are not determined, you must find a way to become determined: look back at how you felt when you were once happy, content, joyful, glad and excited! When you can tune in with those positive emotions, it will become easier to remain consistent and determined to maintain a positive state of mind.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Being Thankful Will Deliver You More Positive Results

A wooden sign on a palm tree stating "thankful"

The Power Of Being Thankful

We are so bombarded with work, education and distractions that we forget one important thing: being thankful for everything we have. Depression and anxiety can stem from being overstressed, but did you know that by reminding yourself everyday of all the things you have to be thankful for, can lower your chances of developing a mental illness? This is because by being thankful on a daily basis, you force yourself to recognize all the good things you have in your life, which uplifts your mood and stabilizes your mind; stabilization takes you down the right path in life.

But one mistake people make is that they are not thankful enough. Being thankful once in a blue moon is like trying to lose weight by exercising once a month; it’s not going to happen. The key word is “daily.” Everyday, from morning to night, you should be thankful in your heart and in your mind. Remind yourself of all the great things you have: the job you have, your family who is still around, the roof above your head, the good health you are in, etc. This is called positive reinforcement; you are self-delivering encouragement for the life you lead.

Being thankful helps to keep negative thoughts away. Remember that your mind is like a garden; weeds (negative thoughts) don’t take effort to grow, but flowers (positive thoughts) must be carefully planted and taken care of on a daily basis; otherwise, they rot. Rotting is equivalent to poor mental health: depression, anxiety and even hallucinations. It’s time for you to forget about yesterday, and start being thankful for today.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Turn Your Addiction Into Self-Love

Two addicted burned out females smoking

Your Antivirus Is The Power Of Love

That bottle of Jack, that pack of Camels, that hit of a Fattie . . . all tempting compulsions that have been integrated into your daily habits as a source of pleasure; your brain releasing increasing amounts of the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Your consciousness suddenly enters the state of mind that you have been waiting for; you’re on Cloud 9! Now you ask yourself, “which enjoyable activity do I proceed to?”

The above statement is a typical mindset of a user abusing substances. And this pattern repeats itself for years, even decades for some. The problem is that the mind of the user, the brain per-say, has been hijacked; the reward system of the brain called the Nucleus Accumbens is in love with this new source of pleasure called “drugs.” It wants you to keep using, and in return, it gives you dopamine which makes both your brain and you, the user, feel good. But as I talk about in my other post, this relationship is not healthy and will never last, and if it does, it will last at a low depressing level. So how do we work on dissolving an addiction? Remember that thing called love? Sure you do; it trumps everything because the source is from God our creator. By calling on God to give you energy and love, he will help you curb your addiction. But first things first: you must work really hard to love yourself. No human who is addicted can possibly say that they love themselves, when they deliberately proceed with their drug addiction; you are basically hurting yourself. Once you tap into that source of love, you will discover that love will now reach the Nucleus Accumbens and naturally stimulate it to be happy without any substances; as it was intended in the first place when you were born.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away

A courageous man holding a camera walking on a train track during winter

Courage Is The First Step In Finding Change

Friends come and go. Relationships come and go. But often times, we get stuck in a toxic relationship that no longer serves us any good. Relationships and friendships are hard to come by, so we tend to hold on to them with dear life, in order to avoid loneliness. But little do we know, that by holding on to these relationships prevents us from growing. We must learn to listen to our intuition; our gut feeling which tells us if a person is right or wrong for us. Society these days has dulled our intuition; there is so much emphasis on the mind, leaving us to forget that our intuition was created to protect us.

Walking away takes courage, but you must take the initiative if you want new opportunities in life. New people who are motivated, successful, passionate and loving will help take your life to the next level. Old people who make fun of you, emotionally or physically abuse you and degrade you will keep you at a low and depressing level. The key to walking away is not caring if you lose that person from your life. Stop answering their phone calls, stop hanging out with them, stop enabling them to mistreat you! Be respectful to yourself and surround yourself with fruitful people who will make you shine and taste success and love.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Defeat Loneliness With Passion

A neon sign stating "fuel your passion"

Fire Up Your Emotions

There are more people lonely in the United States than ever before. But what drives loneliness? We are living in a society that promotes competition and selfishness; Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest at its finest. Everyone wants to get ahead of each other and can care less if the other person is suffering; it’s unfortunate but true. This in return makes us lonely because we may not share the same interests or drives as those around us; we end up being by ourselves. Some people are lonely even in the company of others; this means they find emptiness in the relationships they carry.

What is the solution? Introduce passion into your activities. Whatever you do, make it enjoyable and fill your mind with positive thoughts and energy. Don’t worry about the lives others lead. Focus on enjoying your life, your moments, your activities, your passion! Once you take your mind away from seeking companionship and focus on yourself, your life will start to slowly get rid of loneliness. But the key is passion!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Will Marijuana Legalization Worsen Mental Health?

A purple, orange and green marijuana plant

THC And The Impact On Mental Health

It’s no secret that Marijuana legalization is happening all across the United States. New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are the northeast states looking to legalize the green herb within the next couple of years. What will be the repercussions from allowing such a move to occur?

Well, first things first: research is coming out showing brain changes in adolescents who smoke Marijuana, resulting in emotional dysregulation. During the adolescent years, teenagers identify more with their peers and less with their parents. By Marijuana interfering with the emotional circuity of the brain, teenagers will possibly be even more disconnected from their parents. Secondly, the prefrontal lobe is not fully developed until age 24; this is why adolescents have poor judgement. By Marijuana dysregulating adolescents’ emotions with a naturally undeveloped frontal lobe, this may cause even more dangerous and unpredictable behavior from adolescents.

The truth is that the legalization movement is not addressing the mental health repercussions from legalizing Marijuana. They have an agenda to see the plant legalized, while ignoring the major negative side effects of potential psychosis, worsened anxiety and even depression in some! Only via clinical trials and research, we will see the results of Marijuana legalization. But legalization is happening now, while research results can take many more years to deliver the conclusions. Will it be too late?

One thing is for sure: the best way to stay mentally healthy is exercising, socializing, eating healthy and being productive. Substance use should not be at the top of this list.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)