Deconstructing Depression By Utilizing Your Third Eye
By Michael Wicks
Depression, Happiness's Evil Twin
Depression is one of the most prevalent types of mental illness, and it affects millions of people today. Chances are you know someone, or are someone, who suffers from that sinking feeling. Not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, harmful thoughts, bleak and cynical outlooks on life, and a plethora of other symptoms that make living with depression extremely difficult for most. Many of the methods for treating depression include SSRI’s, Benzodiazepines, and other very un-reliable pharmaceutical methods. Having been on a SSRI for a short time, I can personally attest to the terrible side effects that seem to exacerbate depressive thoughts and moods, instead of keeping them in order. Well some scientists are turning to mycology to try and help people without the harmful repercussions of these heavy and relatively new pharma drugs. Psilocybin is the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” and many doctors are looking towards this psychedelic compound to help people through hallucinogenic introspection.
Anomalous You Say?
Psilocybin has been the subject of medical research since the 1960’s, where Dr. Timothy Leary and Dr. Richard Alpert ran the Harvard Psilocybin Project. This project paved the way for the modern research that is being conducted today, but at the time Dr. Leary’s methods were seen as unnecessary and anomalous by his peers which led to him being discredited by many of the doctors which he once considered friends. His finding, though, led him to believe that under strict medical dosage and under the right supervision, when being taken by a willing participant, it could help control OCD behavior, anxiety, and major depression by means of deep emotional introspection. A study done in 2006 came to very similar conclusions, “the participants were hallucinogen-naïve adults reporting regular participation in religious or spiritual activities. Two or three sessions were conducted at 2- month intervals.” The results were also, if you’ve ever dabbled in psychedelics, very poignant, “Psilocybin produced a range of acute perceptual changes, subjective experiences, and labile moods including anxiety. Psilocybin also increased measure of mystical experience". At 2 months, the volunteers rated the psilocybin experience as having substantial personal meaning and spiritual significance and attributed to the experience sustained positive changes in attitudes and behavior consistent with changes rated by community observers. Our conclusion is, when administered under supportive conditions, psilocybin occasioned experiences similar to spontaneously occurring mystical experiences.
The FDA vs The Future
"The ability to occasion such experiences prospectively will allow rigorous scientific investigations of their causes and consequences.” (2006, July 7). Retrieved May 8, 2015, from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov Now what does all of this mean? Well of course the FDA hasn’t approved any of this for treatment of psychological disorders, yet, but as the 2006 study concluded, rigorous study is being done by qualified individuals who realize pharma drugs are easy to abuse and hard to quit. One such study is about the homological scaffolds of brain functional networks. This study published in 2014, came to the conclusion that while under the effects of psilocybin our brains are, in laymen’s terms, hyper connected (See Fig. 1). Homological scaffolds of brain functional networks. (2014, October 29). Retrieved May 8, 2015, from rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org. This hyper connectivity is what many attribute to the mystical experience and introspection which will hopefully be used to help those who really need help. Let me iterate though, these studies are done under strict medical dosage and supervision and should not be re-created at home, since it is currently illegal and easy to pass the medical dose into the unpredictable recreational level, but this research is being considered by many in the psych field as a promising future for the treatment of depression and other mental illness. If you have ever practiced mindful meditation, one can really understand and appreciate how beneficial introspection is to the mind. So I eagerly await science and spirituality to merge into something beautiful and advantageous to the future of mankind.
A Note From the Editor
I understand that this article may have made you uncomfortable, perhaps even given you diarrhea, but...
In my opinion, the tendency for us to demonize and discredit methods and opinions that we do not understand, can do much more damage to our society than any of our afflictions. Remember when the world was flat? Probably not because it never was. But we never would've known if it weren't for the curious nature of our species. I'm not saying that eating 'shrooms will cure you of anything because I'm not a scientist; I'm an editor (I ain't even good at it); maybe it's best we let scientists do the science stuff. We can jump to their conclusions after they've done the whole 'scientific method' thing (they're pretty good at it now).
The Exposure team does not advocate the use of drugs (we prefer rum), but we do advocate the idea of being open-minded. We live in a fascinating world and we shouldn't ignore any of it because of social stigma.
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