5 Myths Debunked about the Psychedelic Psychotherapy-Dr. Martin Polanco

Dr. Martin Polanco

Dealing with mental health issues can be tricky because not every patient responds with the same level of healing and relief to the same therapy. Some may find modern medicine useful, whereas others may respond better to Psychedelic Medicine. When it comes to dealing with patients suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction, symptoms can be challenging to handle or manage. It is why some of the best minds in psychotherapy, such as Stanislov Grov (Psychiatrist), Roland Griffiths Ph.D.,  Dr. Martin Polanco and others, advocate the idea of treating patients with Psychedelic Psychotherapy.

What Is Psychedelic Psychotherapy?

Psychedelic Psychotherapy is a type of therapy used to treat mental disorders of the patient by giving specific doses of psychedelic compounds that produce an altered state of consciousness and break the mental and emotional blockages that are at the root of their suffering. These drugs were a taboo in the west and were usually not something that you would see a doctor prescribing to his patients. On the contrary, these are the same drugs that had a rich and honoured tradition in various ancient cultures of the world. “Moreover, these drugs do not work on the usual premise of regular therapies and modern medicine,” says Martin.

A Psychedelic drug works best along with talk therapy. Some of the Psychedelic drugs such as MDMA, psilocybin, and ayahuasca have been found helpful in treating symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Below are some of the most common myths about psychedelic drugs:

Myth 1: Psychedelics are addictive

The most common myth about Psychedelics is that they are addictive. In fact, this myth is the reason they are listed as Schedule 1 drugs in the USA. The schedule states:  “Schedule 1 (I) drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined by the federal government as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule 1

I) drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”

The truth is that psychedelics are NOT addictive! Psychedelics (serotonergic hallucinogens) are powerful psychoactive substances that alter perception and mood and affect numerous cognitive processes. They are generally considered physiologically safe and do not lead to dependence or addiction.

Myth 2:  You May End Up Having Holes in Your Brain

It is an out and out misconception. The truthfulness of the research and studies claiming the relationship between usage of the drugs and shrinkage or growth of the brain structure is untrue. In fact, the opposite is proving true! Studies such as this one by the University of California show that psychedelics increase connectivity and neural plasticity and development in the brain!

Myth 3: It Cause Birth Defects

Many people believe that psychedelics such as LSD can lead to chromosomal abnormalities. This myth was successfully debunked in 1971! And yet the myth persists. A comprehensive review of sixty-eight studies and case reports appeared as a major article in Science in 1971. The review concluded that ‘pure LSD ingested in moderate doses does not damage chromosomes in vivo, does not cause detectable genetic damage, and is not a teratogen or carcinogen in man.’”

Myth 4: They Cause You To Not Be Yourself:

The word “Psychedelic” means “mind-manifesting”.  A more recent term for these compounds is “Entheogens” which means “The spirit (or divine) within”.  Psychedelics help people get in touch with their deepest inner selves. This can lead to things such as radical forgiveness and self-acceptance. 

Myth 5: All Psychedelics Will Make You “Trip” In The Same Way

This is a fable! Different compounds produce different experiences. For instance, ayahuasca increases the neural activity in the brain’s visual cortex, as well as its limbic system – the region deep inside the medial temporal lobe that’s responsible for processing memories and emotion. Ayahuasca can also quiet the brain’s default mode network. The experience lasts about six hours.

Iboga/ Ibogaine, on the other hand, is a completely different kind of experience lasting up to 24 hours where the user can have a panoramic view of their memories, speak to lost loved ones, and examine their behaviour patterns from an outside perspective.

Conclusion: Mental health issues have long been difficult to treat as people react differently to the same treatment. Some may find modern medicine useful, whereas others may respond better to Psychedelic Medicine. Some of the myths about Psychedelics include being addictive, leading to holes in the brain, causing congenital disabilities, more harmful than cocaine and alcohol, etc are all false.


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