A substantial number of people worldwide suffer from mental health problems during their lifetime. First-line treatments are not effective for everybody. Recent studies suggest that psychedelic drugs have high therapeutic potential for a variety of mental disorders.
This survey study aimed to assess the tendency of psychedelic users to self-medicate with psychedelics and to compare the effectiveness of self-administered psychedelics to treat their disorder and the treatment offered by a medical professional.
Methods and results
In total, 1,967 respondents consented were ≥18 years and completed the questionnaire. The mean (±SD) age was 25.9 (8.7); 79% were males, 20% females, and 1% classified themselves as “other.” Almost half of the respondents (46%) indicated to have suffered/to be suffering from a mental disorder, with 77% being diagnosed by a medical professional. In 99% of the diagnosed cases, the treatment was offered; 77% searched for treatments outside a medical professional’s recommendation with 81% who had used/were using psychedelics to treat/cure symptoms. Self-administered psychedelic treatment had a higher likelihood of being efficacious, with higher symptoms reduction and larger quality of life improvement compared to treatment offered by a medical professional.
Lifetime prevalence of psychopathologies in the current sample of psychedelic drug users seemed to be higher than in the general population. Self-medication with psychedelics was not highly frequent; although when it occurred, it was rated as significantly more effective as treatment offered by a medical professional. Current findings support research exploring the potential of psychedelics in the treatment of psychopathologies.
Mason, N. L., & Kuypers, K. P. (2018). Mental health of a self-selected sample of psychedelic users and self-medication practices with psychedelics. Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 2(1), 45-52. 10.1556/2054.2018.006