Taking psychedelic drugs can reduce anxiety about death

Out of the body and other life-changing mystical experiences, and research shows that they can even make people less afraid of death. But such experiences are rare and tend to happen unintentionally and under the most extreme circumstances – such as on the brink of death.

Maybe there is another way to imitate Near death experience: Scientists have identified striking similarities between these experiences and effects of psychedelic drugs. Under a new survey conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, published August 24 in the journal PLOS ONE, People’s attitudes about death change after both psychedelic and non-drug-related out-of-body experiences. The researchers divided more than 3,000 participants into two groups: those who had previously had an extraordinary drug-free experience, and those who had used a hallucinogenic drug: psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms), acid. lysergic diethylamide (LSD), ayahuasca, or WOMEN,N-dimethylamine (DMT). They found that about 90 percent of people in both groups had less fear of death than they ever experienced.

These findings build on previous research showing that illusionespecially when combined with therapy, can relieve anxiety about the end of life. That includes a Randomized clinical trial 2016 found that psilocybin reduced depression and anxiety among 51 patients with life-threatening cancer. Co-author Roland Griffiths, a professor in the department of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, hopes that one day, hallucinogens could be used to help those struggling with grief. fear death. Treatment “can significantly reduce suffering in people with or without life-threatening illnesses,” he said, including by alleviating the emotional pain some people feel at the end of life, he said. such as depression, anxiety, and isolation.

Evidence suggests that hallucinations can affect the brain, including promoting neuroplasticity, referring to its ability to modify, change, and adapt. It is more difficult to determine how near-death experiences affect the brain. However, both experiences — near-death and hallucinations — can be profound. About half of each group in the new study said they had encountered what they could call “God”—48 percent of non-drug users and 56 percent of drug users illusion. In the non-drug group, 85% said the experience was in the top five most meaningful things in their life, compared with 75% in the hallucinogen group.

The study is not a perfect representation of the extent of what happens when people take psychedelic drugs or have unusual non-drug experiences. For example, the study authors point out that the participants were mostly white and American. They also choose to take part in the survey, which means they may be particularly motivated to share their experiences. In addition, there are indications that at least some people may be negatively affected by these experiences; About 1 in 20 people in each group said they feared death more afterwards.

Griffiths said the next step is additional scientific research, including extensive surveys of the general population. For now, however, the new findings give hope that although death will always be inevitable, suffering to the very end. Do not need to.

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