Are psychedelics the future for mental health? Research on the use of psychedelics for depression, PTSD and addiction is being carried out in respectable academic institutions such as Johns Hopkins with impressive results that dramatically outweigh the kind of change we would see with typical psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. It is still very early days and we do not know the extent of risks, but it seems clear that the “third wave” of psychedelics is upon us and those of us who work in the field of mental health should be informed about what it all means.
I recently finished two excellent books on the topic of psychedelics and mental health: How to Change your Mind, by Michael Pollan, and A Really Good Day, by Ayelet Waldman. Michael Pollan, a journalist whose books include the Omnivore’s Dilemma, explores the history of psychedelics in Western culture, his own journey as an reluctant psychonaut, and then looks at the neuroscience of psychedelics and how they help change our mind for therapeutic purposes. Ayalet Waldman’s book is a personal narrative on her experience with microdosing LSD for her longstanding problems with mood dysregulation (with excellent results). Both books are written by two people who are not your typical psychonauts – Michael Pollan describes himself as a rational atheist/skeptic, and Ayalet Waldman is a middle aged, mother of 4 children, ex-lawyer/public defender, married to the novelist Michael Chabon.
Rachael Frankford, MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker in private practice. This blog is to share musings on mental health and about the intersection of mindfulness, neuroscience, and psychotherapy.