Ayahuasca, a powerful plant-based psychedelic potion brewed by indigenous South American tribes in the Amazonian region, could be the key to treating alcoholism and depression, suggests a recent study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Exeter and the University College London (UCL). The study findings were published online in the journal Scientific Reports in November 2017.
According to lead author Will Lawn of the UCL, for several hundred years, indigenous tribes in the Amazon combined several Amazonian plants, including the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridis bush, to brew the hallucinogenic concoction ayahuasca. Lawn also mentioned that ayahuasca is gaining popularity as a recreational drug across the United States with many Americans seeking a cathartic “trip.”
The research team examined nearly 97,000 people for the study. Of which, about 18,000 admitted having experimented with either magic mushrooms or LSD, while a little over than 500 participants said they had tried ayahuasca. Speaking about the effects of ayahuasca on users, Lawn said compared to users of LSD or magic mushrooms, those who tried the hallucinogenic concoction reported considerable psychological relief and were less likely to submit to their urges to drink.
“Recent research has demonstrated ayahuasca’s potential as a psychiatric medicine, and our current study provides further evidence that it may be a safe and promising treatment,” said Lawn. However, Lawn said that the results should be considered with caution as they don’t come from a controlled trial. Besides, the researchers also warned users saying that ayahuasca may seem to have a less severe side effect than classic Western psychedelics, but that does not necessarily mean the absence of risk. Additionally, senior author Professor Celia Morgan of the University of Exeter believes that both the short- and long-term effects of ayahuasca should be investigated as per drug safety standards if the psychedelic is to be considered as an important treatment option.
Traditionally, ayahuasca is administered during shamanic ceremonies in the Amazonian region as a spiritual medicine. But it’s potential as a psychiatric therapy has drawn thousands of western backpacker tourists to the Amazon River annually in search of out-of-body experiences and spiritual awakening. Meanwhile, there are many who drink ayahuasca as a remedy to cure depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, especially alcoholism.
Alcoholism is treatable
Over the years, research has proven that people suffering from alcoholism are not helpless victims. Thus, if a person with alcoholism is willing to combat the problem, he/she only needs professional support from a reputed rehab to resume a sober life. Some of the time-tested ways to treat alcohol addiction are:
Behavioral Treatments: Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are designed to identify the root cause of addiction and modify destructive thinking patterns through counselling in order to:
- develop the skills needed to refrain from alcohol
- build a worthwhile support system in society
- control the triggers that could lead to relapse
Medications: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three medications for treating alcohol use disorder — Disulfiram, which causes hypersensitivity to the toxic effects of alcohol; naltrexone that curbs consumption of large quantities of alcohol; andacamprosate, which facilitates abstinence from alcohol.
Mutual-support groups: Coupled with professional treatment, mutual-support groups can provide an additional layer of much-needed support and a platform for recovering addicts to voice their concerns, pour out their worries and encourage each other to stay alcohol-free.
Seeking treatment for alcoholism
Addiction to alcohol, and for that matter to any substance, is all about seeking a remedy for combating overwhelming feelings of helplessness as a part of self-medication. However, alcoholism is a treatable condition. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 15.1 million American adults struggled with alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Sovereign Health of San Clemente offers a variety of customized treatments for alcohol addiction in California. Specialists at our world-class rehab centers for alcohol abuse in California are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe effective treatments as well as group psychotherapy based on the patient’s requirements. If you or your loved one is battling alcoholism, get in touch with our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives today.