Understanding Who Shouldn’t Take Psychedelics

In this blog, we’ll discuss an important topic: who should avoid taking psychedelics. While psychedelics like magic truffles can be helpful for many, they’re not suitable for everyone. Understanding the potential risks and checking if they’re safe for you is crucial before trying them.

We’ll cover specific health conditions that could make psychedelics dangerous. Being honest about your health history with your guide or facilitator is essential. Let’s explore this further and learn how to stay safe with psychedelics.

The Importance of Health History

Think about a friend who loves lifting weights and tells you how great it makes them feel. You want to try it too, but you forget to tell them about a previous shoulder injury. When you try lifting weights, your shoulder hurts, and you regret it.

Using psychedelics when you have certain health issues is like lifting weights with a hurt shoulder—it’s not a good idea and could make things worse. Before considering magic truffles or any psychedelic, it’s very important to review your health history and see if there are any reasons why it might not be safe for you.

Your health history is a record of your past and current medical conditions, treatments, and responses to medications. This information is crucial because it helps identify potential risk factors that could make the use of psychedelics unsafe. For example, if you have a history of heart disease, taking a substance that increases heart rate and blood pressure could be dangerous. Similarly, if you have had adverse reactions to certain medications in the past, you might be more susceptible to adverse reactions with psychedelics.

Communicating with Your Guide

Before embarking on a psychedelic journey, it’s essential to have an open and honest conversation with your guide or facilitator. They need to know your full medical history to help ensure your safety. This includes discussing any mental health conditions, physical health issues, and medications you’re currently taking. A knowledgeable guide can help determine whether psychedelics are a safe option for you and provide a safer, more supportive environment if you decide to proceed.

Mental Health and Psychedelics

People who have had specific mental health problems, especially ones that make it hard to know what’s real, should not take psychedelics. This includes conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder with manic episodes, and having family members with these conditions.

Additionally, people struggling with PTSD, severe depression, or panic attacks due to psychological vulnerability should also avoid psychedelics.

Your mind is like a well-kept garden. Adding psychedelics when you have these conditions is like adding a strong, unpredictable fertilizer—it might help some plants grow, but it could mess up the whole garden for others.

Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders
Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders involve a disconnection from reality, manifesting as delusions and hallucinations. Psychedelics can exacerbate these symptoms, leading to a potentially overwhelming and distressing experience. For individuals with a personal or family history of these conditions, the risk of triggering a psychotic episode is significantly higher.

Bipolar Disorder
In bipolar disorder, especially in those with a tendency toward manic episodes, psychedelics can induce or worsen mania. Mania involves elevated mood, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior, which can escalate to dangerous levels under the influence of psychedelics. This could result in severe consequences like accidents or self-harm.

PTSD and Severe Anxiety
For individuals with PTSD or severe anxiety, psychedelics can bring intense emotions and traumatic memories to the surface. Without proper therapeutic support, this can lead to panic attacks, extreme distress, and a worsening of symptoms. While some therapeutic settings use psychedelics for PTSD treatment, this is done under strict clinical supervision and should not be attempted independently.

Physical Health and Psychedelics

Even if your mental health is good, some physical health problems can make psychedelics a bad idea. Heart problems, epilepsy, and pregnancy are some conditions that need extra thought.

Your body is like a well-tuned instrument. Taking psychedelics with certain physical conditions is like playing a loud chord on a fragile string— it could put too much stress on the instrument and make it break.

Heart Conditions
Psychedelics can increase heart rate and blood pressure, posing significant risks to individuals with heart conditions. Conditions like hypertension, arrhythmias, or a history of heart attacks make the cardiovascular stress induced by psychedelics particularly dangerous. The physical strain could lead to severe complications, including heart attacks or strokes.

Epilepsy
For those with epilepsy, psychedelics can lower the seizure threshold, increasing the likelihood of a seizure. The intense sensory and emotional experiences induced by psychedelics can act as triggers. Seizures in this context can be harder to manage and more dangerous without immediate medical assistance.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, substances taken by the mother can affect the child. The effects of psychedelics on a developing fetus or nursing baby are not yet known, but the risk of potential harm is an important reason to be cautious.

Medications and Psychedelics

Some medicines, especially SSRIs and MAO inhibitors (used for depression and anxiety), can be dangerous when mixed with psychedelics, increasing the risk of serotonin syndrome, which can be life-threatening.

Imagine a friend who takes medicine to control their diabetes. They know they need to watch their blood sugar levels closely and avoid things that could mess with their medicine. Similarly, people on SSRIs or MAO inhibitors need to know that psychedelics could interact badly with their meds and prioritize their safety.

Your brain chemistry is like a complicated recipe, with each medicine being a specific ingredient. Adding psychedelics to the mix can be like throwing in a strong spice—it might enhance the dish for some, but for others, it could overpower everything and create an unpleasant or even harmful result.
Always tell your guide or facilitator about any medications or supplements you’re taking. If you’re on SSRIs or MAO inhibitors, it’s very important to avoid psychedelics because of the possible dangerous interactions (serotonin syndrome).

Summary

Psychedelics can be incredibly beneficial for some, but they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution. If you have certain mental health conditions, physical health problems, or are taking specific medications, psychedelics could be risky or even dangerous for you.

The most important thing is to prioritize your safety and well-being. Always be honest with your guide or facilitator about your health history and any medications you’re taking. If you’re unsure whether psychedelics are right for you, talk to a trusted healthcare professional who can help you make an informed decision.

At FLO Coaching, we offer guided psilocybin truffle sessions, supported by experienced coaches. If you have any questions or are looking for help preparing your first psychedelic experience, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to introduce you to the fascinating world of expanding consciousness in a responsible way.

Frequently Asked Questions about
contraindications

Why is it important to discuss your health history before using psychedelics?

Certain health conditions can make the use of psychedelics dangerous. Therefore, if in doubt, consult a trusted healthcare provider who can help you make an informed decision based on your complete medical history and current health status. A thorough discussion with a healthcare professional can help identify any underlying conditions that might interact negatively with psychedelics, ensuring your safety and well-being.

Which mental health issues make using psychedelics risky?

People with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder with manic episodes, or a family history of these conditions should avoid psychedelics. Those with PTSD, severe depression, or panic attacks are also at increased risk.

Why are psychedelics dangerous for people with schizophrenia or psychotic disorders?

Psychedelics can exacerbate symptoms like hallucinations and delusions, potentially triggering a psychotic episode and causing severe psychological distress. The intense and often unpredictable nature of psychedelic experiences can lead to a loss of touch with reality, heightened paranoia, and anxiety, which can be overwhelming and difficult to manage. In some cases, the psychological effects may persist long after the drug has worn off, resulting in lasting harm and necessitating medical intervention.

Can people with bipolar disorder safely use psychedelics?

Individuals with bipolar disorder, especially those prone to manic episodes, should avoid psychedelics as these substances can induce or worsen mania. The altered states of consciousness and intense sensory experiences produced by psychedelics can destabilize mood and exacerbate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. For those prone to manic episodes, the stimulant effects of psychedelics can trigger heightened energy levels, impulsivity, and a reduced need for sleep, all of which can lead to a full-blown manic episode. Due to these significant risks, it is crucial for individuals with bipolar disorder to avoid psychedelic substances to maintain stability and avoid exacerbating their condition.

What are the risks of using psychedelics for people with heart conditions?

The physiological effects of psychedelics can strain the cardiovascular system. Psychedelics can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous for individuals with heart conditions such as hypertension, arrhythmias, or a history of heart attacks.

Why should people with epilepsy be cautious with psychedelics?

Psychedelics can lower the seizure threshold, increasing the likelihood of a seizure. The impact of psychedelics on the brain’s electrical activity can destabilize neural circuits, making seizures more likely in susceptible individuals. This risk is particularly pronounced in those with a history of epilepsy or other seizure disorders. This can lead to dangerous situations, especially without immediate medical assistance.

How can medications like SSRIs and MAO inhibitors interact with psychedelics?

SSRIs and MAOIs can dangerously interact with psychedelics, increasing the risk of serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a life-threatening condition caused by an excess of serotonin in the brainpotentially. When the levels of serotonin become too high, it can lead to a range of symptoms, including confusion, fever, rapid heart rate, dilated pupils, muscle rigidity, and, in severe cases, seizures or loss of consciousness. These symptoms can escalate rapidly and require immediate medical attention to prevent serious complications. The interaction between psychedelics and medications like SSRIs or MAOIs is particularly dangerous because both substances can increase serotonin levels. This combination can overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate serotonin, leading to the development of serotonin syndrome. It’s crucial for individuals who are taking SSRIs or MAOIs to be aware of the potential risks associated with combining these medications with psychedelics.

About FLORIS & LOTTE (FLO COACHING)

Lotte and Floris are the two guides for FLO Coaching. We combine our years of coaching & therapy to help people experience a (first) guided psychedelic trip.

We uniquely focus on preparation and integration to provide long-term positive changes in mind and behaviour.

Assistance is provided by Max and Saar, though our dogs haven't yet learned to write for the blog 🐾

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