Is microdosing the natural answer to Alcoholism?
According to the WHO (World Health Organisation) nowhere on the planet consumes as much alcohol as Europe does. For most of us, social drinking is a relatively harmless pastime that we do with friends and family. This is not the case for some, the use of alcohol on a regular/heavy basis has led to disease and alcohol addiction. New studies into the medicinal potential of psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD have taken place over the last decade. Results have been positive, with strong suggestions that compounds like psilocybin can be used to effectively combat addiction. When used in specific regimes with specific doses, microdosing (psilocybin) for alcoholism is looking more viable every day. Perhaps even, microdosing could eliminate the reason many of us drink altogether.
The perils of alcohol
Europe may hold the alcohol heavyweight belt but we’re seeing yearly increases in the number of people drinking globally. Historically, alcohol has held important roles in both social engagements and relationship forming. But the propensity for it to go too far is ever-present. Alcoholism, often referred to as AUD (alcohol use disorder), can come from several factors. Usually being a mix of biological, environmental, social or psychological factors. After long or regular periods of drinking individuals’ brains begin to rely on a certain chemicals produced upon alcohol ingestion. This, alongside withdrawal symptoms of differing intensities, make it hard for heavy users to quit.
Alcohol consumption, but addiction especially, can lead to a raft of diseases, organ failures and in many cases premature death. Worldwide, the death and burden caused by alcohol abuse are unquestionable, in Europe alone, roughly 290.000 people die every year from alcohol-related causes. One-third of these deaths were caused by or linked to cancer.
Do we need alcohol?
50 neurotransmitters in the brain producing a range of effects, some desirable, some, not so much. The most commonly known effect of alcohol and the reason many people consume it is to reduce stress. Alcohol does this by creating an increase in the uptake of GABA, your brain’s primary inhibitory molecule, in a similar way to valium (diazepam). In general, the effects of alcohol on an individual are…” physical relaxation, which diminishes stress, reduced judgment, allowing you to talk and behave however you want, and stimulation of the brain’s reward system…” To put it into a different context, we drink for one of two reasons, either to increase positive feelings or to decrease the negative. When individuals become dependent on alcohol to achieve either of these goals, that’s addiction.
When you look into the effects of alcohol and the reasons people drink, a subtle pattern begins to form between it and microdosing psilocybin. People drink to reduce stress,
How microdosing for alcoholism works
Microdosing psilocybin has been shown to have several positive effects on a user, in general, how it affects the mind and body is thus.
- An increase in creativity, alertness, and focus
- More energy and a cheerful happy feeling
- Greater awareness of one’s surroundings
- Being more open to social settings and forming connections
Psilocybin works on neurotransmitters in the brain, altering the way that serotonin receptors communicate. Through this, it increases the amounts of the serotonin present. This creation of extra serotonin, as well as it’s maintenance, causes a person to ‘trip’ on a normal dose. With a microdose, however, you don’t experience a full trip. Far from it, the purpose of microdosing is to gain sup-perceptible benefits, meaning not conscious. Via the aforementioned benefits of microdosing, individuals suffering from ailments such as cancer and depression (often linked) are seeing real change in their mentality and mood. This has been supported by a growing number of medical trials taking place over the last decade.
What the ‘science’ is saying
Recent years have brought a wave of new information on psychedelics through clinical trials and new studies. Different ailments such as alcoholism, nicotine addiction, and cocaine addiction have all seen studies take place. The results, albeit early, have suggested that psilocybin and microdosing both have a massive potential to curb addiction. Individuals who had had a psychedelic experience in their life were also less likely to become substance-addicted. What makes psilocybin special is that it’s shown zero propensity for addiction, mentally or physically.
Of the many studies, some have delved into the effects of psilocybin on addiction, with some studies specifically look at alcoholism. Several years ago a team for Johns Hopkins University carried out research into the benefits of psychedelic treatment for alcoholism. 343 individuals qualified for the study, 72% of them having severe alcoholism, drinking on average 25 alcoholic beverages a year for 7 years. The important unifier between these individuals was that they had had a psychedelic experience with either psilocybin or LSD. Although only a tenth of the participants specifically was trying to combat their addiction, a whopping 83% of them no longer met the criteria for AUD within a year of their ‘experience’.
Combat alcoholism now!
Alcoholism is a terrible burden and disease, like other serious afflictions, the true measure of its destruction is not just in the damage it does to the individual. As well as leading to disease and death, alcohol addiction takes its toll on your friends and family, straining relationships. Addicts are in need of serious support, up till now the typical medicines on offer either ease withdrawal symptoms or make the act of drinking uncomfortable. They are not trying to solve the inherent issues with why people drink in the first place. Microdosing for alcoholism poses a viable and natural treatment that can remove the ‘needs’ that alcoholics feel with drinking. Used in tandem with a 12-step program or psychological guidance, psilocybin microdosing could eradicate alcoholism as well as other addictions.