If you could decide between having an addiction-free life in a month or a decade, which would you choose?
Time is of the essence for people suffering from addiction. Too many individuals spend years stuck in the dogma of the traditional recovery programs. They try different medications to take the edge off their pain, hop in and out of rehab with little change in their behavior, and their addiction still controls their lives.
The current landscape of addiction-related death is rising faster than ever. In 2021, more than 100,000 people died in the United States from overdose.
Current recovery statistics suggest the average person is likely to relapse in their first year of sobriety. Only ⅓ of people actually make it through treatment without returning to drugs, according to the National Library of Medicine. 85% of individuals relapse within a year of treatment, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
The tools we have used to treat addiction have shown to be increasingly ineffective, which is why science is looking at alternative methods of medicine that may be more promising. Research shows the future of recovery lies in a new field, and offers a shortcut to addiction treatment that could take years off a person’s recovery journey.
LUCID Oceanside provides this groundbreaking care as the world’s first psychedelic-assisted rehabilitation center. But what exactly are psychedelics? And why do they tend to raise an eyebrow when mentioned in a healthcare context? “Psychedelic” is a term derived from the Greek words, “psyche” and “delein,” which mean “mind” and “manifesting” respectively.
When we hear the word “psychedelic,” we often think of the iconic 60s aesthetic – kaleidoscopic swirls of vivid color and hallucinations from using drugs like LSD.
In the world of drug and alcohol rehabilitation, the term “psychedelics” has little to do with lava lamps and blacklight posters. It refers to a broad category of mind-altering substances that have different effects on completely disparate parts of the brain.
Psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond created the word in 1957 while researching LSD’s effect on mental health issues and substance recovery.
He believed that his patients’ struggles with addiction could be overcome through a change in their perspective, and through this change they could learn to remove themselves from addiction and psychiatric illness.
People who abuse substances relinquish their body’s own natural ability to regulate the highs and lows of life. Drugs and alcohol, when used routinely in excess, rewire our brains to depend on the highs of chemicals until the substance is required to regulate equilibrium instead of its own processes. Our brain’s chemical receptors grow increasingly numb to anything else but the drug’s intense stimulation.
If the person tries to stop engaging in their addiction, they face the physical pain and psychological discomfort of the body in withdrawal – the body’s attempt to return to balance. Fortunately, modern science has developed medications to reduce the physiological and mental distress involved in cravings and the withdrawal process.
Current addiction treatment in Oceanside offers once-a-day medications (often containing small doses of the same drugs that got the individual into rehab in the first place) to block the brain’s receptors from feeling the pang of craving and the high after the drug is ingested.
The problem is, many of these medications have adverse side effects AND require higher and higher doses as tolerance builds after time.
Science has shown that as long as there are opioids in the system, even at a lower concentration, the neurological traces of addiction still remain.
We argue that long term use of these medications, such as Suboxone and Subutex, just perpetuates a cycle of dependence by replacing reliance on one drug for another.
Additionally, many of the current legal addiction treatments have unpleasant side effects. For example, Suboxone, a medication used to treat opioid addiction, can result in dizziness, blurred vision, headache, numbness, tingling, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and trouble sleeping.
New research shows that just a few patient interactions with small, medically supervised experiences with ketamine, psilocybin and other psychedelics have the potential to permanently alter brain chemistry without any side effects. This allows the patient to explore a different state of mind and a reality free of addiction – without regular daily or even weekly use of the drug.
At LUCID, we believe you deserve a sovereign life and a chance to exist without a dependence on pharmaceuticals, which is why we’re so passionate about psychedelic-assisted care
Ketamine, the only “psychedelic” legal for therapeutic use, is an anesthetic that promotes regrowth in the parts of the brain that regulate mood. It allows the client to have an out-of-body experience separate from their usual mental chatter and inquire into their subconscious mind with the help of a psychotherapist.
Psilocybin, a compound found in certain mushrooms, is non-habit forming. This can be life-changing for individuals who push through weeks or months of abstinence but are tempted to return to addiction after time.
Research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that therapy in combination with doses of psilocybin reduced heavy drinking by 83 percent after eight months of their first dose. Almost half of those who took psilocybin in the study stopped drinking entirely.
As healthcare professionals, we have the duty to ease suffering, reduce recovery time and increase the opportunity for patients to succeed on their recovery journey. If new means emerge showing promise, we at LUCID believe it is our responsibility to integrate these methods. This is why we already have protocols set to administer treatment and are eagerly awaiting legalization.
MDMA is a psychoactive stimulant that releases hormones which increase one’s feeling of connection with others. It has been shown to help people with PTSD by lowering activity in the amygdala, which regulates fear and trauma. This allows clients to feel safer while discussing their memories in therapy.
PTSD affects more than 13 million people every year, according to MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. MDMA-assisted therapy is a game changer with the potential to help millions, and is expected to be evaluated by the FDA this year after a statistically significant study was published. In the latest phase of this MAPS study, 67% of participants who took MDMA no longer met the criteria for PTSD two months after therapy sessions paired with the substance. (MDMA allows patients to access traumatic memories without the panic and fear that normally accompanies the revisiting of those memories. We have planned protocols for administration and are patiently awaiting legalization.
Ibogaine is among the more controversial therapeutic substances because of its challenging trip. Yet those who have experienced the intensity of the hallucinogenic journey have emerged with stunning results.
Ibogaine, also known as Iboga, is a dissociative like ketamine and is found in the roots of a West African shrub. It helps interrupt addiction by attaching to the brain receptors influenced by drug high. Ibogaine has the promise of making it easier for those addicted to develop new and healthier habits without drugs.
There are some risks, however. Side effects include loss of muscle coordination, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting. Clinical supervision of Ibogaine use is always recommended in addiction treatment because of side effects that have, for a small percentage of users, resulted in fatality. Yet these risks may be worth taking for individuals who have tried every treatment and still find themselves lost in the throes of addiction.
Psychedelic drugs are not intended to be used daily. The idea is to occasionally assist in the therapeutic process. In a rehabilitation clinic, trained medical staff administer a small dose of the substance and offer guided experiences that guide the patient toward a desired therapeutic objective.
Due to cultural rifts at the time, psychedelics were deemed illegal in the 70s with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act, which placed LSD, psilocybin and DMT in the most restrictive category, Schedule I.
In November 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize psychedelics for health and wellness use. California introduced Senate Bill 58 in December 2022 which aims to decriminalize the possession and personal use of certain natural psychedelics, specifically psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, mescaline (excluding peyote), and ibogaine.
People against the use of psychedelic-assisted treatment contend that those addicted have used some of these substances before recreationally but have not benefited from any lifestyle change or addiction interruption.
The risks of using drugs without supervision involve death and serious medical complications. In a supervised, clinical setting, clients are not frequently exposed to such extreme risks. However, they may experience side effects such as vomiting or loss of coordination, anxiety or pain.
We argue that there are markedly different results when substances are ingested with intention and facilitated in a therapeutic setting. The experience has a clear purpose, it’s not a party setting or a festival, and clients are being guided by mental health professionals. The promise of these substances now extends far beyond the ramblings of your hippie friends – legitimate scientific studies are producing statistically significant outcomes involving psychedelic-assisted rehab.
Something about US addiction treatment isn’t working; more loved ones are lost now due to overdoses than ever in our history. At our addiction treatment facility in Oceanside, we commit to the endless search for better ways to treat our community.
If you could shorten the length of rehab time required to see the spark return to your loved one’s eyes again, wouldn’t you?
Traditional programs have helped many toward healthier lives. But recovery time can be long.
We argue there are more efficient avenues to consider that don’t involve vigilantly counting days like sheep, robotically marking your calendar and patiently waiting for cravings to abide.
As a holistic rehab center, LUCID Oceanside believes your quality of life is more important to us than a sobriety date.
Psychedelic-assisted rehab allows our clients to access states of mind that may be unreachable even after years of abstinence and therapy.
The substance recovery industry is fighting against a worsening threat with one arm behind its back. At LUCID Oceanside, we believe people deserve better in the fight against addiction, and they have the right to access any and all tools to assist in their rehabilitation process, traditional or not.