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Psilocybin Mushroom Addiction Treatment

Psilocybin mushrooms are fungi with hallucinogenic effects. They contain psilocybin, which turns into psilocin once swallowed. Most of these mushrooms — sometimes referred to as shrooms or magic mushrooms — contain both substances. Examples include Copelandia, Gymnopilus, Inocybe, Panaeolus, Pholiotina, Pluteus and Psilocybe.

Psilocybin mushrooms are used in New Age and exotic spiritual rituals. At parties, people share them as recreational drugs. In the US, psilocin is classified as a Schedule I drug.

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Effects of Magic Mushrooms

The psychedelic effects of psilocybin are caused by psilocin, which breaks loose in the body once psilocybin mushrooms are consumed. Psilocin takes effect within 20 minutes and lasts anywhere from 6-8 hours. Magic mushrooms are not physically or psychologically addictive. The body quickly tolerates psilocybin, which dilutes its effects on the user.

The effects of psilocybin mushrooms include:

  • Euphoria – The foremost feeling associated with psychedelic mushrooms is euphoria, where the user experiences a state of supernatural bliss.
  • Relaxation – Another feeling experienced by most users is relaxation, which goes with the euphoric sensations. Users tend to feel chill, laidback, mellow and free of stress.
  • Muscle weakness – The relaxation associated with psilocybin can cause weakness in the muscles. The body is somewhat sedate in these experiences and not of maximum capacity.
  • Drowsiness – Drug-induced relaxation can also cause drowsiness. Users might pass out for an hour or two on psychedelic highs.
  • Nausea – Psychedelic mushrooms can make people feel dizzy and out of sorts. During the peak high, the user may experience muddled thoughts.
  • Lack of coordination – A related symptom of dizziness and nausea is a lack of body coordination. The user might have trouble keeping balance and walking straight lines on psychedelic mushrooms.
  • Vomiting – The nauseous feelings associated with psychedelic drugs can cause a user to vomit in more extreme cases.

The effects of psychedelic mushrooms can depend on the number of shrooms the user takes and his/her metabolism. The peak high typically lasts 3-4 hours, then slowly subsides over the next 2-4 hours.

Sensory Distortion of Psychedelic Drugs

When people take psilocybin mushrooms, the psilocin affects their sense of sight, sound, touch and perception. Experiences may include:

  • Emotional changes – People who undergo psychedelic highs often have altered emotions. Sad people become overjoyed; angry people become mellow; happy people become loopy. In some cases, pre-existing emotions get magnified on psychedelics.
  • Time distortion – Psychedelic mushrooms can mess with a person’s sense of time. An hour might seem like a day. People who meet at parties over mushrooms might feel more connected like they’ve known each other a long time.
  • Altered sense of space – Rooms may seem wider and/or taller — or thinner and/or narrower — while under the influence. Hallways might appear to go on forever.
  • Warped senses – People have altered auditory, visual, and tactile senses while on mushrooms. The user might hallucinate sounds or visuals. Ordinary sights and sounds could be altered. The texture might seem different.
  • Enhancement colors – Psychedelic drugs can cause a person to see color more vividly. Walls and furniture could appear brighter with greater contrasts.
  • Strange light phenomena – A person might see strange lights glowing or beaming across a room. He/she might see a halo over someone’s head. Real light might become brighter and more radiant.
  • Increased visual acuity – A user might see sharp, tiny details across a room (real or imagined) that would typically elude the naked eye. A close-up object could seem more nuanced and detailed, such as the grains in wood or the strands of a carpet.
  • Rippling, shimmering surfaces – An object or surface may appear to move, glow, sparkle or wave across the top.
  • Morphing objects – Anything in a room (fixtures, statues, furnishings) may appear to move, bend, warp, squeeze, stretch or become distorted.
  • Clear, distinct sounds – Sounds may have enhanced volume and clarity. In music, harmonic nuances become more pronounced. The user may hear or imagine layers and sounds that most people would miss in a song.

The auditory and visual hallucinations caused by psychedelics can result in synesthesia, where the user sees color when certain sounds are made. 

Emotional Effects of Psychedelic Drug Abuse

In most cases, emotions get altered on psychedelics. Sometimes that means the user’s pre-existing mood becomes more intense. A person with mild anxiety may become paranoid. People can also undergo multiple contradictory moods during a high.

The effects of psychedelic mushrooms can depend on the surrounding area. People who take mushrooms in cozy and peaceful settings are likely to have colorful, euphoric trips. People who take shrooms in cramped, dirty, dangerous quarters could have horrific trips.

In worst-case scenarios, shroom-ingestion can have the following effects:

  • Delusions – Psychedelics can cause people to hallucinate. For people with pre-existing mental health conditions, this can aggravate delusional symptoms. A user could come off a sequence of trips unable to distinguish fantasy from reality.
  • Panic – A user may suffer panic reactions or psychosis while under the influence. This could leave the user traumatized long after the experience.
  • Poisoning – Psilocybin mushrooms may be confused with poisonous mushrooms by inexperienced users in the wrong settings.

Due to the unpredictable nature of psilocybin mushroom effects, some people prefer to take them in the same company of regular users.

Treatment for Magic Mushroom Abuse

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While there’s no such thing as mushroom addiction, the effects of psilocybin can exacerbate mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder in certain individuals. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have dedicated studies to psychedelic therapy (or psilocybin therapy). These studies may be used for future substance abuse research.

At substance abuse treatment centers, psychedelic treatment is not typically advertised. However, the programs designed for substance addiction do include mental-health counseling, which can apply to people who abuse psychedelic drugs and mushrooms. 

Most rehab centers offer cognitive behavioral therapy and teach relapse prevention skills in accordance with the Mental Health Services Administration.

If someone you know is abusing magic mushrooms, contact a local treatment provider and ask about their programs. 

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