September 30, 2023

Reinventing Yourself – How Psychedelics May Help Change Unwanted Behaviors

University of Cincinnati postdoctoral researcher Neşe Devenot studies psychedelics in UCs Institute of Research in Sensing. University of Cincinnati postdoctoral scientist Neşe Devenot studies psychedelics in UCs Institute of Research in Sensing. Some individuals stated the treatment with psilocybin made giving up feel simple compared to past experiences.” Psychedelics have been compared to skiing in fresh snow. Some scientists suggest that you might have more freedom to navigate your skis anywhere down the mountain,” she stated.

An image illustration of the mind. University of Cincinnati postdoctoral researcher Neşe Devenot studies psychedelics in UCs Institute of Research in Sensing. Credit: Andrew Higley and Margaret Weiner
Individuals had the ability to quit smoking by seeing themselves as nonsmokers.
Psychedelic compounds have the potential to help people in modifying undesirable habits by facilitating a re-examination and re-imagination of their self-perception.
A team of scientists from the University of Cincinnati analyzed the post-treatment journals of individuals in a 2014 research study on smoking cigarettes cessation, which concluded that psychedelics achieved success in helping some people in quitting smoking for years.
In a brand-new paper published in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, researchers examined the participants own words and discovered that psychedelics combined with talk treatment typically helped longtime smokers see themselves as nonsmokers. This brand-new core identity might help discuss why 80% of individuals had the ability to stop smoking for six months and 60% remained smoking-free after 5 years.

The 2014 research study by scientists at Johns Hopkins University discovered that individuals who wished to quit cigarette smoking and used psilocybin, the active hallucinogenic ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, integrated with cognitive behavior modification were much more most likely to prosper than those who try other standard quit-smoking techniques.
University of Cincinnati postdoctoral scientist Neşe Devenot research studies psychedelics in UCs Institute of Research in Sensing. Here she holds up a magic mushroom a student crocheted for her. Credit: Andrew Higley
Lead author and University of Cincinnati postdoctoral scientist Neşe Devenot stated the outcomes show the potential psychedelics need to reshape self-perceptions to assist individuals break devoid of old habits or addictions in the face of lifes day-to-day triggers and temptations.
” We saw once again and once again that individuals had this sensation that they were finished with smoking cigarettes and that they were a nonsmoker now,” Devenot said.
She studies the science, history, and culture of psychedelics in UCs Institute for Research in Sensing.
Devenot stated this brand-new sense of self may assist equip individuals versus temptation or old triggers.
” If you desire to quit meat but you smell a tasty steak, it might be hard to withstand,” she stated. “But if you recognize as a vegetarian and your sense of who you are is somebody who does not consume meat, that identity assists motivate a different choice.”
Throughout the smoking cessation study, therapists provided individuals directed imagery exercises in which they were asked to imagine smoking cigarettes as a behavior external to their core identity. The participants documented their experience in composing.
One guided images exercise from the research study framed nicotine addiction as an external force, manipulating habits for its own ends like the zombie-creating fungi in HBOs popular series “The Last of Us.”
” Like the Cordyceps fungi that functionally changes insects into zombified marionettes to serve the fungis own reproductive functions, smoking cigarettes behavior is characterized as a kind of parasitic adjustment,” the study discovered.
Albert Garcia-Romeu, an assistant teacher of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University, said psilocybin might function as a catalyst to help encourage and motivate people to make a modification with the assistance of cognitive behavior modification.
” Cognitive behavioral treatment asks us to tune into the ideas and feelings that we experience in our daily lives and how those relate to our behaviors,” Garcia-Romeu stated. “In turn, individuals frequently tend to develop a narrative or sense of self around those behaviors and cognitions.
” This sets the stage for in fact having the psilocybin experience, which can both supply unique insights and perspectives as well as serve as a marker of that identity shift like an initiation rite, symbolizing the change for circumstances from smoker to nonsmoker.”
Devenot said the experiments sample size was fairly small at simply 15 individuals. But the outcomes are motivating.
” I feel that I am somehow fundamentally various to yesterday,” one individual wrote. “I guess I seem like some sort of transformation has taken location!”
Some participants stated the treatment with psilocybin made stopping feel easy compared to past experiences. Another stated the cravings for nicotine used to be intolerable. Throughout the dosing session, the participant was not able even to imagine craving a cigarette.
” The idea appears strongly cemented into my reality even today, that cravings are not something that are real,” one stated.
How do psychedelics assist with this transformation?
Devenot says individuals frequently get stuck in the very same ruts of habits, responding the exact same way to stressors or other triggers. She compares it to a downhill skier who utilizes the same grooved course down the mountain that they have actually used a thousand other times.
” Its not that simple, but its a metaphor for how we speak about psychedelics,” Devenot stated.
” Psychedelics have actually been compared to snowboarding in fresh snow. Some researchers suggest that you may have more flexibility to navigate your skis anywhere down the mountain,” she said. “The entrenched grooves of bad habits might not have as much pull on our skis, so we can set other courses.
” Were looking for ways to help individuals shift behaviors and overcome the inertia of their practices that are more in line with their goals and aspirations,” Devenot said. “Thats why psychedelics are of broader interest to researchers.”
Recommendation: “Psychedelic Identity Shift: A Critical Approach to Set And Setting” by Neşe Devenot, Aidan Seale-Feldman, Elyse Smith, Tehseen Noorani, Albert Garcia-Romeu and Matthew W. Johnson, December 2022, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal.DOI: 10.1353/ ken.2022.0022.
Related short article: Psychedelics Have Huge Potential, But Financial Interests Could Corrupt Them.