Psychology

Bipolar and psychedelics: an investigation into the potential and risks

Living with bipolar can be hard. Not only can mania be dangerous but the depression is also life-threatening; folks with manic depression are much more likely to attempt and commit suicide than the general population. Yet, the hypersensitivity that is sometimes a handicap can also be a gift, one that many are unwilling to give up. And traditional pharmaceutical medication often suppresses empathy, creativity, spirituality, and concentration, among a host of other natural processes.

Benjamin Mudge, PhD, theorizes that the risk of psychedelics triggering mania in bipolar brains is not a function of the intensity of the psychedelic experience, instead is a function of the duration of the psychedelic experience. In this diagram, different psychedelic substances and serotonin (which all plug into the 5-HT2A receptor in human brains) are shown to have different receptor binding times, and cause different escalations in mood. For one, substance matters, and Mudge believes DMT might hold the most benefits for those with bipolar disorder because of its incredibly short binding time to the 5-HT2A receptor. Most psychedelics “plug into” the 2A receptor, LSD, psilocybin, and DMT included, but the length to which they stay there determines the length of a trip. So for example, (see image 1) LSD stays plugged in for the longest, which explains why it’s such a longer-lasting trip than psilocybin or simply smoking pure DMT. But Mudge theorizes the binding time also matters when determining the mania risk for the bipolar brain, that the short binding time of DMT poses less of a risk of pushing bipolar people into mania, while substances that bind for longer, like LSD, present a higher risk.

Original Article (Psychedelics Today):
Bipolar and psychedelics: an investigation into the potential and risks
Artwork Fair Use: Cybularny

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