Classic Psychedelic Use and Mechanisms of Mental Health: Exploring the Mediating Roles of Spirituality and Emotion Processing on Symptoms of Anxiety, Depressed Mood, and Disordered Eating in a Community Sample

This survey study (n=159) tested a model examining the associations between frequency of psychedelic use, self-reported spirituality, and difficulties with emotion regulation. It was found that classic psychedelic use predicted greater spirituality, which predicted better emotion regulation, ultimately leading to lower levels of anxiety, depressed mood and disordered eating. Several limitations exist including a lack of causality and a diverse sample.

Abstract

“A resurgence of research has begun to systematically examine the relationship between psychedelic use and mental health and well-being. Although preliminary findings examining the therapeutic value of these substances show promise, the mechanisms through which psychedelic use may predict reduced mental distress remain poorly understood. To this end, we surveyed a community sample of individuals (n = 159) who endorsed lifetime psychedelic use to examine relationships among psychedelic use and self-reported spirituality, difficulties in emotion regulation, and symptoms of mental health issues. Results revealed a pathway through which classic psychedelic use predicted greater spirituality, which in turn predicted better emotion regulation, ultimately predicting lower levels of anxiety, depressed mood, and disordered eating. These results contribute to our understanding of potential mechanisms of change with respect to psychedelics and mental health. They also add to the growing body of literature pointing to the healing effects of the cultivation of spirituality and emotion regulation as separate and related constructs.”

Authors: Adele Lafrance, Erin Strahan, Brian M. Bird, Michelle St. Pierre & Zach Walsh

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