This mixed-method study (n=608) explored prolonged adverse effects following psychedelic use, revealing extended challenges persisting for weeks, months, or even years in some cases. One-third of participants experienced problems for over a year, with a sixth enduring these difficulties for over three years. Factors such as knowledge of dosage, drug type, and lower reported difficulty during the experience influenced the duration and range of these challenges. In contrast, guided settings during drug intake appeared to narrow the spectrum of problems.
Abstract of Extended difficulties following the use of psychedelic drugs: A mixed methods study
“The long-term adverse effects of psychedelic use, which can persist for weeks, months, or even years, is a significant but relatively unexplored area in psychedelic research. Our mixed-method study gained quantitative and qualitative data from 608 participants who reported extended difficulties following psychedelic experiences. Data was gathered on the context of use, the nature and duration of the challenges they experienced (including a written description of these), plus a range of possible risk factors and perceived causes. The most common forms of extended difficulty were feelings of anxiety and fear, existential struggle, social disconnection, depersonalization and derealization. For approximately one-third of the participants, problems persisted for over a year, and for a sixth, they endured for more than three years. It was found that a shorter duration of difficulties was predicted by knowledge of dose, drug type and lower levels of difficulty reported during the psychoactive experience, while a narrower range of difficulties was predicted by taking the drug in a guided setting. Implications for psychedelic harm reduction are discussed.”
Authors: Jules Evans, Oliver Robinson, Eirini Ketzitzidou-Argyri, Shayam Suseelan, Ashleigh Murphy-Beiner & Rosalind McAlpine
Summary of Extended difficulties following the use of psychedelic drugs: A mixed methods study
Psychedelic drugs have been consumed by humans for thousands of years for religious worship, healing, magic, recreation or personal development. Western culture rediscovered these drugs in the late 19th to mid-20th century and has since seen a revival of optimism.
Interest in psychedelic drugs has proliferated in Western countries in the last few years, with many US states and cities having decriminalized some psychedelic drugs. Clinical trials for psychedelic therapy are close to gaining FDA approval in the US.
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Evans, J., Robinson, O., Ketzitzidou-Argyri, E., Suseelan, S., Murphy-Beiner, A., & McAlpine, R. (2023). Extended Difficulties Following the Use of Psychedelic Drugs: A Mixed Methods Study. Available at SSRN 4505228.