This retrospective online survey (n=160) investigates the impact of naturalistic psychedelic experiences on alcohol use (AUD) and related measures. The results indicate a significant reduction in the mean number of drinking days per week and AUDIT scores after the psychedelic experience. Subjects who quit or reduced drinking had a more severe AUD and lower psychological flexibility before the psychedelic session. The study suggests that positive health outcomes, including reduced alcohol use and dependency, may be associated with the intensity of the mystical experience and an increase in psychological flexibility.
Abstract of Reduction of alcohol use and increase in psychological flexibility after a naturalistic psychedelic experience
“Introduction: Alcohol use can be significantly associated with negative social, professional, and health outcomes. Even more so, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a critical public health issue and major avoidable risk factor. This study aimed to examine the effect of a naturalistic psychedelic experience on alcohol use and related measures.
Methods: A retrospective online survey was conducted on 160 individuals who reported a psychedelic experience and a concomitant drinking habit but did not necessarily have an AUD. Demographic data, characteristics of the psychedelic experience, and changes in alcohol consumption and psychological flexibility were surveyed.
Results: The mean number of drinking days per week and AUDIT scores significantly decreased after the psychedelic experience (P < .001). Subjects who quit or reduced drinking had a more severe AUD (P < .01) and lower psychological flexibility (P = .003) before the psychedelic session. Alcohol use reduction was significantly associated with the intensity of the mystical experience (P = .03). Psychological flexibility increased more in participants who reduced their alcohol use (P < .001), and the change in psychological flexibility was one of the predictors of alcohol use improvement (P = .003).
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that a naturalistic psychedelic experience could be associated with a reduction in alcohol use and dependency. Such positive health outcomes can be associated with the intensity of the mystical experience as well as an increase in psychological flexibility.”
Authors: Ewen Kervadec, Baptiste Fauvel, Lana Strika-Bruneau, Ammar Amirouche, Vincent Verroust, Pascale Piolino, Bruno Romeo & Amine Benyamina
Summary of Reduction of alcohol use and increase in psychological flexibility after a naturalistic psychedelic experience: a retrospective survey
Excessive alcohol consumption is detrimental to health, productivity, and interpersonal functioning, and is one of the largest avoidable risk factors for population health. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) affects 5.1% of the global population, and current pharmacological and psychological treatments are limited.
Psychedelics have been investigated as potential treatment options for multiple psychiatric and substance use disorders, including alcohol misuse and abstinence. However, past research may have lacked methodological rigor, and there is a recent renewed interest in what has now been dubbed the “psychedelic renaissance”.
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Kervadec, E., Fauvel, B., Strika-Bruneau, L., Amirouche, A., Verroust, V., Piolino, P., ... & Benyamina, A. (2023). Reduction of alcohol use and increase in psychological flexibility after a naturalistic psychedelic experience: a retrospective survey. Alcohol and Alcoholism, agad078.
Alcohol Use Disorder