Is Psilocybin Addictive?

There has been a lot of conversation in the news lately about psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient found in magic mushrooms, and its potential for treating issues of mental health. These are actually very interesting studies and, in some cases, have shown some exciting and positive results. However, these treatments are being done in controlled settings under the close supervision of mental health professionals. These facts are often left out of the conversation, giving many people the perception that magic mushrooms are safe to use recreationally. This is a fallacy. When engaging in the recreational use of magic mushrooms, many people forget to ask themselves, “Is psilocybin addictive?”

What Exactly Is Psilocybin?

Before we ask ourselves, “Is psilocybin addictive?” we must first ask ourselves, “What exactly is psilocybin anyway?” Yes, psilocybin is a hallucinogen, but it is important not to confuse it with other hallucinogens like LSD or MDMA. Psilocybin is organic. However, just because it is organic does not mean it is safe for human consumption. It also does not mean that psilocybin is not considered a controlled substance, despite its decriminalization in several states. This is further emphasized by its classification by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

According to the DOJ, “Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic substance obtained from certain types of mushrooms that are indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States. These mushrooms typically contain 0. 2 to 0.4 percent psilocybin and a trace amount of psilocin, another hallucinogenic substance.” There is a reason that psilocybin is often referred to as magic mushrooms or “shrooms,” because, though psilocybin can be created synthetically, nine times out of ten it is derived from fresh or dried mushrooms.

So, the question remains, “Is psilocybin addictive?” The answer is yes. However, not as many people often understand addiction and its lasting consequences on daily life.

Is Psilocybin Addictive?

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Many negative side effects can occur from magic mushroom misuse and abuse, especially noting psychological addiction. A psychological addiction is different from a physical addiction in that the body does not physically become dependent on the substance. However, it is important to note here that magic mushroom abuse is not without its potential for physical harm.

An individual who is abusing mushrooms may experience sleeplessness, lethargy, gastrointestinal problems, and continued headaches. Also, an individual who is abusing magic mushrooms often engages in significantly riskier behaviors. These behaviors can lead to bodily harm for the individual as well as those in the individual’s orbit.

Understanding Psychological Addictions

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To better answer the question, “Is psilocybin addictive?” we must better understand what a psychological addiction is. Psychological addiction is when an individual feels cognitive or emotional withdrawals from a substance. It is important to note that substance use disorder (SUD) contains this component, but also often involves physical withdrawals.

In addition, it is important to remember that a psychological addiction can, in some cases, be as dangerous as a physical addiction. The reason for this is that psychological withdrawal can cause severe anxiety and depression, which can ultimately lead to self-harm and potentially even suicide. 

There is good news, however. Psychological addiction generally does not require a physical detox at the start of the recovery process. This means that recovery can begin as soon as an individual feels they are ready. As they say in many 12-Step programs, the recovery process can begin as soon as the individual becomes ‘sick and tired’ of being ‘sick and tired.’

Treatment Options for Psilocybin Addiction

Because there is often no need for detox, the process for psilocybin addiction treatment often begins with an outpatient treatment program. Now, there are generally two outpatient programs to choose from: an intensive outpatient program (IOP) and a general outpatient program (GOP).

For individuals with psychological addictions, it is still probably best to begin with an IOP. This way they can work more closely with addiction professionals and recovery specialists to create a foundational recovery plan. From there, an individual can use that foundation to transfer down to a GOP so they can begin to more fully integrate back into their day-to-day lives.

So, next time the question, “Is psilocybin addictive?” arises, the confident answer can be yes. Also, the answer can be augmented with the positive understanding that it can be treated effectively.