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What Does a Psychedelic Therapy Health Screening Look For?

Can you imagine telling someone there’s a therapy where you can interact with yourself on a different level of consciousness? One that can help you rewire your brain and allow you to release old patterns? 

Imagine explaining how this therapy has the potential to help treat a range of mental health conditions, and telling someone that this treatment can be experienced in less than a day’s time?

People would say you’ve discovered a miracle! And in many ways, this way of healing is transcendental. Yet, depending on who you speak to, when you tell them this therapy’s made possible through the use of psychedelics, they may feel more or less interested. 

Due to the years of stigma surrounding psychedelics, psychedelic therapy is still gaining momentum. But it’s no surprise that as the scientific community discovers more long term therapeutic benefits, interest in psychedelic therapy will continue to rise.

While the idea of psychedelic therapy interests many people, many are still unsure of what the psychedelic therapy process actually looks like. You might be aware of steps like setting an intention and surrendering, but how about the health screening process? 

To prioritize the utmost safety of the journeyer, completing a health screening is vital. Since this aspect of psychedelic therapy is so necessary, yet rarely discussed, we thought we’d go into more detail here today, about what exactly a health screening looks like.   

An Overview of a Psychedelic Therapy Health Screening

While the specific protocols for these screenings may exhibit slight variations depending on the specific psychedelic substance and the approach of the individual facilitator, they generally encompass comprehensive assessments aimed at evaluating your mental and physical well-being to ascertain the suitability of the experience for you.

Typically conducted via telephone or video chat, these screenings entail a candid and open dialogue between you and the facilitator, relying on your capacity to provide accurate and truthful responses to self-reporting inquiries pertaining to your overall welfare.

The objective of these screenings is to gather pertinent information regarding your holistic state as an individual, encompassing an assessment of your physical health, as well as your mental and emotional well-being.

Moreover, facilitators seek to comprehend your motivations for seeking psychedelic therapy and your underlying intentions, thereby ensuring a genuine alignment between you and psychedelic therapy.

Assessing Physical Suitability for Psychedelic Therapy

Think of your body as the sacred abode that shelters your being—an intricate vessel that safeguards your essence. Before granting entry to an external influence, it is imperative to ensure that this dwelling is structurally sound, inviting, and well-prepared to embrace a new guest.

In much the same way, before embarking on the transformative journey of psychedelic medicine, it becomes paramount to ascertain that your physical body is harmoniously equipped to accommodate and engage with these profound substances.

To determine this crucial alignment, the adept facilitator will pose a series of inquiries about your physical health, seeking to unravel a comprehensive understanding of whether the realm of psychedelics harmonizes with your unique physical vessel.

The condition of your physical self plays a pivotal role in determining your eligibility for psychedelic therapy, as certain factors may altogether exclude the possibility. For instance, age restrictions—such as being under 21—or the state of pregnancy might preclude one from partaking in this therapeutic approach.

Additionally, divulging pertinent information about pre-existing medical conditions, allergies, medications, as well as previous surgeries or hospitalizations assumes paramount importance during your screening. These factors hold the potential to shape the trajectory of your psychedelic therapy journey, possibly influencing your eligibility for further stages of the process. 

Given the profound impact of psychedelics on the body, it becomes imperative to ascertain the presence of any pre-existing medical conditions. During the health screening, you will be specifically asked about known medical conditions, with a particular focus on cardiovascular and respiratory ailments. 

This emphasis arises from the fact that the intensified sensations experienced during the peak of a psychedelic journey can lead to heightened blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. Therefore, conditions that affect the heart and breathing patterns can be further influenced by psychedelics, potentially necessitating caution or abstaining from their use altogether. 

High or low blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, a personal or family history of epilepsy/seizures, and other relevant factors are essential to discuss during the screening to determine the safety of psychedelic therapy.

Medications, Drugs, and Psychedelics: An Interplay to Consider

In-depth conversations during the screening process will explore your current medication regimen, encompassing prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, plant medicines, and supplements. Understanding the chemical compounds present in your body, including those planned for consumption alongside the psychedelic substance, is vital. 

Interactions between medications and psychedelics can influence their respective effects, with certain medications, like SSRIs and antidepressants, known to dampen the impact of psychedelics. Conversely, tricyclic medications can intensify psychedelic hallucinations. 

Furthermore, the combination of psychedelics with antidepressants can pose potential dangers, as both impact serotonin levels, potentially leading to serotonin syndrome. Beyond conventional pharmaceuticals, the use of other drugs, plant medicines like cannabis, and various herbs and supplements can also influence your biochemistry and shape the psychedelic experience. 

It is crucial to disclose all medications, medicines, and drugs you are taking or planning to take to ensure safety and minimize contraindications, allowing for a secure and enriching journey.

Psychedelics and Mental Health: A Complex Intersection

Psychedelics possess the remarkable potential to transform mental health conditions, with many individuals expressing the sensation of receiving years’ worth of therapy in a single session. These powerful compounds exhibit healing effects on conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health challenges, underscoring their significance in altering one’s mental state. 

Consequently, obtaining a comprehensive understanding of your mental health history becomes instrumental in determining the potential benefits of psychedelic therapy as a future treatment. It is essential to disclose past or current mental health conditions, including diagnoses, symptoms, treatments, history of trauma, substance abuse, or previous suicidal ideations during the screening. 

While psychedelic therapy can be profoundly transformative for many, it is vital to acknowledge that a “one size fits all” approach does not always apply, and certain individuals may be at risk of experiencing more harm than good. Individuals with a diagnosis or history of psychosis or schizophrenia are recommended to abstain from hallucinogenic substances for safety reasons. 

Similarly, conditions like bipolar disorder require heightened vigilance due to the potential of psychedelic trips triggering manic episodes. Deep understanding and diligent assessment are paramount when considering the intersection of psychedelics and bipolar disorder.

Assessing Mental Health Symptoms

Understanding the intricate interplay between mental health symptoms and psychedelics is crucial for ensuring safety and efficacy. Facilitators place particular emphasis on identifying symptoms such as thoughts or urges of self-harm or suicide, as heightened stimulation during psychedelic experiences can potentially amplify unhealthy impulses.

A cautious approach is recommended for individuals experiencing these thoughts, advising against embarking on a psychedelic journey alone. Moreover, the facilitator will inquire about other symptoms such as flashbacks, panic attacks, dissociation, and more, as these factors can significantly impact the approach to psychedelic treatment. 

Consulting with an experienced psychedelic facilitator regarding your mental health symptoms is an essential component of the health screening process, ensuring the safest possible interaction with these transformative substances.

Exploring Personal & Family Medical History

Each individual possesses a profoundly unique personal history, filled with strengths and challenges. The facilitator seeks to uncover important aspects of your history, including trauma, substance abuse, and previous suicidal ideations. 

Even if these aspects may not appear to significantly impact your present life, psychedelics have the ability to transcend time and alter our perception of past and present. Understanding various elements of your past is essential in comprehending the different mental landscapes you may traverse during your journey. 

For instance, the presence of PTSD or a history of trauma can influence the selection of an appropriate psychedelic substance, as certain substances have a greater propensity to evoke temporal shifts. Additionally, gaining insights into your family’s mental health conditions, medical history, or substance abuse can aid the facilitator in determining the suitability of psychedelic therapy. 

Genetic predispositions to conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia may necessitate caution, as psychedelics have been reported to potentially trigger manic episodes or schizophrenic tendencies in susceptible individuals.

Evaluating Previous Treatments

Exploring the treatments you have pursued or are currently undertaking for mental health challenges holds significance during the screening process. The facilitator will inquire about your engagement in conventional talk therapy, medication usage, and other healing modalities, as this information helps shape the integration of psychedelic therapy into your healing journey. 

Additionally, understanding the coping skills you have acquired, such as breathwork or mindfulness practices, provides insights into your emotional regulation techniques, enabling safer navigation through the journey and integration process. 

The impact of medications on the psychedelic experience is substantial, especially antidepressants, making it crucial to disclose all medications, both past and present. Comprehensive discussions regarding your treatments, medications, and their potential interactions with psychedelics are indispensable in ensuring the health and safety of prospective journeyers.

Contextualizing Current Life Circumstances

In addition to exploring specific symptoms and treatments, the facilitator seeks to gain an understanding of your present life circumstances. Inquiry may revolve around self-care practices, daily habits, stress levels, home environment, and interpersonal connections. Comprehending the stability of your living conditions, routines, and relationships is invaluable information for the facilitator. 

During periods of recent trauma, loss, or significant life changes, the advisability of engaging in psychedelics may be influenced by the already precarious nature of your reality. Openly discussing these components with your facilitator aids in determining the optimal timing for your psychedelic therapy, ensuring a safe and well supported experience.

Speak to a Psychedelic Professional

Whether your facilitator asks about your daily habits, your grandma’s heart problem, or your relationship with your best friend, as odd as it may seem, they all share the same root. At the end of the day, the main thing they’re trying to determine through these questions is how safe and successful psychedelic therapy may or may not be for you.  

We hope you found this article helpful and informative for understanding the psychedelic therapy health screening process. Looking to partake in a psychedelic experience yourself? Or perhaps you just want to speak with someone regarding all-things-psychedelic? We empower you to connect with our network of pre-vetted local guides booking a consultation. 

If you’d like to learn more about psychedelics in general, we have plenty of helpful articles like this one that you can check out on our resources page. Well, that’s all for now friends! Thanks for reading, and as always, safe and mindful journeying! 

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At Psychedelic Passage, we offer professional 1-on-1 guidance and companionship on your journey of healing. We simply can't sit back and let Americans continue to sit in silent suffering trying to battle mental health issues within a broken health care system, all while knowing that effective alternatives exist. We stand for the sacred, at-home, ceremonial use of psychedelics for consciousness exploration, which we believe to be a fundamental human right.

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