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The Risks of Using 'Trip Killers' to End a Bad Psychedelic Experience

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Anthony Raphael
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The Risks of Using 'Trip Killers' to End a Bad Psychedelic Experience

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In recent years, there has been a significant resurgence in both the illicit use of psychedelics and a renewed interest in studying these substances as potential treatments for various mental health conditions. While the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics are the subject of ongoing research, it's crucial to remember that not all trips are pleasurable. Factors such as mood, dosage, and environment can significantly impact an individual's experience. Unpleasant or distressing experiences, commonly referred to as 'bad trips,' can be highly distressing and potentially dangerous.

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The Dangerous Advice on Social Media

Increasingly, individuals seeking advice on how to end a bad trip turn to social media platforms, where potentially harmful advice is often dispensed. One common suggestion is the use of 'trip killers,' substances such as antipsychotics and benzodiazepines, intended to stop or mitigate the effects of a psychedelic trip. However, recent research highlights the potential dangers of this approach.

The Risks of 'Trip Killers'

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'Trip killers' work by either blocking the 5-HT2A receptors in the brain or by reducing anxiety associated with a bad trip. However, these substances are not without risks. They are often suggested in high doses, which can be dangerous. Furthermore, benzodiazepines carry a risk of addiction, and their use should be supervised by a healthcare professional.

Safe Alternatives to 'Trip Killers'

Instead of resorting to potentially harmful 'trip killers,' there are safer alternatives to consider. Mitigating against bad trips involves taking the psychedelic in a relaxing and safe environment and having a 'trip sitter' - a sober and trusted individual who can provide reassurance and support throughout the experience. Furthermore, if an individual does experience a bad trip, they can seek help in a clinical setting, where they can be reassured and, if necessary, given an antipsychotic or a low-dose benzodiazepine under clinical supervision.

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Where to Seek Help

For those dealing with mental and/or substance use disorders, SAMHSA's National Helpline is a crucial resource. This free, confidential, 24/7 treatment referral and information service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. They received 833,598 calls in 2020, a 27 percent increase from 2019, reflecting the growing need for their services.

In conclusion, while the therapeutic potential of psychedelics is a growing field of study, it's important to remember that these substances are not without risks. Unpleasant or distressing psychedelic experiences can be mitigated through careful planning, the use of a 'trip sitter,' and seeking professional medical advice when necessary. The use of 'trip killers' should be avoided due to their potential for harm and the availability of safer alternatives.

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