A lot of users of psychedelic substances have experienced a bad trip at least once in their trip-career. But what is a bad trip, and how can we prevent them? Well, a bad trip is a panic reaction that can occur after using a psychedelic or hallucinogenic agent, such as LSD or magic mushrooms. Since the word “trip” has always referred to the effects of psychedelic drugs, panic reactions resulting from alcohol use are usually not called a bad trip.
What is a bad trip?
When a bad trip occurs, there are usually some existing psychological problems and / or a combination of various drugs, including alcohol. As a rule, bad trips occur when the product is used in a restless environment and without proper preparation and guidance. A bad trip can express itself as follows: Terrifying visions, with eyes closed or open, Distortion of other people’s faces, Being unable to grasp what is going on, Think that the trip will never end, A recurring negative spiral of thought, Fear of people in the area, or extreme unrest, Aggression against themselves or people in the environment.
People who end up in a bad trip usually don’t see an easy way out. In that context, one could do stupid things and injure themselves. In some cases, the user forgets that he has used a psychedelic substance, or it may be thought that delusions are real or will not go away, or that the world has turned against him. This can lead to calling in help from an ambulance or hospitalization. In the vast majority of cases, assistance from ambulance personnel on site is sufficient. Some people have to be admitted to hospital, but can return home after a few hours.
Bad trip prevention
The best way to prevent a bad trip is preventive. It is best not to use psychedelic agents if you do not feel well physically or mentally. More important is the place and the company: in a strange, busy environment, the chance of a bad trip is greater than when you trip at home, in the presence of an experienced “sitter”.
In most cases, someone who has a bad trip can be calmed by someone he or she trusts. That person can repeatedly let the victim know that his fears are the result of drug use and that the effects will disappear within a few hours. But since concepts such as “drug use” and “a few hours” are not easily understood by the person undergoing the experience, this does not always make sense to them. Moreover, many of the effects are not the result of drug use, but of what the person in question has experienced throughout his life, such as emotional and physical trauma, or current problems such as stress, heartache etc.
Because the bad trip is a psychic effect, suggestion can work well. If the person believes that the effects change under certain circumstances, then that is often the case. Psychotherapist Stanislav Grof, however, warns that caution must be exercised with suggestion, because the person is also very sensitive to manipulation and lies under the influence of the substance, and applying suggestion could damage the important relationship of trust.
Sugar and vitamin C
Sugars can raise blood sugar levels, which, according to some, may reduce the effect of psychedelics, but there is no scientific explanation for this principle. Another view is that Vitamin C could reduce the intensity of the trip or even allow it to end, but there is no pharmacological explanation for that either.
It is important to realize that bad trips usually do not have to do with the intensity of the drug, but with the intensity of the underlying emotional processes. There are those who believe that when a trip is properly processed and integrated, it can be particularly beneficial, even if some phases of the trip were frightening. But if natural progress is interrupted and the symptoms of these types of emotional processes are suppressed by unnecessary use of sedatives or interference from people who themselves have no experience with psychedelic agents, they can be troubled for a long time.
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