This is my third round of research for my second cycle. I can't believe I am half-way done with this question! Anyway, for those who don't know, my inquiry question is...
What are the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating ayahuasca in western medicine?
In my last post, @Katelyn Lachance (LFAS) suggested I give a little explanation to what ayahuasca is for those who are new to my posts. I think that is a great idea and I will definitely do that, starting now!
Ayahuasca is an Amazonian brew used in indigenous culture (mainly in Peru). It is described as a revealer not a healer. So, ayahuasca may not necessarily take your pain away with just one use; however, it can show you what negatively impacts your life the most, so you can receive the help you need. Sometimes, what you think is causing you pain, is just the surface of a much deeper and strongly-rooted problem. (1)
Thanks for the suggestion Katelyn!
Hopefully, that gave you a better grasp on what ayahuasca is. However, in this post I am going to be exploring the other side of my inquiry question, western medicine. More specifically, how it treats mental illness.
How western medicine usually treats patients with mental illness
Psychotherapy/Psychological Therapy - a treatment led by a trained professional (e.g. psychologist, psychiatrist, etc). During a session, the emotions, feelings and thought of a patient are explored and assessed to promote recovery and well-being. Sometimes, psychotherapy is paired with prescribed medication.
Medication - prescribed medication does not cure mental illness, but it definitely helps manage symptoms. However, it is important to keep in mind that many medications come with some pretty serious side effects. The usage of medication is usually paired with another type of treatment. Some examples of medications used are anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and anti-psychotic medications.
Support groups - usually a group of people who are not trained professionals but have gone through experiences that are somewhat the same. The point of a support group is to have a patient open up about their experiences and feelings to people who understand and/or feel the same way. Usually, those who's symptoms are very recent profit the most form support groups.
There are many other treatments available, but these are the ones I found to be the most common/well-known.
Do people use these treatments?
One in four people suffer/suffered from mental illness or neurological disorders during some point in their lives. Approximately 450 million people are affected by these illnesses, so mental disorders are one of the leading causes of ill-health worldwide. Like I mentioned, there are many treatment options available, but almost 2/3 of people with a known mental illness never seek help.
Why is that?
Among what I assume to be a fairly long list of reasons, discrimination, availability/cost, and stigma prevent many people with a mental illness to find treatment. Many people, are afraid to be labeled as "crazy" or "psycho": consequently, the simply "deal with it" instead of getting the help they deserve. Also, many practical barriers exist for those who would like to seek treatment. A lack of health insurance, transportation or time could also prevent someone from reaching out to someone for help. (5) (6)
Looking a little deeper into cost, the cost for anti-depressants range from $30-$200 per month in Canada and therapy in Canada ranges from $50-$240 per hour. Because it is recommended that both of these treatments be used together, it can easily become very pricy to seek help. (7) (8)
What do you think?
I have recently posted an anonymous survey in order for me to learn what you guys think about western medicine in regards to mental health! So, if you guys could check it out, that would be awesome!
Next week, I will be talking about the risks of using western medicine in regards to mental health and how it affects the human mind and body. Also, I will be making an introduction to how ayahuasca is being integrated into western medicine.
Thank you for reading! I hope you guys now have a better grasp on my question. Please leave suggestions, comments and critiques below; I love reading them and hearing your feedback! See you in my next post!!