Article

Ayahuasca in adolescence: a preliminary psychiatric assessment.

Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil.
Journal of psychoactive drugs (Impact Factor: 1.1). 07/2005; 37(2):129-33. DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2005.10399792
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ayahuasca is believed to be harmless for those (including adolescents) drinking it within a religious setting. Nevertheless controlled studies on the mental/ psychiatric status of ritual hallucinogenic ayahuasca concoction consumers are still lacking. In this study, 40 adolescents from a Brazilian ayahuasca sect were compared with 40 controls matched on sex, age, and educational background for psychiatric symptomatology. Screening scales for depression, anxiety, alcohol consumption patterns (abuse), attentional problems, and body dysmorphic disorders were used. It was found that, compared to controls, considerable lower frequencies of positive scoring for anxiety, body dismorphism, and attentional problems were detected among ayahuasca-using adolescents despite overall similar psychopathological profiles displayed by both study groups. Low frequencies of psychiatric symptoms detected among adolescents consuming ayahuasca within a religious context may reflect a protective effect due to their religious affiliation. However further studies on the possible interference of other variables in the outcome are necessary.

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