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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    • "While this study was not quantitative, nor did it follow up on the subjects participating in this treatment program, it introduced the theory that peyote-assisted psychotherapy and potentially other psychedelics as well, could have beneficial effects on alcoholism and other addictions. Previous studies have also found that consumption of ayahuasca in a religious setting showed no evidence of harmful effects on mental or physical health, but people that suffered from addiction or other severe psychiatric disorders experienced remission (Grob et al. 1996, as cited in Da Silveira et al. 2005). "
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    • "Brazil UDV/ Brazil/ AM/ Manaus Density of platelet serotonin uptake sites No Church members ≥ 10 years (use ≥ twice a month) 10 matched subjects with no history of ayahuasca use 1 [2] 15(15,0) 38,5 (28-48) N.I. Brazil UDV/ Brazil/ AM/ Manaus Psychiatric Dx Drug Use Personality Memory Perceived effects Idem 15 matched subjects with no history of ayahuasca use 1 [31] 40 (22,18) Adolescents 16,5 (15-19) 1st year high school to 1st year college Brazil UDV/ Brazil/ SP e DF/ São Paulo e Brasília Memory and attention processes No ≥24 ayahuasca ritual attendance throughout the previous 2 yrs 40 matched subjects with no history of ayahuasca use 1 [29] Idem Idem Idem Brazil Idem Psychiatric morbidity No Idem Idem 1 [25] 41 (N.I) Idem Idem Brazil Idem Drug use No Idem 43 machted subjects with no history of ayahuasca use 1 [36] "
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