Each September, National Recovery Month increases awareness and understanding of  substance use disorders (SUDs) and celebrates the people who are recovering. The month is also intended to encourage and highlight new evidence-based treatments for patients struggling with addiction. This is an important conversation to have because addiction does not discriminate. It affects people of all ages, races, socioeconomic backgrounds, and gender identities. Addiction can happen to anyone.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 20 million people in the United States are diagnosed with substance abuse disorders.

That’s almost one in ten people. Only 10% of people with SUD received treatment, and nearly 71,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2019.

Addiction is a serious problem, but there is hope. Psychedelic medicines such as psilocybin show great promise in treating addiction and supporting addiction recovery. Here’s what you need to know about National Recovery Month and how psychedelic medicines can help.

Psychedelic Medicine and Addiction Recovery

What many people don’t realize is that addiction is a complex disease. It affects people both physically and psychologically. Addiction changes brain chemistry and makes it difficult for people to break the cycle on their own. That’s where psychedelic-assisted therapy comes in.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in psychedelics as treatments for mental health conditions, like an addiction. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, is one of the most well-known psychedelics being studied for its therapeutic potential. 

Psilocybin and other entheogens can help break the cycle of addiction by treating the underlying causes of addiction, such as depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy for Addiction Recovery

Psychedelic-assisted therapy combines the practices of traditional psychotherapy with psychedelic medicines. When used in a therapeutic setting with trained professionals, they can be an incredibly effective tool for treating mental health conditions like an addiction.

Psilocybin is shown to be an effective treatment for addiction and recovery. A new study on psilocybin and alcohol dependence found that half of those treated with psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy were able to quit drinking completely by the end of the study.

Most impressively, over 80% of the people who were treated with psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy were able to reduce their drinking 8 months after their first session.

Psilocybin works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which results in increased feelings of well-being, calmness, openness, and connection. For someone who is struggling with addiction, these effects can be life-changing.

The science is stacking up, and so are the testimonials from real people whose lives have been forever changed for the better, thanks to psychedelics. People like superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and everyday people like Mary Beth Orr, are sharing their experiences with the media to break stigmas and spread awareness of the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics.

Orr says, “I spent a lot of time every day thinking about not drinking in the evening,” and “I wanted to stop but couldn’t.” Now, 3 years have passed since her last treatment with psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy and she hardly drinks at all.

Natural plant medicines such as psilocybin show great promise in treating addiction and supporting addiction recovery. Psychedelic-assisted therapy seems to be an effective treatment method for addiction thanks to its ability to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms while also increasing feelings of hope and self-efficacy.