This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

How Do Ayahuasca and Other Psychadelics Affect the Brain?

How Ayahuasca (DMT) Affects the Inner Workings of the Brain Explained

 Ayahuasca hyper activates the Neo-cortex, the brain region where we perceive, reason, and make decisions.  It also activates the amygdala which stores our early emotional memories, in particular the very significant ones such as a death in the family.  It also activates the Insula which forms a bridge between our emotional urges and our ability to make decisions.  The Insula is where "feeling states" are created.  Our brains try to understand new experiences in terms of previous ones that are stored, especially those that are very strong or traumatic.  This creates imprints in the brain which are essentially pathways of repeated responses.  The more often the input is met and the pathway is activated, the stronger the pathway becomes.  They are built up like scar tissue.  Ayahuasca hyper activates the entire part of the brain that stores and processes emotional memories, and it may uncover memories that had been forgotten.  When hyper activated the brain is able to consciously over ride these entrenched pathways and create new responses to stimulii.  This often results in people who have used Ayahuasca gaining new perspectives on past experiences and being freed from earlier entrenched responses that where not serving them.

Mystical experiences occasioned by the hallucinogen psilocybin lead to increases in the personality domain of openness 

 "A large body of evidence, including longitudinal analyses of personality change, suggests that core personality traits are predominantly stable after age 30. To our knowledge, no study has demonstrated changes in personality in healthy adults after an experimentally manipulated discrete event. Intriguingly, double-blind controlled studies have shown that the classic hallucinogen psilocybin occasions personally and spiritually significant mystical experiences that predict long-term changes in behaviors, attitudes and values. In the present report we assessed the effect of psilocybin on changes in the five broad domains of personality – Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. Consistent with participant claims of hallucinogen-occasioned increases in aesthetic appreciation, imagination, and creativity, we found significant increases in Openness following a high-dose psilocybin session. In participants who had mystical experiences during their psilocybin session, Openness remained significantly higher than baseline more than 1 year after the session. The findings suggest a specific role for psilocybin and mystical-type experiences in adult personality change."