Letter: A word of caution about psychedelics

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I wish I’d known about your story sooner [“Shroom for Improvement: WNC Explores Psychedelic Mushrooms for Mental Health,” Jan. 25, Xpress]. I had two professionally guided experiences with MDMA three years ago for severe depression, and while they were transformative, I also suffered serotonin crashes both times that left me suicidal. It was a nightmare. I had to do transcranial magnetic stimulation and start antidepressants again. It took months to feel anything but extreme despair.

I always warn others about this and have discussed it with the big guns at MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies). Apparently, this is a huge risk for anyone who has responded to SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) meds. You have to have been off the meds for at least six months before your journey, so levels are very low to begin with. MDMA and psilocybin work by causing a spike in serotonin, but then your level plummets. Many people can bounce back, but not those of us with low serotonin needing SSRIs.

— Name withheld upon request
Flat Rock


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.