Psychedelic Drugs: The Cure For ‘COVID Isolation Syndrome’?

Governments around the world are in the process of destroying the mental health of billions as they attempt to protect the physical health of millions.

Government lockdowns due to COVID-19 are already having a significant mental health impact on roughly half of all adults as a result of the social isolation.

There is something that governments can do today to address the (much larger) mental health pandemic: legalize psychedelic drugs.





The COVID-19 pandemic will pass. Perhaps in spite of just as much as because of the efforts of our governments to “fight” the pandemic. Sadly, in the 21st century, Western governments now seem to view everything as some form of “war”.

While the virus will pass, what won’t go away (on their own) are the mental health scars for billions of people across the planet.

The TWO global pandemics

Psychedelic Stock Watch recently took a close look at the spike in serious mental health problems that is a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and oppressive government lockdowns.
 
The numbers are appalling. Roughly 1 in 6 people around the world were already grappling with stress-related disorders like depression, anxiety, addiction and PTSD before the coronavirus pandemic struck.



It’s difficult to find global numbers on anxiety and PTSD. But even if we look at just depression and substance abuse, for every person infected with COVID-19 (including the 80+% who are cured) there were already ten people with mental health disorders – prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 1 billion are addicted to nicotine alone. This is responsible for over 480,000 deaths just in the U.S. every year [source: CDC] – nearly equal to the total number of U.S. COVID-19 deaths.

Thanks to the enormous amount of additional lockdown-stress, rates of (in particular) depression, anxiety and substance abuse have soared. The result is that today as many as 1 in 4 people now suffer from some form of serious mental health disorder.

But this doesn’t mean that the other 75% of us are “mentally healthy”. Far from it.

There is a secondary mental health catastrophe emerging.

We are all seeing our mental health degenerate, slowly and steadily, with each additional month of the COVID pandemic – and associated lockdowns.

COVID Isolation Syndrome

A recent article in the New York Intelligencer put some numbers on the mass-deterioration of mental health that is directly caused by the social isolation that accompanies COVID lockdowns.
 
A small percentage of self-described introverts and loners are actually thriving from the reduced social interaction resulting from COVID lockdowns. But everyone else is slowly-and-steadily getting ill – mentally ill.

Already:
 
According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, many adults “feel uneasy about adjusting to in-person interactions once the pandemic ends.” (57 percent of Black adults, 51 percent of Asian adults, 50 percent of Hispanic adults, and 47 percent of white adults said they somewhat/strongly agree with that sentiment.) [emphasis mine]

Now we are no longer talking about “1 in 6 people” or “1 in 4 people”. What we see today is that roughly half of adults are already experiencing COVID-related anxiety due to the reduced social interaction brought on by COVID lockdowns.

COVID Isolation Syndrome.

That’s not the official name for this emerging mental health catastrophe. For there to be an official name, our governments and healthcare systems would first have to stop ignoring this serious issue.

What is absolutely despicable about the negligence of government and healthcare officials regarding this additional mental health catastrophe is that this was absolutely predictable.

One of the major problems with our prisons is that after any extended period of incarceration, it is very difficult for an ex-convict to adjust to life in an “open society” (remember what that was like?). And this mental health phenomenon is in no way confined to the penal system.

As a young man, I spent several years working ‘in the bush’ (logging, mining and construction camps) as I was putting myself through university.

I actually took a full year off school, working in a mining camp to build my savings. Even though I was able to go home every second weekend, by the end of that year I experienced significant adjustment pains in re-socializing with broader society.

The people who did this as their full-time careers were in much worse shape. Most were obviously socially awkward and introverted. Some chose to never leave the camp – even during their down time.

Self-imprisonment.

That’s a pretty significant mental health issue. And half of all adults are already starting down that road – while some Western governments re-intensify lockdowns.

Addressing COVID Isolation Syndrome

Let’s assume that there is actually a valid purpose to these oppressive government lockdowns. And we’ll ignore states like Texas and Florida who seem to be thriving by eliminating lockdowns and mandatory isolation.

Even if these lockdowns serve a purpose, it is absolutely unacceptable for our governments to destroy the mental health of billions as they attempt to protect the physical health of millions.

The numbers are unequivocal.

For every person who has been infected with COVID globally (including the 80+% who are cured), there are ten people with some form of serious mental health disorder.

There are two global pandemics today. Our governments obsess 100% about the smaller pandemic while totally ignoring the larger pandemic – the Mental Health Crisis.

What should our governments do? To start with, all COVID policy-makers need to start thinking.

Before they pass some new, authoritarian COVID “rule”: think. How do they enact the regulation while keeping any additional impact on mental health to a minimum?

If there is no way to minimize the mental health impact, that’s a pretty good indication they should just scrap the crazy proposed “rule” (and give their heads a good shake while they’re at it).

Are psychedelic drugs the cure for COVID Isolation Syndrome?

At almost the same time that the numbers of people suffering from COVID Isolation Syndrome were being revealed via the American Psychological Association figures in the Intelligencer article, a Forbes article came out showing that (surprise! surprise!) psychedelic drugs may provide the solution.
 
Psychedelics In Groups? First Study Of Its Kind Shows Potential For Collective Settings

There has been no data to quantify the potential value to the individual stemming from the collective dimension of group psychedelic experiences, until now: a recently published study has shown that consuming psychedelics in a group setting like a ceremony or retreat could lead to increases in wellbeing, social connectedness and other improvements to mental health. [emphasis mine]

As noted in the preceding excerpt, there is nothing new about “group therapy” involving psychedelic drugs. The ceremonial rituals of many aboriginal cultures (seemingly) represent this precisely.

With ~50% of adults already starting to experience COVID Isolation Syndrome, it would appear that there is a very large need (and market) for a form of group therapy that “could lead to increases in wellbeing, social connectedness and other improvements to mental health.”

An apparent antidote for COVID Isolation Syndrome.

Legalizing psychedelics: from ‘a good idea’ to a mandatory imperative


When the Mental Health Crisis ‘only’ afflicted a little over 1 billion people, legalizing psychedelics drugs for medicinal use already looked like a good idea. A very good idea.

However, we now have a Mental Health Crisis that is spiralling out of control, with as many as 1 in 4 people (1.5 to 2 billion people) having some form of serious mental health issue.

We also now have a secondary Mental Health Crisis where (already) roughly half of all adults are experiencing COVID Isolation Syndrome (and we know that children are also widely affected).

Legalizing psychedelic drugs for medicinal use is no longer merely “a good idea”. It is a mandatory imperative for our governments – at least as high a priority as COVID vaccination development and distribution.

It is absolutely unacceptable for our governments to destroy the mental health of billions as they attempt to protect the physical health of millions.

This is especially true when there is something that these governments could be doing today to reduce the catastrophic mental health impact from their ‘war’ against the COVID-19 virus. Legalize psychedelic drugs.

Multinational drug companies (i.e. Big Pharma) had 50 years to come up with effective medications for mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and PTSD – the half-century of misguided criminalization of psychedelic drugs.

The pharmaceutical industry failed, miserably. Indeed, the drug industry has largely even stopped trying to devise better drugs for mental health disorders. By 2016, Big Pharma had already slashed R&D funding for new mental health drugs by 70%.

Psychedelic drugs are not the best choice to address the worsening Mental Health Crisis.

They are our only hope.
 
While governments remain asleep-at-the-wheel regarding the mental health pandemic, psychedelic drug development is already advancing rapidly.

Clinical trials for psychedelics-based therapies for depression, anxiety and PTSD are all at Phase II or later. Clinical trials for psychedelics-based therapies to address the many forms of substance abuse are not far behind.


But all this exciting clinical research could quickly crash into a regulatory roadblock – if governments can’t take enough time away from creating their COVID police states to legalize the medicinal use of psychedelics.

Rational choices for serious problems

For a healthy person aged 35-44 the chance of dying from COVID-19 is 1 in 21,626 [source: Cambridge University]. For younger, healthy people, the risk of dying is much less.

However, these same healthy people have roughly a 1 in 4 chance of developing a serious mental health disorder, largely due to the increase in stress caused by COVID-19 lockdowns.

And (at least) ½ of these same, healthy people are at risk of developing COVID Isolation Syndrome – the longer that governments persist with their oppressive lockdowns.

In any broader, rational approach to the overall health catastrophe unfolding today, mental health protection has to be at least an equal priority with COVID-prevention policies.

It is absolutely unacceptable for our governments to destroy the mental health of billions as they attempt to protect the physical health of millions.

Psychedelic drugs can’t prevent the mental health carnage being inflicted upon us by governments who have (seemingly) lost all sense of objectivity in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. But these Miracle Drugs can undo much of the damage.

However, psychedelics can only provide this mental health relief for billions of people around the world if our governments first legalize these drugs for medicinal use.

The #1 global health priority in the world today.



DISCLOSURE: The writer holds shares in MindMed Inc and Cybin Inc.
 
COVID isolation (cover) by astrosystem is licensed under Adobe Stock
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