By: Zinnia Healing Editorial Staff | Edited By: Rebecca Hill
Psilocybin Mushrooms Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline & Detox Treatment Options
Drug withdrawal is an uncomfortable, painful, and even dangerous process. So, how does it develop, and are you only susceptible to withdrawal symptoms when using certain substances?
When you think of withdrawal, you may automatically associate this process with alcohol, heroin, or other highly addictive substances — but what about psychedelics? This question has sparked plenty of debate in recent years. The use of hallucinogens is rising, so what does that mean for those most vulnerable to mental health concerns?
Data shows that there is a growing use of psychedelic substances. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes 2019 World Drug Report shows that there is an upward trend toward quantities of hallucinogenic substances seized globally in recent years.
Can psilocybin mushrooms, otherwise known as “magic mushrooms,” be addictive? And, in turn, cause psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal?
If you or your loved one have been struggling with psilocybin mushroom use or if you have been combining mushrooms with other substances of abuse, this guide focuses on everything you’d need to know concerning the psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal and recovery process.
What Are the Symptoms of Psilocybin Mushrooms Withdrawal?
The effects of “magic mushrooms” are based on their psilocybin content. This substance is mainly found in mushrooms of the genus psilocybe. Historically, these mushrooms have been used for both recreational and ritualistic purposes. The available research suggests that psilocybin mushrooms have a low risk of toxicity, overdose, and addiction. However, adverse outcomes have been linked to psilocybin use. In 2020, an analysis was published, showcasing the self-reported negative outcomes of psilocybin users. This analysis shows that a user’s perception may include negative effects following a bad trip. The effects of psilocybin mushrooms can be categorized into four main clusters — perceptual alterations, distorted thinking, emergencies, and substance administration.
Long-term outcomes were associated with multiple doses of psilocybin mushrooms in the same session, as was the combination of other substances taken simultaneously. Also, a high dose of mushrooms in a single dose was linked to medical emergencies.
The most concerning effects of psilocybin mushrooms are generally during use. This study found that 10.7 percent of users under the influence of psilocybin placed themselves or others at risk of physical harm, 2.6 percent became violent or aggressive and 2.7 percent sought help in a hospital. However, many concerns are surrounding ongoing use and mental health outcomes throughout life, including persistent anxiety disorder.
The effects of psilocybin mushrooms are complex and often highly individualized. For example, a “bad trip” often develops from certain mental states or physical settings. Each individual has their own triggers, which can change depending on their current mental health, where they are when they take psilocybin mushrooms, and who they’re with. Since this drug is hallucinogenic, its effects are often unpredictable.
When you are “coming down” from mushrooms, which may be likened to psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal, you may experience:
This study found that delayed headaches may result during psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal. After examining various psilocybin doses, it was found that this substance frequently caused delayed headaches. These headaches are likely linked to the release of nitric oxide. However, they were not disabling. Researchers are concerned that psilocybin mushrooms may create long-term psychosis as with other hallucinogens. These symptoms are associated with flashbacks which may occur weeks, months, or even years after the drug was last taken. Flashbacks continue to be studied. However, it’s believed that this symptom is triggered by stress or the use of other drugs.
There has been a fair amount of research conducted on LSD-like substances. Since LSD and psilocybin mushrooms appear to cause cross-tolerance and these substances produce similar effects, Flashback and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) are likely linked to most substances that initiate similar effects to psilocybin mushrooms. This is a recurring syndrome that is not fully understood. Data shows that between five percent and 50 percent of hallucinogen users experience at least one flashback after drug-free periods of varying lengths. One case study found that after a woman used up to 30 doses of LSD in one year, she experienced flashbacks symptoms for the next 13 years. She also used psilocybin mushrooms and ketamine. Her symptoms subsided after 12 months of treatment, including a year-long trial of lamotrigine, a mood-stabilizing and antiepileptic drug.
Although psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal symptoms are not as severe as other withdrawal symptoms, such as those experienced during opioid withdrawal, the consequences can be significant if you continue using. Psilocybin mushrooms are mind-altering, and depending on your mental health or the substances you use in conjunction with psilocybin mushrooms, you could injure yourself or someone else. There are also toxicity concerns and, for some, worsening mental health.
What Causes Psilocybin Mushrooms Withdrawal?
The debate continues regarding whether or not psilocybin mushrooms are addictive. Most experts believe that you face a higher risk of psychological dependence than physical dependence when taking psilocybin mushrooms regularly. The severity of this dependence will depend on several variables, including frequency of use and dosage. If you believe you need to take psilocybin mushrooms to maintain happiness or a sense of enlightenment, this can be very damaging to your overall wellbeing and life. You also face a higher risk of complications when you combine psilocybin mushrooms with other substances of abuse.
If you continue taking psilocybin mushrooms despite negative consequences, this may be a sign you need to seek professional help.
Although psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal is not life-threatening, it is important to consider the potential risks. To better understand how psilocybin mushrooms influence the brain, you must dive deeper into this substance’s mechanism of action.
When you take magic mushrooms, psilocybin can cross the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain, this compound reacts with serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a brain chemical with many properties but is often referred to as the happy hormone because it acts as a mood stabilizer. Since psilocybin mushrooms specifically influence serotonin receptors, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects result. When you take psilocybin mushrooms, several brain regions respond, like the prefrontal and limbic brain regions, including the amygdala. The amygdala plays a crucial role in emotion processing and perception.
While studying HPPD, research shows a possible co-occurrence with depressive and anxiety traits. HPPD may be linked to mental illnesses, including major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. If this is the case, you must receive ongoing treatment that focuses on both substance use and mental health.
If you have a personal or family history of severe psychiatric or psychotic disorders, it is strongly recommended that you avoid using psilocybin and other psychedelics.
How Long Does Psilocybin Mushrooms Withdrawal Take?
When you first take psilocybin mushrooms, you’ll generally experience the effects between 20 minutes to two hours after ingestion. These effects usually last three to six hours. However, for some, the effects may last up to three days. While examining psilocybin mushrooms in greater detail, studies show that after one to three psilocybin administrations, clinical symptoms can last up to three, six and 12 months. After a single dose, research shows that emotions and brain functions may be altered for a month following a single dose. For some, this may offer promising effects concerning mood disorders. However, this also shows how psilocybin mushrooms impact the brain.
The initial effects of psilocybin mushrooms will depend on many variables, including the species of mushroom and your tolerance. There is also something known as the entourage effect. This effect is the sum of a botanical or biological system’s contributing parts that produce a greater effect. With mushrooms, this effect is mostly associated with cannabis.
As discussed, many continue to debate whether psilocybin mushrooms cause concern regarding addiction. Currently, psilocybin is a Schedule I controlled substance. It is considered to have a high abuse potential and is not accepted medically.
Research shows that repeated psilocybin use will lead to high tolerability but not physical dependence. In that sense, sudden discontinued use does not typically cause psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal in the physical sense. However, psychological effects can occur. After approximately 24 hours, nearly all psilocybin is eliminated from the body when taken orally. At this time, you may experience mood changes and headaches, but nothing life-threatening. As discussed above, HPPD is a key concern that can last for years. If you are someone that has become psychologically dependent, then you may experience cravings.
The other primary concern is mushroom toxicity which may result in some species of psilocybin mushrooms. The most significant risk follows the combined use of psilocybin mushrooms and other abuse substances. Alcohol and other drugs may exacerbate the physical and psychological risks of psilocybin abuse and psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal.
How To Safely Manage A Psilocybin Mushrooms Detox
Psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal is not a straightforward process. The detox process is not generally life-threatening, but symptoms can become complicated when other substances of abuse are involved. There are also concerns surrounding underlying mental health symptoms. If you have been regularly using psilocybin mushrooms alongside other substances of abuse, it’s important to seek the assistance of an expert on substance abuse and mental health team. Certain substances can create uncomfortable or even dangerous withdrawal symptoms. For example, if you are suffering from an addiction to hallucinogens and alcohol, withdrawing from alcohol could lead to seizures.
Although psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal symptoms are not commonly reported, scientists continue to consider the residual effects concerning delayed illusions with anxiety and cognitive impairment. If these residual effects are recurring, it’s important to seek appropriate care. The treatment is highly individualized, which is why you should seek a professional treatment facility that takes a holistic approach. By treating yourself as a whole, you will overcome your psychological dependence on mushrooms while addressing your mental health.
It’s crucial to note that this process is ongoing. There is no quick fix or one-size-fits-all approach. Still, to heal, you must first discontinue using and go through the psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal process (which will mainly mean facing psychological variables). You will also need to withdraw from any other substances that are problematic in your life.
Upon entering a substance abuse and mental health facility, one of the most important considerations is why you’re using psilocybin mushrooms. If you consistently use psilocybin mushrooms to escape reality or self-medicate, you will benefit from a structured dual-diagnosis program. Even though psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal symptoms are not typically dangerous, there are many reasons why a professional detox facility is ideal — especially when withdrawing from other substances of abuse or when there are concerning underlying mental health issues to address.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
If the thought of psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal is frightening to you, you may be experiencing psychological dependence, which can be powerful. The first step is to admit that there’s an issue. If you are taking psilocybin mushrooms to feel normal or to maintain happiness, this is not a healthy or sustainable approach.
You can build a drug-free future, focusing on your unique goals. It starts with psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal, followed by ongoing treatment and therapy. Today, professional treatment facilities offer a wide range of programs, ensuring an individualized approach. For example, it’s not uncommon for the top facilities to offer evidence-based options such as adventure therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, or art therapy, along with their core therapies.
Whether you are abusing psilocybin mushrooms to mask your mental health or are combining psilocybin mushrooms with other substances of abuse, your road to recovery begins with psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal. Once your mind is clear, you can then begin the healing process.
Seek the support of a substance abuse and mental health facility like Zinnia Healing to overcome psilocybin mushrooms withdrawal concerns and get the help you need today.