DMT and Anxiety: Effects on Depression, Risks & What’s The Link?
DMT can exacerbate anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues due to its profound impact on the brain’s chemistry. Rapid breathing, jitteriness, fear, and difficulty thinking about anything other than what you are now worrying about are just a few of the symptoms of anxiety that DMT might exacerbate.
By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: February 15, 2023
DMT and Anxiety: What Is DMT For Depression?
The full chemical name of a substance known as DMT is N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (5 MeO DMT Depression). DEA Schedule I restricted chemical DMT is a psychedelic tryptamine derivative.
Schedule I indicates that this substance has no recognized medicinal use. This group of drugs also has a significant likelihood of misuse. DMT is illegal and has not been subjected to any consumer testing.
Psychedelic drugs include DMT. There are various plant species native to Mexico, South America, and some regions of Asia that naturally contain this indole alkaloid. Labs may also be used to create DMT.
DMT is a solid or powder with white crystalline particles when it is pure. When it is not pure, it can have a pink, yellow, or orange color. It might turn brownish-red when used with ayahuasca.
Dimitri, the spirit molecule, businessman’s trip, fantasia, and 45-minute psychosis are a few slang terms for DMT. Other psychedelic substances like LSD, ketamine, and magic mushrooms are frequently contrasted with it.
Since the beginning of time, DMT has been employed, mostly in ritual settings. It has been used in South American shamanic rituals for countless years. Higher spiritual consciousness is attained through the usage of DMT for religious purposes.
In certain nations, DMT is only permitted for these religious uses. However, tryptamines like LSD and DMT started to be used recreationally by young people in the middle of the 20th century.
DMT’s potency and unpredictability make it risky to take and can have negative effects on one’s mental and physical health. DMT has similar effects to psychedelic drugs like LSD. According to research, DMT is endogenous, which means it develops inside the body of a living thing.
Endogenous hallucinogens like DMT, 5-hydroxy-N, N-dimethyl-tryptamine, and 5-methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) are recognized as naturally occurring elements of the mammalian body, according to the NIH.
However, it is challenging to recollect their biological roles. Ayahuasca and DMT are frequently confused with one another.
DMT is ayahuasca’s primary component. Ayahuasca includes MAOIs, which stop your body’s enzymes from decomposing DMT, which contributes to its psychedelic effects.
DMT For Anxiety: Pharmacology
DMT produces vivid hallucinations. Hallucinations involve experiencing unreal sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations. People who have been diagnosed with mental diseases including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder frequently experience hallucinations.
But substance abuse might also result in hallucinations. Based on the user, DMT experiences vary. While some report joy, others express great fear. Because of the drug’s potency, the user frequently has mental side effects for days or even weeks after using it.
DMT functions by preventing serotonin from acting in the brain.
A broad category of traditional or serotonergic hallucinogens is referred to as “tryptamines.” Serotonin is a chemical that functions as a neurotransmitter and sends information throughout your body. Serotonergic hallucinogens are substances that alter serotonin.
Serotonin controls vital body processes like digestion, sleep, and mood. Your mental and physical health may suffer if your body’s serotonin levels are either low or too high.
At most or all serotonin receptors, specifically the 5-ht2a receptor, DMT functions as a non-selective agonist.
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Anxiety Fact Sheet
Your brain and behavior are both impacted by the condition of addiction. Substance addiction makes it unable to resist the impulse to use the drug, regardless of how harmful it may be. The sooner you receive treatment for drug addiction, the better your chances are of avoiding some of the disease’s more serious side effects.
Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.
Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.
Whole body: fatigue or sweating
Also common: anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling
- Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
- Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
- Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
- Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
- Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.
It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.
GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.
Source: National Institute on Mental Health
19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.
Source: ADAA, 2020
Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health
DMT Anxiety: Side Effects
The psychedelic effects of DMT may be induced by stimulating this receptor. Dopamine and adrenaline are both inhibited concurrently by the serotonin that is created.
A neurotransmitter called dopamine is involved in both physiological and neurological processes. Dopamine affects processes like memory, locomotion, emotion, attention, and others via acting in the brain’s “reward center.”
Depending on the method of administration and the amount of DMT, the hallucinogenic effects of DMT vary. DMT is typically snorted, smoked, or injected when taken by itself.
Compared to taking the drug orally, DMT’s effects start to take effect more quickly when it is injected into a vein or muscle. DMT effects can occur right away when smoked. It is difficult to estimate how long it takes for DMT to reach its peak effects when smoked.
The effects of ayahuasca may take longer to manifest and peak two to three hours after ingestion when taken as a brew.
DMT cannot be metabolized when taken orally without a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Ayahuasca is a kind of MAOI, as evidenced by its vine. The pharmacological effects of DMT are amplified by MAOIs.
DMT’s negative consequences can include:
- Vivid hallucinations
- Distorted sense of time
- Increased/rapid heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Chest pain or tightness
- Pupil dilation
There are also serious risks that can potentially come with taking DMT which includes:
- Persistent psychosis
- Loss of muscle coordination
Disruptions to one’s thoughts and perceptions make it difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is not real, which is a symptom of psychosis. Data from the DEA and American Association of Poison Control show that DMT, particularly at higher doses, has also been linked to coma and respiratory arrest.
The experience of using DMT has reportedly changed the lives of many users. Near-death experiences and mystical encounters are examples of this. Near-death experiences (NDEs) are defined as incidents that happen in connection with death or the feeling that death is imminent by Frontiers in Psychology.
The NDE scale was developed in order to rate the degree to which DMT generates NDEs. The results imply a significant overlap between DMT AND NDEs based on this scale.
Ego death is a possible side effect of using psychedelic substances. Ego death is the temporary loss of awareness of one’s identity and the nature of reality. Someone’s perspective of life may drastically change as a result of this.
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DMT For Depression And Anxiety
DMT and Anxiety
People who already have mental health issues may be triggered by DMT and other hallucinogens. DMT has a profound impact on the brain’s chemistry, which can exacerbate anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
It can make anxiety symptoms like rapid breathing, nervousness, panic attacks, and difficulty thinking about anything other than what you are now concerned about worse.
The drug is psychedelic, thus the user could possibly have a “bad trip.” This may involve seeing horrifying visions and uncontrollably vivid hallucinations. People who already struggle with mental illness are more likely to have a “poor trip.”
Contrarily, there is debate over the efficacy and safety of DMT and other psychedelic drugs in the treatment of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. To ascertain the benefits, dangers, and safety of DMT as a treatment, more research is required.
DMT Effects On Depression: DMT Depression
DMT can have an impact on both your physical and mental health because of its potency. DMT targets the serotonin receptors in the brain, working similarly to antidepressants.
Serotonin syndrome can happen to people who use DMT frequently or who take it combined with antidepressants.
When you take a medicine that raises the levels of serotonin in your body too much, you can get serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Abnormally rapid breathing
DMT Therapy For Depression: DMT For Depression
DMT Treatment For Depression: Some recent research may imply that DMT might work well for treating depression (DMT Depression Treatment). Pharmaceuticals claims that additional study is required to discover whether DMT is a secure and reliable treatment for depression.
At the present, Dr. Rick Strassman teaches clinical associate psychiatry courses at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. His investigation into the pineal gland as a potential biological site for spiritual experiences led him to the drug DMT.
He argues that DMT is naturally released by the pineal gland and promotes the soul’s passage into and out of the body in his book The Spirit Molecule.
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Can DMT be used to treat mental health problems? DMT For Depression And Anxiety
Dmt And Anxiety – DMT Depression
There is evidence from small-scale research that psychedelics are helpful in treating conditions including depression, substance use disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which are characterized by rumination, routines, and bias.
According to a recent study, N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) may be used to treat depression and anxiety in addition to conventional therapy.
Findings from nonclinical research indicate that DMT may be able to lessen behavioral despair in the well-known animal model of depression known as the forced swim test.
Medical practitioners think DMT can be utilized for people who don’t respond well to standard depression treatments because of the intense psychedelic effects it produces.
DMT is the chosen substance for research since it has the fewest negative effects when compared to other psychedelic substances, and psychedelic-assisted therapy may offer long-lasting comfort.
- The benefits of using psychedelics to treat depression are long-lasting, which is a glaring advantage. According to the study, psychedelic-assisted therapy is expected to have an early onset of antidepressant activity that will endure for three to six months.
- DMT must be used sparingly to combat sadness. By stimulating various serotonin receptors throughout the cortex, the medication is intended to assist the brain’s many pathways to function better by preventing the brain’s natural processes for unhealthy thought.
- The pathways might then be “reset” with the aid of various therapies, giving them a chance to resettle differently.
Powerful drugs like DMT have the potential to cause hallucinations that are associated with near-death experiences. Therefore, additional research is required to fully support the claims before using it to treat mental health disorders.
The use of DMT should be subject to tight regulations. Unfavorable side effects, such as terrible trips, symptoms that get worse, or negative effects on the heart, can happen to certain persons.
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The definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions. However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.
Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success. A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment. Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care.
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Search We Level Up FL DMT and Anxiety Resources
 National Institute of Mental Health – ‘Depression’ (www.nimh.nih.gov)
 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (www.fda.gov/)
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 Bandelow B, Michaelis S, Wedekind D. Treatment of anxiety disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2017 Jun;19(2):93-107. doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2017.19.2/bbandelow. PMID: 28867934; PMCID: PMC5573566.
 NIMH – https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/social-anxiety-disorder-more-than-just-shyness
 Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
 ‘Anxiety Disorders’ – National Institute Of Mental Health (Nimh.nih.gov)
 Psychopharmacology of anxiety disorders – National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
 Products – Data Briefs – Number 379 – September 2020 (cdc.gov) Depression – National Institute of Mental Health
 Coping with Stress – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention