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    hallucinations hallucinogens

    Hallucinations and Hallucinogens: Psychopathology or Wisdom?

    12.01.2023

    Hallucinations and Hallucinogens: Psychopathology or Wisdom?

    Authors:
    José Carlos Bouso, Genís Oña, Maja Kohek, Rafael G. dos Santos, Jaime E. C. Hallak, Miguel Ángel Alcázar‑Córcoles, and Joan Obiols‑Llandrich.

    Journal:
    Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry

    Year:
    2023

     

     

    About the study

    Hallucinations were categorized as indications of an underlying psychopathology in early Western psychiatry. Indeed, the authors contend that the distinctions between normal and abnormal or pathological behavior are not the consequence of objective scientific principles but rather of effects from politics, culture, the economy, and technology.

    The notion that hallucinations are only abnormal events is severely contested by the growing interest in the clinical use of hallucinogens. In addition to not being pathogenic, they appear to be advantageous in clinical settings.

    Authors propose that the term “hallucination” be respected, calling for an eventual “decolonizing of hallucinations” and suggesting that they can also be a source of knowledge.

     

    Abstract

    Hallucinations are currently associated almost exclusively with psychopathological states. While it is evident that hallucinations can indicate psychopathology or neurological disorders, we should remember that hallucinations also commonly occur in people without any signs of psychopathology. A similar case occurs in the case of hallucinogenic drugs, which have been long associated with psychopathology and insanity. However, during the last decades a huge body of research has shown that certain kinds of hallucinations, exerted by hallucinogenic drugs, may serve to improve mental health. We propose that, in light of historical, epidemiological, and scientific research, hallucinations can be better characterized as a common phenomenon associated sometimes with psychopathology but also with functional and even beneficial outcomes. In the last sections of the manuscript, we extend our argument, suggesting that hallucinations can offer a via regia to knowledge of the mind and the world. This radical shift in the cultural interpretation of hallucinations could have several implications for fields such as drug policy, civil law, and psychiatry, as well as for the stigma associated with mental disorders.

     

    Link to the study

     

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    Photo by pawel szvmanski en Unsplash.

    Categories: Studies & papers , Psychedelics
    Tags: psychedelics , hallucinogens , psychotherapy , hallucinations , ontology , scientific research , study , psychopathology