PTSD: What Can Ayahuasca Do?
Regardless of the path one takes within our lives, it is safe to say that we as humans are bound to experience trauma and terror at some point of our lives. And, like most other things, the trauma fades slowly with time and eventually one can return back to their daily lives mostly unhindered. However, what happens to those who's brain cannot release this trauma? What happens when one is continually haunted by this past event to the point that they cannot continue the life they had once previously lived? To put it simply, many who are afflicted in this manner find difficulty in trying to resume life with a brain now altered from their unfortunate and unpleasant experience if able.
When it comes to PTSD, the brain in certain regions like any other mental affliction is either overly active or digress action with the sudden trauma. In the brain of those afflicted, the brain suffers in the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex are the areas most affected. In the brains of those who suffer PTSD, the hippocampus experiences a size reduction, thus making the person unable to tell the difference between the events at hand and the event that traumatized them and causes them to go into panic mode thinking they are gonna relive the nightmare that haunts them due to the similarities of the environmental trigger. In the amygdala of the brain, it is thrown into a state of hyper activity and leaves these individuals sensitive to external responses. So much so that sometimes events unrelated to their trauma can still set some off. In their ventromedial prefrontal cortex, due to the shrinkage and decreased activity, their feelings of fear and anxiety caused by the amygdala goes unchecked and is part of some of the extreme reactions of stress and terror.
With Ayahuasca, these regions of the brain can be reset or at the very least: properly mended. Similar to depression, these three core regions are the main source of the affliction and when introduced to Ayahuasca, any receptors that are damaged or overloaded are rewired and helps the brain repair. It is also noted in a study done by Dr. Charles Grob shows that when under the influence of Ayahuasca, the amygdala is one of the spots to become activated. And similar to exposure therapy, with this fragment of the brain sent into overdrive, it causes the brain to rewire. And thus, the brain calms down and is starting the path of repair and restoration. This also goes to show that those afflicted with PTSD can find a way out or a path to start reversing the damage as opposed to just managing.
Whether it be a Veteran from the war, a victim of rape, child abuse, or whatever the event that leaves them haunted, I feel that Ayahuasca would be the starting step in their path to self recovery and self healing. That those who find themselves just managing by fragments, those who find themselves in a world of solitary, this is a stepping stone in giving them their life back. That unlike the treatments we give these people, which many find as a bandage over a wound that won't close, this is the suture needle that can help them put together their fragments. With this medicine, those who are haunted shouldn't have to live in a constant life of fear and aniexty. They too deserve the right to be free of the nightmares they are often facing in way we can't even comprehend.