Dimethyltryptamine (DMT): Treatment and rehabilitation

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 1:46 pm

As mentioned previously, most DMT abusers use a variety of drugs. Treatment and rehabilitation programs are therefore comprehensive and include users of several types of drugs.
Basic principles
Intoxicated or “high” patients can be “talked down” from frightening experiences related to recent DMT use. This should ideally be done in a quiet environment with few stimuli. Because DMT’s effects are short-lived, intoxicated individuals should feel better within an hour of taking the drug.
Once a user is sober, a plan for rehabilitation should be formed. If a user is to remain drug-free, follow-up treatment, usually with psychiatric help and access to community resources, is vital. In addition, lifestyle changes such as avoiding people, places, and things related to hallucinogen use should be encouraged. During the rehabilitation period, drug urine tests can be used to ensure compliance.
Psychotherapy
Some heavy hallucinogen drug users, like other heavy drug users, have pre-existing mental problems, such as chronic anxiety, depression, or feelings of inadequacy. In these cases, the drug abuse is a visible symptom rather than the primary problem. Such persons can benefit from psychotherapy as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program.
Psychotherapy is particularly useful when it focuses on the reasons for the patient’s drug abuse. In addition, the drug abuse itself — including its past, present, and future consequences — must be considered carefully in psychotherapy.
Initial psychosocial treatment should focus on confronting denial and teaching the disease concept of addictions. Additional sessions will allow the substance abuser to cultivate an understanding of him or herself as a recovering person. Finally, in psychotherapy patients can learn to recognize the negative consequences of hallucinogen abuse, avoid situational cues that stimulate craving, and formulate plans for ongoing sobriety.
Medications
As part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program, prescription medications may help recovering substance abusers with persistent mental health needs. For example, anti-anxiety medications such as diazepam (Valium) and antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol (Haldol) may address acute needs.
Many substance abusers turn to drugs as a form of self-medication for conditions such as depression. Thus, long-term treatment with antidepressants may prove useful to recovering substance abusers. It is important to note that phenothiazines, a type of antipsychotic medication, can be fatal when used with hallucinogens including DMT. This is especially true if the phenothiazines are mixed with strychnine or belladonna alkaloids.
Support groups
Hallucinogen abusers may benefit from support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous. Support group meetings provide members with acceptance, understanding, forgiveness, confrontation, and a means for positive identification. New group members are typically asked to admit to a problem, give up a sense of personal control over the disease, do a personal assessment, make amends, and help others. Finally, members pick sponsors — more experienced members who guide them through their recovery.

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