New Research Suggests Ayahuasca Could Help Treat Eating Disorders

New Research Suggests Ayahuasca Could Help Treat Eating Disorders Hero Image

Earlier this month, the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs published a small-scale study in which 16 people who had eating disorders—anorexia and bulimia—and the effect ceremonial drug ayahuasca had on their healing process. Fourteen of 16 said they were "better able to regulate their emotional state," a huge win in this typically treatment-resistant mental health disease.

"I really just experienced my body as a gift," one participant in this study said. "It was...I felt that it was malnourished. I could sense that; I could sense that I was not honoring the gift."

Ayahuasca typically facilitates an out-of-body experience that the user has little control over, which is guided by a shaman or someone who has experienced the drug many times. Of course, this study has limitations—ayahuasca is currently illegal in North America, for example. But Dr. Adèle Lafrance, who has a background in treating eating disorders and co-authored this study, told PsyPost, "The ceremonial use of ayahuasca—under the right circumstances and with the right kind of preparation and aftercare—shows promise as a potential adjunct to treatment for eating disorders."

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