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Psilocybin is Helping Veterans Heal – One Dose, One Day at a Time

Updated: Nov 28, 2022


By: Buz Deliere | November 1, 2022


James Jarvis was prescribed medication after medication, but none seemed to help. He became more and more anxious as time went on with no sleep or relief in sight for him- 30 years old now, without answers from a system that didn't care about veterans' mental health issues, James is finding relief elsewhere.


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctor thought the solution would be to prescribe pills like those found within James’ cabinet: anxiety pills, depression drugs, pills for sleep, and more to help with his trauma after returning home.

“All I wanted to do was kill myself,” Jarvis states . “I felt like a zombie.”

When Jarvis returned home from his two tours in Afghanistan as a military radio technician for the Air Force, he had multiple trips to psychiatric wards. Afterward, the VA came up with the same solution every time: more pills. James tried to self-medicate with cannabis but stopped when it became clear that cannabis was not helping him feel better and might even be making things worse.


Vets who served their country and endured the trials of war are now finding an alternative that some say gives them peace of mind. The Psilocybin treatment centers offer help for mental health issues without having to take pills day after day and the side effects associated with them; this new way forward offers independence in one small step at a time

These days, many veterans are turning to psilocybin sessions as an alternative way of treating their mental health issues. Jarvis was unsure and weary the first time his friend offered him magic mushrooms but decided to try it because he wasn't finding relief anywhere else.


He felt like he had taken the strongest antidepressant ever and afterward felt clear-headed, more aware, and focused. Something he hasn't felt in a long time. The future looks bright for Deschutes County and Redmond with psilocybin treatment centers on the ballot this November.


The use of psilocybin is said to help people heal and release trauma from their past. When someone experiences a traumatic event, they often push these memories away in order to avoid feeling pain or hurt. This often becomes too overwhelming for them when reminders come up again later on down the road. however, with exposure comes healing, psilocybin helps by allowing people to access those painful places to deal with the trauma.

Psilocybin treatment has been shown to be an effective means of tackling mental health issues such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety. The drug typically produces feelings that are more introspective than other types of psychotherapy; this can allow veterans like Jarvis who suffer from these conditions with no relief from traditional methods –to interact deeply with their thoughts and emotions.

The process of treatment usually starts with a series of meetings where the medical provider and facilitator discuss what will happen during your experience. You might be asked to lie on one's back while wearing sunglasses, lying on a couch with an eye mask, or listening to music, all can help while on psychedelics. The dosage is determined by pre-meetings between participants and medical professionals involved


The participant will start to experience effects roughly 20-30 minutes after consumption. While they are not functionally impaired by psilocybin, there can be laughing, crying, or feelings of joy. Some may feel anxious but these symptoms were discussed beforehand so it's easy for them to deal with the anxiety once they realize what is happening during their trip.


It might seem like everything around you has changed after taking magic mushrooms - your perception could very well match up against reality itself! Not everyone has the same experience with psilocybin but commonly reported effects are colors being more vibrant, feelings of happiness, heightened senses, and even solid objects looking distorted.


Integration is the key to growth. It's not just about taking in what was said and felt during therapy sessions but also about how you are going apply this information and continue moving forward with your life goals as well. Peers, coaches, and facilitators can help participants integrate their experiences after each session by having them do journaling exercises that allow for deep thinking so they don't forget any important insights gained from these conversations.


There is evidence that psilocybin can help with a wide range of issues, including depression and migraines. A 2020 study from Johns Hopkins University found it can help alleviate symptoms in those who suffer from major depressive disorders as well as alcohol use disorder or cluster headaches.

Magic mushrooms may also be useful for treating anxiety-related conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

James Jarvis had been looking for something to help him cope with the stress and depression after returning home from his tour overseas when he tried psilocybin. After his first try with psilocybin, he now is taking a little bit every morning, what is called micro-dosing, these small doses every morning with his coffee help him think a little differently about his situation and help him in coping with it.


Now magic mushrooms are not legal outside these therapeutic centers in Oregon, so self-medicating can be risky. It's been months since James ingested this magic fungus but he says he can still feel the benefits. Now Jarvis still has his trauma, it's not a cure, but he now has a way to cope with it.

“I feel better,” Jarvis says. “Anxiety kind of dissipates, it goes away, it helps you completely reframe your mind and see things from a different perspective than you would before.”

According to the VA’s 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, there were 6,146 veteran suicides in 2020, that's an average of 16.8 each day. That's a huge number and there must be more done to combat this rising issue with our soldiers returning home.





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