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Psilocybin Withdrawal | Psychological & Physiological Symptoms

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Psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, has been used for centuries for its psychoactive properties. While the use of psilocybin has increased in recent years, there has been limited research on the potential withdrawal effects. 

In this article, we will explore the psychological and physiological symptoms that may occur during psilocybin withdrawal, as well as how long these symptoms typically last. Understanding the potential withdrawal effects can help individuals who use psilocybin make informed decisions about their use and potentially seek support if needed.

What is Psilocybin used for?

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in certain species of mushrooms. It has been used for spiritual and medicinal purposes for centuries, particularly in indigenous cultures. 

In recent years, psilocybin has gained renewed attention for its potential therapeutic applications. Clinical studies have shown promise for the use of psilocybin in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Psilocybin has also been explored as a tool for personal growth and spiritual exploration. 

However, it is important to note that despite some promising results, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of psilocybin and its potential uses. Currently, psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I substance in the United States, meaning it is illegal for recreational use and only available for research purposes with special authorization.

What is Psilocybin withdrawal?

Psilocybin withdrawal refers to the physical and psychological symptoms that may occur when a person who has been using psilocybin discontinues or reduces their use. The exact causes of psilocybin withdrawal are not well understood, as there has been limited research on the topic. 

However, it is thought that changes in brain chemistry and neurotransmitter levels as a result of psilocybin use may play a role in the development of withdrawal symptoms. It is also possible that psychological factors, such as dependence on the drug or psychological distress, may contribute to the experience of withdrawal. 

It is important to note that not all individuals who use psilocybin will experience withdrawal symptoms, and the severity and duration of these symptoms may vary from person to person.

Is it common to have Psilocybin withdrawal? 

The prevalence of psilocybin withdrawal is not well established due to the limited research on the topic. However, some individuals who use psilocybin regularly or heavily may experience withdrawal symptoms when they discontinue or reduce their use. 

As mentioned earlier, the severity and duration of these symptoms can vary greatly from person to person and may depend on various factors such as the frequency and duration of psilocybin use, individual biology, and psychological factors.  

It is important to remember that psilocybin does not always produce withdrawal symptoms in every user, and the presence of withdrawal symptoms does not necessarily indicate a substance use disorder. 

Symptoms of Psilocybin Withdrawal:

The symptoms of psilocybin withdrawal can vary greatly in severity and duration and may depend on individual factors such as frequency and duration of use, as well as psychological factors. In this section, we will explore the two main categories of psilocybin withdrawal symptoms: psychological and physiological.

Psychological symptoms

Psilocybin withdrawal is primarily psychological as it is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance that can alter an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. For example, most often individuals who have been abusing psilocybin or Magic Mushrooms become accustomed to the altered state of mind induced by the drug. So as soon as they stop taking psilocybin, they face difficulties separating reality from hallucinations.

In most cases, start using psilocybin again to maintain the altered state of consciousness and to avoid facing reality that can often lead to a psilocybin overdose.

The psychological symptoms of psilocybin withdrawal can be distressing for those who experience them. These symptoms may include anxiety, which can range from mild feelings of unease to severe panic attacks. 

Depression, characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and low mood, may also occur. Irritability and a short temper may also be present, along with memory loss. These symptoms can persist for several days to several weeks and may interfere with an individual’s daily life and well-being. 

If you are experiencing psychological symptoms of psilocybin withdrawal that are affecting your daily life, it is recommended that you seek support from a healthcare professional or substance abuse treatment program.

Physiological symptoms

Physiological symptoms caused by psilocybin withdrawal are not as prominent as the psychological symptoms. While psilocybin does affect the brain and nervous system, it does not have the same level of physical dependence as other substances, such as opioids or alcohol, that can result in severe physical withdrawal symptoms. 

The physiological symptoms of psilocybin withdrawal, such as stomach pain, headaches, and fatigue, are typically mild and short-lived. Additionally, the physiological symptoms of psilocybin withdrawal may also be related to other factors, such as changes in sleep patterns or decreased appetite, rather than a direct result of psilocybin withdrawal. 

In comparison to other substances, the psychological symptoms of psilocybin withdrawal tend to be more prominent and persistent, and are the primary drivers of the withdrawal experience. 

How to manage Psilocybin withdrawal? 

When getting off psilocybin it can be challenging to manage the withdrawal symptoms, but there are several strategies that may help. These include:

  • Support from friends and family: Surrounding yourself with a supportive network of friends and family can help you cope with the emotional and psychological symptoms of psilocybin withdrawal.
  • Professional support: Seeing a mental health professional or seeking support from a substance abuse treatment program can provide you with the tools and resources you need to manage psilocybin withdrawal.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Engaging in regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep can help support physical and mental well-being during psilocybin withdrawal.
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, can help reduce stress and anxiety during psilocybin withdrawal.
  • Distraction techniques: Engaging in activities that you enjoy, such as hobbies or spending time with friends, can provide a welcome distraction from the symptoms of psilocybin withdrawal.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience of psilocybin withdrawal is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Seeking professional support is crucial for those who are experiencing severe or persistent symptoms, as well as for those who have a history of substance abuse or mental health issues. With the right support and resources, it is possible to manage psilocybin withdrawal and move towards a healthy and fulfilling life.

How long can Psilocybin withdrawal symptoms last? 

The duration of psilocybin withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. The severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms are dependent on a number of factors, including the frequency and amount of psilocybin use, individual biology, and co-occurring mental health conditions. 

In general, most symptoms like anxiety, depression, fatigue, and headaches tend to subside within 24 hours or less. However, some individuals may experience residual psychological symptoms such as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), which is characterized by persistent visual disturbances and other symptoms that can last for several months or longer after stopping psilocybin use. 

HPPD is considered to be a rare condition caused by extended and heavy use of psilocybin that can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life.

Psilocybin Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline of psilocybin withdrawal can vary greatly from person to person, but some general patterns can be observed.

  • Early Stage (Days 1-3): During the early stage of psilocybin withdrawal, individuals may experience psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Some individuals may also experience sleep disturbances or changes in appetite.
  • Middle Stage (Days 4-7): During the middle stage of psilocybin withdrawal, the severity of symptoms may increase, leading to more pronounced psychological symptoms and potential physical symptoms such as headaches and muscle pain caused by psychological disturbances.
  • Late Stage (Days 7-14): During the late stage of psilocybin withdrawal, symptoms may begin to subside, although some individuals may still experience residual psychological symptoms, such as HPPD.

It is important to remember that everyone’s experience of psilocybin withdrawal is unique, and the timeline and severity of symptoms may vary. 

Psilocybin Detoxification  

Psilocybin detoxification refers to the process of eliminating psilocybin and its metabolites from the body, as well as managing the physical and psychological symptoms that may occur during the withdrawal process.

Detoxification is a critical first step in the recovery process, as it allows individuals to clear their bodies of psilocybin and its toxic effects, and to begin the process of healing and recovery.

The detoxification process can be completed in a medical or therapeutic setting, or on an outpatient basis. During detoxification, individuals may receive medical and psychological support to help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of adverse effects.

What is safe to ingest during Psilocybin detox?

During psilocybin detox, it is safe to ingest:

  • Plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Nutritious meals and snacks to provide energy and support physical health
  • Vitamins and minerals as recommended by a healthcare professional
  • Over-the-counter medications to relieve pain, headaches, or other physical symptoms as recommended by a healthcare professional

What you should avoid during Psilocybin detox?

During Psilocybin detox you should avoid:

  • Alcohol and other drugs, as they can exacerbate symptoms and increase the risk of adverse effects
  • High-fat or junk foods that can disrupt normal bodily functions and further exacerbate symptoms
  • Stimulants like caffeine, as they can increase anxiety and disrupt sleep patterns

It is important to discuss any medications or supplements with a healthcare professional before starting psilocybin detox, to ensure that they are safe and appropriate for your individual needs. With the right support and resources, individuals can successfully complete psilocybin detoxification and move towards a healthier and fulfilling life.

Bottom Line: Managing Psilocybin Withdrawal

It is important to note that detoxification is only the first step in the recovery process and is followed by ongoing substance abuse treatment and support. With the right support and resources, individuals can successfully complete psilocybin detoxification and move towards a healthier and fulfilling life.

Withdrawal from psilocybin can be a difficult and challenging experience, but with the right medical and psychological care, individuals can successfully detoxify from psilocybin and live a life free from psilocybin addiction.


Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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