bird icon for twitter


This is your brain on Effexor

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher




June 5, 2019

In response to the article entitled Psychedelic drugs: would you accept a prescription? It depends if you've tried them before by Adam Winstock and Rupert McShane.

1) Let's not rush to dismiss the dissociative state as a mere "side effect" of ketamine. Recent research suggests that it is precisely this dissociative state that helps the user rise above the so-called "default mode network" in their brain, thus enabling them to see their problems in a new, more creative light.

Let's not let today's materialist bias in science bring us to rashly assume that the psychedelic aspect of the ketamine experience is something that we should try to dispense with. It may be the goose that lays the golden therapeutic eggs.


UPDATE February 23, 2022:

I am now using Ketamine nasal spray, and I can assure the critics that it is PRECISELY the disassociation that is THERAPEUTIC. It allows me a brief glorious escape from my eternally introspective mind -- it lets me see things outside of the limiting prism of my own otherwise troubled self-image. If Ketamine had no disassociative effects, it would be useless to me. With those effects, it is useful to me in two ways: first when actually used, of course-- second, it is useful as a mere presence: merely to know that this relief is "nearby" is a godsend for those with a negatively introspective mind. Not even using it, but knowing it is there, makes it easier to forge ahead.


2) The negative attitudes toward psychedelics that you reference are a mere artifact of the Drug War, during which the Drug Warrior has considered hyperbole and lies to be fair game in their fanatical efforts to denounce all illegal psychoactive substances. The Partnership for a Drug Free America bamboozled a whole generation of Americans with their ad which featured an egg sizzling on a frying pan while the deep-throated voice-over warned the viewer that "This is your brain on drugs."

This was an outright lie when it comes to psychedelics. Far from frying your brain, drugs like psilocybin, ayahuasca, and even ketamine have been shown to grow new neural pathways, new neural connections, and even new neurons.

Ironically, the "frying pan ad" would make sense if its purpose were to warn us about Effexor, a standard SSRI anti-depressant which has turned out to cause chemical dependency and anhedonia in long-term users. As a long-term user myself, I actually do have the feeling that Effexor is, slowly but surely, frying my brain. It's certainly not providing me with any creative insights into my condition here on planet earth, as psychedelics have been shown to do.

3) As for those in the survey who "wouldn't touch psychedelics," let's ask them again when they are considering psychedelic therapy as an alternative to committing suicide. Hopefully at that time, they won't be so bamboozled by our Drug War superstitions as to opt for the latter of those two choices.

4) Like most articles about treating depression, this one downplays the problems with the status quo. Commonly prescribed SSRIs such as Effexor create such a chemical dependence that users literally cannot kick the habit (according to a recent report by the NIH, which shows a relapse rate of 95% in those who attempt to "kick" Effexor after long-term use). It's amazing that I have to actually point out that this is a problem, so convinced are most Americans that the drug-war status quo is some kind of rationally considered baseline that we must accept without analysis.

Once America has a level playing field in which all drugs are legal, the doctor's goal will no longer be for a treatment to help a patient "get by" in life, but for a treatment will help them THRIVE.

As for Prozac, the question in the new age of psychedelic therapy will no longer be: does Prozac "work," but does Prozac help you "be all that you can be"? The answer, from my experience, is a definitive no. To the contrary, Prozac seems to help you be all that SOMEONE ELSE can be, by actually changing one's personality for the worse. Perhaps you've heard the story of the news reporter who was at first optimistic because Prozac made him happy, only to realize that it also made him shockingly unemotional at his own parent's funeral.

5) Finally, the price point for legal ketamine treatment is an outrage and points to a fundamental problem with the current healthcare system in America, if not the world. A depressed person of modest means might scrape together the 3,000 required for an initial two-week session of ketamine infusions, but only a depressed fat-cat will be able to afford the biweekly follow-ups of ketamine spray at $600 a pop. Meanwhile a street dose of the drug costs a mere $8.

Given that outrageous price disparity, can we really blame the depressed for violating our superstitious drug laws in order to access crucial treatment? It is not the safe route, of course, but it is the one that we are encouraging with our current Nixonian drug policies and their disastrous effects on drug availability and pricing.

Author's Follow-up: June 18, 2023






Keep in mind, reader, that Drug War lies can cut both ways. Any illegal substance is bound to be lied about through demonization. But any legal substance is bound to be lied about via self-interested corporate hype. The more I learn about the long-term effects of ketamine, the more I'm convinced that it would be one of the last substances to be legalized if we were judging substances fairly.

Of course, criminalization is the whole problem -- because mendacity is the handmaiden of prohibition. We need nothing more than total honesty about all substances -- based on a large and evergrowing database of actual real-life user reports such as those being amassed right now by Erowid. All I'm saying here is that, if criminalization DID make sense, then ketamine should be one of the very last substances to be legalized, if ever.

You can use morphine, heroin or opium daily for your entire life and have perfect health -- yes, even improved health and fairly complete protection from common colds into the bargain. You can't use ketamine daily for more than half a year without encountering urinary problems. That's why the Drug War is so bogus: not just because it lies about illegal drugs to disparage them, but because it lies about legal drugs as well, in this case to make them fly off the shelves, so to speak. Drug warriors just can't bring themselves to tell simple unadorned truth about substances, whether their motivation is an unacknowledged belief in Christian Science or in an unbridled and amoral capitalism.

That said, legalizing ketamine would be no problem whatsoever if Drug Warriors and their greedy capitalist alter egos would start telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about all psychoactive substances -- yes, including tobacco, alcohol and Big Pharma antidepressants.




Next essay: Mycologists as DEA Collaborators
Previous essay: The Philosophy of Getting High

More Essays Here




Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Immanuel Kant wrote that scientists are scornful about metaphysics yet they rely on it themselves without realizing it. This is a case in point, for the idea that euphoria and visions are unhelpful in life is a metaphysical viewpoint, not a scientific one.
This hysterical reaction to rare negative events actually creates more rare negative events. This is why the DEA publicizes "drug problems," because by making them well known, they make the problems more prevalent and can thereby justify their huge budget.
We need a scheduling system for psychoactive drugs as much as we need a scheduling system for sports activities: i.e. NOT AT ALL. Some sports are VERY dangerous, but we do not outlaw them because we know that there are benefits both to sports and to freedom in general.
This is why we would rather have a depressed person commit suicide than to use "drugs" -- because drugs, after all, are not dealing with the "real" problem. The patient may SAY that drugs make them feel good, but we need microscopes to find out if they REALLY feel good.
It's interesting that Jamaicans call the police 'Babylon,' given that Babylon denotes a society seeking materialist pleasures. Drug use is about transcending the material world and seeking spiritual states: states that the materialist derides as meaningless.
The book "Plants of the Gods" is full of plants and fungi that could help addicts and alcoholics, sometimes in the plant's existing form, sometimes in combinations, sometimes via extracting alkaloids, etc. But drug warriors need addiction to sell their prohibition ideology.
In 1886, coca enthusiast JJ Tschudi referred to prohibitionists as 'kickers.' He wrote: "If we were to listen to these kickers, most of us would die of hunger, for the reason that nearly everything we eat or drink has fallen under their ban."
Until prohibition ends, rehab is all about enforcing a Christian Science attitude toward psychoactive medicines (with the occasional hypocritical exception of Big Pharma meds).
Check out the 2021 article in Forbes in which a materialist doctor professes to doubt whether laughing gas could help the depressed. Materialists are committed to seeing the world from the POV of Spock from Star Trek.
Alexander Shulgin is a typical westerner when he speaks about cocaine. He moralizes about the drug, telling us that it does not give him "real" power. But so what? Does coffee give him "real" power? Coke helps some, others not. Stop holding it to this weird metaphysical standard.
More Tweets


essays about
PSYCHIATRY AND THE DRUG WAR

America's Puritan Obsession with Sobriety
America's biggest drug pusher: The American Psychiatric Association:
Christian Science Rehab
Depressed? Here's why.
Electroshock Therapy and the Drug War
How Psychiatry and the Drug War turned me into an eternal patient
In Praise of Doctor Feelgood
In praise of doctor hopping
MDMA for Psychotherapy
Replacing Psychiatry with Pharmacologically Savvy Shamanism
The Drug War and Electroshock Therapy
The Myth of the Addictive Personality
The Prozac Code
Time to Replace Psychiatrists with Shamans
Doctor Feel Bad
Psychedelics and Depression
Drug Use as Self-Medication
Depression is real, says the APA, and they should know: they cause it!
The Mental Health Survey that psychiatrists don't want you to take
The Depressing Truth About SSRIs
Don't Worry, Be Satisfied
America's Great Anti-Depressant Scam
The Origins of Modern Psychiatry
Modern Addiction Treatment as Puritan Indoctrination
Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me
Lord Save us from 'Real' Cures
Disease Mongering in the age of the drug war
The War on Drugs and the Psychiatric Pill Mill
What Jim Hogshire Got Wrong about Drugs
Tapering for Jesus
America's Anti-scientific Standards for Psychotherapeutic Medicine
How the Drug War turned me into an eternal patient
The Whistle Blower who NOBODY wants to hear
It's the Psychedelics, Stupid!
So, you're thinking about starting on an SSRI...



front cover of Drug War Comic Book

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by the Drug War Philosopher Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans



You have been reading an article entitled, This is your brain on Effexor published on June 5, 2019 on AbolishTheDEA.com. For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at abolishTheDEA.com. (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)