Mystical experiences and mental disorders: what psychedelic research on depression and anxiety can tell us about the nature of mental illness



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Tartu Ülikool


This paper examines the implications of the recent research on psychedelic substances and their effects on mental health. Specifically, the paper analyzes the findings concerning the correlation between a particular state of consciousness reliably induced by ingestion of psychedelics – the so-called “mystical experience” – and long-term improvements in mental health. The central thesis pursued is that the “self-model” of mental suffering – the view that mental illness should be understood primarily as part of that flow of subjective experience that human consciousness and selfhood are grounded in – best accommodates the evidence from psychedelic research, which indicates that the therapeutic effects of psychedelics are achieved through a profound alteration in the conscious self.



philosophy, mental disorders, depression, anxiety