Psychedelics for Mental Health Issues: The Experiences of Military Veterans with Stress and Trauma-Related Disorders

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Womack, Angela Monique
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Middle Tennessee State University
ABSTRACT Combat veterans experience a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder than the general population. Most experience relief using therapy and medication. However, there are those who require another form of treatment, and they find relief using psychedelics, more specifically, Ayahuasca. The purpose of this study was to obtain the lived experiences of veterans who sought relief through nontraditional means to treat their mental health. Ten veterans were interviewed about their lives before, during and after their time in the military. Research findings were consistent with previous research in that stigma plays a role in the decision to either keep silent about worsening mental health symptoms or reveal them. The major themes presented in these stories are experiences with childhood and combat trauma, self-reliance and failure of mainstream treatment, suicide ideation, and managing layers of stigma related to worsening mental health and Ayahuasca treatment. My research extends our understanding of the experiences of stigma, mental illness, and alternative treatment among veterans.
Mental health stigma, Military veterans, Psychedelics, PTSD, Treatment-resistant mental illness, Sociology, Social research