Shrooms are amazing, and microdosing is even better, but sometimes people can overdo it and that has to be addressed as well. However, especially if you sometimes are stressed and are looking for a quick fix, someone who is using hallucinogens like shrooms can get a “bad trip,” also known as a “psychedelic crisis.”
To be clear, being high on is also known as “tripping” and if a “bad trip” happens it means you’re having negative effects of the trip and you need to review what is going on.
During a bad trip, the feelings of the “high” can become exceptionally scary and often overwhelming. Hallucinations can be outright scary, you may begin experiencing paranoia and you may become angry, sometimes violent.
There is good news, if you or someone you know is going through a bad trip, there are things you can do to help.
It can be difficult to always recognize when a person may be experiencing a bad trip but you can help. In some cases, the person who is on a bad high may become panicked. They may talk about negative thoughts and be stressed with anxiety. Some cases report that they are fearful of dying or losing all control. Along with this, they may also be concerned that they are going mentally insane.
Much talk about being afraid as if the normal inhibitors in the body that prevent this have no control which also adds much paranoia. Beware as well if you’re trying to help someone in this state, people on bad trips have an unusually high emotional response and very quickly spiral out of control, and in extreme cases, can sometimes cause violent actions that can lead to harm and self-harm. To quantify it, it’s been described as similar to an extreme anxiety attack, which, if untreated, can resemble paranoia and these types of behaviors.
It is key to get the tripper into a safe space, away from others and in a place where there isn’t much they can do other than sleep it off. Important, whichever place they are, it cannot have anything sharp and preferably padded if possible.
As a reminder, these things are meant for extreme cases, shrooms are meant to be enjoyed and benefits are meant to be amazing, this is why again we recommend microdosing. This article is just in case, but helpful just as much.
The Zendo Project, a dedicated team of helping people on these types of issues, advises keeping the person away from things that could further disorient them, such as bright lights, crowds, and loud music.
A recent study of treating hallucinogen highs recommends that a more calming and comfortable, certainly aesthetically calming space helps reduce the likelihood of more dangerous balances from happening and can begin the healing process faster.
One of the most important things you can do for someone who is bad tripping is being that point of comfort for someone can be being the voice of reason and support, especially that the current feelings are substance-induced, and they will wear off in time.
Important: trying to talk them down and discarding their emotions (even when not tripping) may worsen the situation, so it is better to accept their state help talk them through it, indicating to them you understand that they’re going through hell and you want to help and be a support for them. If it warrants it, you can suggest that they let them trip up and give in to the feeling, while controlled (aka being safe) to their experience while being that supportive presence they need. Depending on the person, this can minimally be holding their hand, which can help ground them and make them feel much safer and connected.
Important, you are their lifeline during all of this, so it becomes your job to make sure the user does not take additional substances to try and change the experience from bad to good, these things need to run its course. 99.9%, 100% of the time, adding more drugs will never make the situation better, and most of the time it makes it worse. The best thing you can do is reassure the user that this is temporary and they will get better.
It is key that you stay with the user the whole time until they are stable and are coming down. This can be a challenge of course, but if they are left alone or feeling alone, it can cause them to spiral.
Finally, teach your friend or family member the best ways to use shrooms with microdosing, to get the benefits without drawbacks (after they are calm)