Do you recommend using drugs to trigger hyperic experiences?

MAY 15th, 2013

Many readers of Newpsychiatry, included some diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, ask me whether it is advisable to use different stimulus, including recreational drugs, to experience hyperic experiences.

This matter is widely discussed in Newpsychiatry and the reader can check the sub-section “Reflex epilepsies” (on “Psychiatry and epilepsy”) and the whole section about “Hyperia and drugs”.

There it is clearly explained that a subject needs only to be able to control a proper stimulus (drugs, music, mantra repetition, flashing light, etc.) to voluntarily trigger a hyperic discharge. However, the quality of such experience in the mind does not depend on the subject’s will.

For example, a person trying to get a pleasant experience can end up with an unpleasant panic attack that develops automatically and passively, that is, that even if he wants to, the subject can’t do anything to change the distressing experience into a pleasant one.

As to the specific question of whether or not I recommend using drugs to create hyperia, the answer cannot be univocal. The French psychiatrist Jacques-Joseph Moreau de Tours, most admired by leading figures of psychology, as Pierre Janet, or psychiatry, as Henri Ey, owes his reputation to the studies he carried out personally about people’s brain response (including his own) to cannabis. As a result he wrote a book: Du hachisch et de l´aliénation mentale.

The beneficial effects deduced from the use of cannabis by Mr. Moreau de Tours are universally accepted and his book establishes him as one of the leading figures of French psychiatry, with psychopathological descriptions – of hallucinations, for instance– that had not been overcome by any other psychopathologist until today.

Does that mean that I recommend a common usage of hashish? Well, no.

Am I against using hashish or any other drug to attempt a hyperic experience or for any other purpose? Well, no again.

I am of the opinion that all adults should be responsible for their own actions and that if an adult decides to take any psychotropic he should be prepared to respond properly to the consequences of this action. Therefore, I have no objections to use drugs occasionally and wisely but I am completely against using them irrationally and abusively, because they can cause serious psychiatric disorders.

Indeed, it is necessary to highlight that the use of these substances is the most frequent cause of a diagnosis of a non-specific acute psychosis and after a second or third stay in a psychiatirc Unit it often ends up being replaced by a diagnosis of schizophrenic disorder, a term that leads to a serious stigmatization and a negative outlook for the subject that has been diagnosed with it.

Besides, if we bear in mind the hypothesis of Newpsychiatry, hyperic subjects are already prone to suffer hyperic experiences. Adding psychotoxic substances to this genetic predisposition it is easy to reach hyperic states so intense that can lead to a psychiatric confinement because the subject cannot control the acute psychotic state by himself.