Ayahuasca Addiction

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Ayahuasca Addiction

Although ayahuasca has been known to treat some opioid addictions or alcoholism, ayahuasca addiction itself is very dangerous. Ayahuasca is also known as Huasca, Yagé, brew, Daime, the tea, and La Purga. The plant means “vine of the dead” or “vine of the soul” in Quechua.

What is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic tea. It is made from brewing the ayahuasca vine, also known as Banisteriopsis caapi vine, and leaves from the chacruna shrub, also known as Psychotria Viridis.

These plants are both native to the Amazon, and completely legal in Brazil. While often referred to as an illicit drug, neither of these plants is illegal in the United States. Despite that, the leaves do contain dimethyltryptamine, known as DMT.

What is DMT?

DMT is a psychotropic that offers intense hallucinations. DMT is classified as a Schedule I drug and has high addiction potential but no medical use. There have been studies that show ayahuasca can be used to treat both opioid addictions and alcoholism.

How is Ayahuasca Prepared?

It takes many hours to brew ayahuasca, which becomes a red-brown tea. When drinking ayahuasca, it has a horrible and bitter taste. The vine and shrub are brewed together to lengthen their effects. Without the vine’s alkaloids, when drinking the tea of the leaves alone, the DMT would only cause effects of 20 minutes. Combined, the effects of ayahuasca tea can last between 4 and 8 hours.

Effects of Ayahuasca Addiction

Because the actual plant material is legal, many people believe that drinking it is safe. Despite this, all drug use carries risk, and some people have died immediately after using the substance.

The tea is dangerous because it is difficult to measure its intensity. Each batch will be different from another, and intense sensations can occur. The effects will begin within 30-60 minutes, while it can peak between 1-2 hours and last up to 6 hours.

Short term effects of ayahuasca addiction include:

  • Intense nausea and vomiting
  • Out-of-body hallucinations
  • Altered perception
  • See, hear, and feel things that are not real
  • Diarrhea
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Seizures

Ayahuasca also has the possibility of interacting with serotonin in the brain. This can be lethal for those taking antidepressants.

The long-term effects of ayahuasca addiction are not fully studied.

Ayahuasca Addiction and Dependence

The risk of developing a dependence or addiction to ayahuasca is low, and there is still no evidence stating that the use of ayahuasca or DMT leads to tolerance. Despite this, there is still the possibility of behavioral addiction to the experience of using it.

Some people describe iowaska treatment as miserable, while others use it as a form of therapy. It is good to note that because of the possibility of hallucinogen-caused brain damage, those who frequently use ayahuasca are at risk for addiction.

DMT Withdrawal Symptoms

There are no known withdrawal symptoms that occur with DMT use. However, anyone who takes prescription or over-the-counter drugs that modulate serotonin levels are at a huge risk for serotonin syndrome when mixing with DMT or ayahuasca. That means that if you have an ayahuasca addiction and take any form of SSRI, or anti-depressants, you are at risk of a serotonin overload. Serotonin overload can include muscle tremors or spasms, loss of locomotor control, and even seizures or death.

Mental Illness and Ayahuasca Addiction

DMT is an endogenous compound, and it mimics serotonin in the brain. Although both DMT and ayahuasca have not been shown to lead to addictive behaviors, it can be dangerous for those with mental illnesses.

Alternatively, ayahuasca has been thought of as a possible therapy for PTSD, depression, and social anxiety disorders. The primary issue with this is that all medication needs to be stopped before ayahuasca can be taken. Otherwise, you run the risk of an interaction between the medication and the ayahuasca.


Even though there is a huge amount of evidence supporting the fact that ayahuasca has a low potential for addiction, it is still possible. Ayahuasca has been thought of as a treatment for substance use disorders. Due to this, ayahuasca can be a replacement for another drug and cause a different addiction.

If you believe that you or someone you love is struggling with either an ayahuasca addiction or both an ayahuasca and drug addiction, treatment is important. Ayahuasca addiction treatment would most likely be similar to other substance abuse disorders. It may also require cognitive behavioral therapy, known as CBT, or other mental forms of therapy.

The first step is to go to a rehabilitation facility to have an assessment completed. The following steps would most likely be involved in treatment for ayahuasca addiction.


Detoxing from ayahuasca involves waiting for all effects of the drug to wear off. Although there is no huge potential for abuse, and an ayahuasca trip will typically last four to six hours, and it may be uncomfortable.

Residential Treatment

Ayahuasca is unlikely to instill dependence among people, but often ayahuasca is used to combat another addiction. This means that treatment may be necessary to solve the other addiction first. Residential treatment provides 24/7 supervision and support for anyone struggling with an addiction.

Outpatient Treatment

This treatment often occurs after residential treatment occurs. There are many different variations of outpatient treatment, depending on how severe the addiction is.

Dangers of Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is an alternative treatment. It has offered results in the past and has benefited many people. These reactions can seriously injure some people. This drug should never be combined with anti-depressants.

Payment Options

Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it? We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification. We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.

How to Get Help

If you are struggling with ayahuasca addiction or any form of addiction, Resurgence Behavioral Health we are here to help. Call Resurgence Behavioral Health to schedule your consultation.