what is the actual cause of a bad trip when taking mushrooms?


what is the actual cause of a bad trip when taking mushrooms?

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There’s no simple answer because “bad trip” refers to a category, not a specific phenomenon. Some bad trips are a result of circular thought patterns. You’ll hear people say things like *”I got stuck in a loop”*. Other bad trips are a result of fighting against intrusive thoughts. Usually, they’re memories of or residuals from unresolved trauma that the person refuses to confront and integrate. Still other bad trips are caused by fear and anxiety. Maybe the person’s not in a safe, comfortable environment and they enter a sort of “fight or flight” mode in which they begin to hallucinate manifestations of their fears. This is why people advocate the principle of [Set & Setting](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Set_and_setting) as a tool for avoiding bad trips.

Generally speaking, a bad trip is an experience primarily characterized by unpleasant emotions. Interestingly, even though there’s not a single cause, there is a single solution: Let go of fear and accept the experience. It’s mental, it’s temporary, and it’s part of you but *it’s not you*. You are not your thoughts, emotions, and experiences. They are an object of your consciousness, they are a reflection of your mind, and they are trying to show you something about yourself. Sit, breathe, listen, observe, and let it flow over and past you.

Your brain. It’s wild, and it doesn’t function the same as other people’s brains. It doesn’t always even function the same in exactly the same circumstances. Now add a substance that makes it fire off even more randomly with hallucinations and watch it try to cope. Brains are so complicated that we haven’t even figured out how they work normally without any drugs altering their function. Figure that one out, and maybe one day we’ll figure out the bad trip.

Bad trips aren’t a singular thing, and they don’t have a singular cause.

First you have to define what a “bad trip” is. Some people describe any unpleasant experience during a trip as a bad trip. Others reserve the term “bad trip” for a much more profound, severe reaction that isn’t merely unpleasant, it’s horrific.

The psychedelic experience lends itself to extremes at times. An intrusive thought that would normally be discarded can be obsessed over. Confusion can lead to thought or action “loops”. Interactions with other drugs (such as THC) or external events can cause anxiety/paranoia.

In most cases, there’s the possibility of a feedback effect. Something is unpleasant, creating a heightened reaction, which makes things seem even more unpleasant, creating an even stronger reaction, etc. This kind of feedback can be difficult to break out of, particularly if you let it get past a certain point.

With high doses of psychedelics, the user’s perception of reality can become whatever they think it is. That can be great, but it also means that if you *think* that horrible stuff is happening, horrible stuff effectively *is* happening. In extreme cases, the person having the bad trip is immune to logic or external stimuli…they are in a world of their own making. You can’t reason them out of it, and they can’t either. All of their senses are telling them stuff that isn’t true.

Anyone who says that “there is no such thing as a bad trip” or “there’s always something good that comes out of a bad trip” or “you just need to relax and go with the flow” has never experienced an extreme Bad Trip.

Reason doesn’t always work on people who have lost the ability to reason correctly. Or who are reasoning correctly, but are responding to invalid input.

A bad trip can be caused by anxiety, dose, the setting, your company, or nausea.

Personally, I can’t enjoy mushrooms due to the intense nausea I get from them. I’ve tried every method of ingestion and it makes no difference, every trip is horrible.

One feature of psychedelics is that they enable (or force) the mind to drill down into very specific and granular thoughts and feelings, to assess a given thought or feeling from an almost infinite amount of perspectives.

You can’t consciously choose which of your thoughts or feelings get interrogated in that way and it’s very influenced by your state of mind and the environment you’re in (set and setting, as Timothy Leary called it).

Therefore if your mind decides to focus on something happy, you’ll experience indescribable bliss but if your mind goes somewhere negative you’ll have an equal intensity of horror.

Often it’s possible to work through the negative feelings but it requires submission. You have to accept what’s happening to you and not shy away from it. That can result in long lasting positive effects because you’ll have thoroughly worked through something that’s been bothering you. But if you fight it, or you’re otherwise not able to “solve” the bad thoughts it can have long-lasting negative effects because you’ve “proved” to yourself that it’s an intractable problem.