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Transcending Depression Without a Script

Antidepressants leveled out the highs and lows. So I found ways to supercharge them—to fully experience the agony and the ecstasy. And that feels better…

<em>Edit Article</em> Transcending Depression Without a Script

Illustration by Andrea D'Aquino

Didn’t the people in Brazil warn you about antidepressants and ayahuasca?” my friend asked as we sat down at the sushi bar in Berkeley. She’d already had several revelatory nights drinking the psychedelic tea with a Peruvian shaman.“Not a word,” I replied.“Well, you need to stop your antidepressants seven weeks before you try ayahuasca. Otherwise, it could kill you.”I dropped my chopsticks.“Seven weeks!” I exclaimed. “The retreat is in three weeks and I have a nonrefundable plane ticket.”My friend reached across the table and touched my arm.“If I were you,” she said, “I’d wait.”Waiting is not something I do well.So I rushed home, went online, and found all manner of opinion about what a person should do before embarking on an ayahuasca journey. Some websites warn about antidepressants and ayahuasca. Others say you shouldn’t have sex for a week before drinking the tea, or watch TV, or eat raisins, or dairy, or meat, or gluten. According to some, you should only wear white. The usual avalanche of information on the Internet raised more questions than answers. How does one separate the science from all the …

Don Lattin is a journalist and the author of five books, the most recent of which are Distilled Spirits and The Harvard Psychedelic Club. To learn more, go to

About the Author

Don Lattin

Don Lattin is a veteran journalist and the author of five books on religion and spirituality in America. His national...

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This entry is tagged with:
DepressionMental HealthAyahuascaTravel

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