Here’s something that should be obvious but is controversial:
Any mental state you can reach with drugs, you can reach without them.
That’s pretty clear once you know enough about neuroscience – especially neurochemistry. If your chemistry is ‘imbalanced’, it can balance it. If your cells have receptor issues, it can resolve those too.
Placebo antidepressants work about as well (and sometimes even better) as the real deal.
Yes, even in extreme cases.
Your brain is like the ultimate pharmaceuticals store. Imagine how many pills you’d need to take to wake up in the morning, focus on your work, smile at a loved one, relax at the end of the day, zone out, sleep… if your brain didn’t do all that for you.
And no drug contains ‘sleep’, ‘alertness’ or ‘happiness’. They contain chemicals that nudge your brain into those states – states your brain can, in principle at least, reach on its own.
In the spirit of every after-school special, the altered state was inside you all along.
And here’s the fun reality of neuroplasticity: just as your neural networks can rewire themselves, so can each individual cell reprogram itself. All of your cells adapt throughout your life, adding new receptors and plugging up old ones, completely changing how they function.
I’m not going to be a jerk, like I see far-too-many practitioners being. You can spot them because they say things like the above, followed with:
“Therefore antidepressants are useless! It’s your fault you’re sick – simply choose to be better! Suck it up!”
Apart from being smug, there’s a lot wrong with that.
For one thing, these folks will tell you how good it feels to get more sunlight, take a certain nootropic and meditate. But why do they bother? Why don’t they ‘just choose!’ to feel this good?
And just because you can enter a mental state where your brain works A-OK, that doesn’t mean you know how. Or that it’s easy. Or that you can get there quickly.
As for antidepressants having a similar success rate to placebos… well, that doesn’t make them useless because it’s not the same group who responds. If you don’t respond to the placebo but you do respond to Drug A, it would be cruel and madness to say Drug A doesn’t work.
So I’m not telling you to throw away your medication. For one thing, I’m not qualified to give out medical advice. For another, no one is qualified to diagnose and prescribe via articles. Healthcare needs to be individual, especially in this context.
Even ignoring all that, it isn’t the right advice for everyone.
I’m simply adding to the amount of information you have. Whatever you do with it, make sure it’s responsible.
So let’s move away from medicine into an area where I’m an expert:
Since alcohol is a drug, the same rules apply. You can get drunk off mocktails laced with the scent of spirits.
You can get high off your own supply.
But here’s where it gets interesting:
Placebo alcohol isn’t going to slash your partying bills. After all, you can’t trick yourself into drinking fruit juice that smells like rum.
But you don’t have to trick yourself.
A common stage hypnosis gag is to get the volunteers to drink imaginary alcohol, maybe even smoke some imaginary weed. What’s funny is it works. They know it’s fake but they still get the buzz.
What’s even more curious is this tends to be part of the warmup. Sure, each hypnotist is different and follows their own routine. But it tends to show up early, if it shows up at all.
And most hypnotists put the more reliable suggestions up front and the less reliable stuff later.
Which means not only is it possible to get drunk or high from a trance…
It’s easy to do.
Easier than making someone forget their name for a while – and a skilled hypnotist can do that in a minute or two.
Best of all?
If you shape the suggestions right, there’s no hangover at the end.
Some of you will think I’m trivialising hypnosis here – that it’s a serious tool, and I’m not respecting it as I should.
Well, I’m definitely trivialising it.
And that’s how I’m respecting it.
Go onto the app store and you’ll find a thousand Farmville clones. Is that trivialising smartphones – a modern miracle of technology, engineering and design?
Does that stop folks using supercomputers to cure diseases?
No – if anything, it shows the typical person what technology can do.
Fun is serious business, so be sure to have fun with hypnosis.
If you don’t know hypnosis and want to enjoy it, you can experience it right now. You can learn much more than all of this with Monster Mind Edukaré – my elite self-hypnosis training program.
Here’s the giddy link for it: