Hallucinogenic Mushrooms Trigger ‘Ego Death’ That Could Be Used To Treat Depression, Study Says

We hear stories of people losing themselves when they ‘trip’ on psychedelic substances like mushrooms and LSD. While we have long known that consuming these substances triggers a change in the way our brain works while being ‘high’ or under the influence, scientists have never fully exacted evidence of how this process really works.

But a new study revealed that the effects of psilocybin, the active ingredient in mushrooms, work to dissolve a person’s ego, a phenomenon known as ego-death or ego-disintegration. Researchers say psilocybin triggers a break down of the sense of self through a chemical reaction in the brain.

According to Science Alert, a first-of-its-kind study titled Me, Myself, Bye performed by researchers from the Netherlands’ Maastricht University offered evidence that suggests this ego-disintegration while ‘tripping’ might be linked to changes in glutamate levels.

Glutamate is the most common excitatory neurotransmitter released by nerve cells in the brain. It is important for fast-tracking signals and information throughout our brain, especially within the cortex and hippocampus.

The brain’s hippocampus, it turns out, is believed to play a role in a person’s self-esteem.