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Episode 02, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube

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Show notes:

“Any person who has suffered severe trauma, in particular PTSD, when they try to face the trauma, to face the demons, to face what is troubling them, what's always gnawing at them, they can't quite escape that even with sleep. It's a very scary place and that's why I think psychedelics offer a possible avenue for treatment.”

Military life is evidently not an easy one, with the threat of battle and raging combat lingering about every day. Although the majority of military personnel return without experiencing anything traumatic, those who experience trauma during their service could find it inexplicably hard to readjust to civilian life.

Today’s episode revolves around post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, which can cause extreme levels of depression and anxiety among military veterans. Member of Texas House of Representatives Alex Dominguez joins us today to talk about post-war PTSD, its signs and symptoms, and to recount on the history of psychedelics in the treatment of the disorder. Alex was successful in passing House Bill 1802, which authorizes a study into the potential benefits of psilocybin for those suffering with PTSD.

We also look into Alex’s deep-seated interest in the army and how his knowledge about the disorder came from one of his friends in the military. Evaluating the history of psychedelics since the 60's and the reasons for its illegality, Alex leaves us with an in-depth understanding about its usage and how it helps veterans from reliving toxic memories.

Alex undoubtedly took a leap of faith while implementing the historic bill. Listen in to learn how he pushed through the challenges and the questions on credibility and succeeded in breaking the stigma around the traumatizing illness. We have loads to take away from this conversation with the phenomenal individual!

Time Stamps

[01:00] Alex shares about his friend who suffered severe PTSD post release from the military.
[14:56] The factors that led Alex to go ahead with his decision for the PTSD bill - elected officials in the state and in the country genuinely have an affection for veterans. And though they may disagree why they were sent to a particular country to do battle, they will all agree that they've done so at great personal risk. Also, he understood that they owed them a duty to help them transition back.
[22:36] Alex knew he was taking a leap of faith while taking the decision to go ahead with the bill. He speaks about why he knew that this bill could save lives.
[27:51] Governor Rick Perry’s role in the passing of the bill. Alex learned what it was like living with PTSD and explored the topic. He researched several nonprofit organizations that worked on the cause.
[32:36] Alex reveals what convinced him to investigate psychedelics as an option for those suffering. He realized that it mental illness is not a moral shortcoming.
[38:15] Why we say that psychedelics offer a possible avenue for treatment.
[41:17] On what the bill has to offer for the citizens of Texas - information. The first part of the bill proposes a clinical study with Baylor College of Medicine to study the effects of psilocybin for those who have PTSD.
[48:52] Alex explains the working of psychedelics and the effects they have on the human brain.
[55:45] If the bill gets passed, what more will be available to the people?

Quotes:

“Over the years, we've been able to read up on literature and learn that PTSD is not uncommon for many people that are in the military theater. And they are either themselves subject to any kind of violent impact an explosion, or they see very traumatic events whether they are the the cause of the event, or they witness an event, it could be the death of a colleague, could be the death of a small child incidental to the action that's taking place in the streets of a military theater.”

“So when people are coming back from battle, they're going to suffer both physical and emotional and psychological trauma and we haven't really found a good solution for that.”

“I think that's where psychedelics have a real chance of letting somebody confront their demons and with a therapist, work through them, face them, and try to get past them.”

“So much as I want to help people find something to go towards a solution; I'm trying to give people hope.”

I strongly believe that our elected officials in this state and in this country genuinely have affection for our veterans. We owe them a duty to help them transition back.”

The more and more veterans we talked to, they all say they have reached that point where there is no other solution other than taking your own life, because life has just become that painful. You can't escape it anymore.”

“Any person who has suffered severe trauma, in particular PTSD, when they try to face the trauma, to face the demons, to face what is troubling them, that's always gnawing at them, they can't quite escape that even with sleep. It's a very scary place and that's why I think psychedelics offer a possible avenue for treatment.”

Relevant Links:

Resources mentioned:

HB 1802 PTSD Bill

People and institutions mentioned:

Rick Perry

Baylor College of Medicine  

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