Psychedelics and related therapies have mostly been explored in regards to their potential for positively impact mental health. Meanwhile, other lines of evidence show that aspects of physical health, as well as behavioral health - preventive behaviors, like diet and physical activity, which are known to prevent, help manage, and even reverse chronic conditions - may also be affected by psychedelic experiences. A new area of studies, named Behavioral Psychedelics, is emerging with the goal exploring these associations and how they may be applied in future interventions.
In this presentation, I will present the concept of Behavioral Psychedelics and provide an up to date state of the evidence in this area, based on existing data and new studies, some of which are being conducted at the University of Lisbon. Included are associations of ayahuasca use with public health indicators, the effects of participating in psychedelic ceremonies on health behaviors and their determinants, and a survey of practitioners' perceptions on this topic. Finally I will describe how an international consortium is planning on surveying this topic more broadly, via the International Psychedelics and Health Behavior Change Study.
Pedro Teixeira is Full Professor of Physical Activity, Nutrition and Health at the University of Lisbon, Faculty of Human Kinetics, and holds degrees in Exercise Science and Nutritional Sciences (PhD). He is a past-president of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and was the director for the National Physical Activity Promotion Program at the Portuguese Health Ministry. He currently leads a research group focused on determinants of behavioral health and health behavior change, including the role of psychedelic experiences in the process of behavioral change. He was the Director of Research for the Synthesis Institute and is the founder of http://www.safejourney.pt, a project dedicated to promote psychedelic literacy in the population. He has published over 120 international peer-reviewed articles and has been an investigator in several NIH and EU-funded research projects.