A Survey of Quality of Life and Antidepressant Use in Brazilian Members of the União do Vegetal

Luís Fernando Tófoli, MD, PhD

Abstract: This presentation introduces the unpublished results of a recent survey with almost 2,000 União do Vegetal (UDV) members from different parts of Brazil, focusing on quality of life and use of serotonergic antidepressants. The quality of life of ayahuasca drinkers from the Brazilian ayahuasca religions has not been previously assessed in a considerable number of subjects. In this study—conducted by a multidisciplinary Brazilian-North-American research team—literate subjects volunteered to complete a self-report instrument including (1) a socio-demographic questionnaire, (2) a World Health Organization quality of life scale (WHOQOLBref), (3) a questionnaire about past and present substance use, and (4) a questionnaire about the use of antidepressants and their reported effects on the ayahuasca experience.

Luís Fernando Tófoli is a medical doctor with a residency and a PhD degree in Psychiatry at the University of São Paulo (USP). He is a professor of Psychiatry at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and his scholarly work is focused on community mental health policies, mental health in primary care, and ayahuasca and mental health. He has studied the onset of mental disorders in União do Vegetal (UDV) members and is currently working on three projects concerning ayahuasca: a survey about quality of life and history of drug use in UDV members; the validation of the Brazilian Portuguese version of the Hallucinogen Rating Scale; and a preliminary study on the influence of drug, set, and setting in ayahuasca experiences.

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