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Can LSD help Alcoholics?

December 31, 2012 by  
Filed under LSD

LSD and Alcoholism

Can LSD help Alcoholics?

Wondering if LSD can help alcoholics seems like a dangerous wandering place for an alcoholic or addict’s mind. The thought of LSD helping alcoholics not only seems counter-intuitive but also just a straight up bad idea although, the evidence in support of LSD being able to help alcoholics suggests otherwise. A review of evidence suggests that LSD can help alcoholics look at their life from a different perspective even though it’s a through an “acid trip.”

LSD and alcoholics have been connected since the 1960s and 70s. This is when several clinics ran trials with LSD to see if it could help alcoholics overcome their dependence. The results had varied degrees of success.

So what is LSD?

Lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug. LSD can produce psychological effects such as altered thinking, closed and open eye visuals, an altered sense of time and spiritual experiences. LSD is non-addictive and is not known to cause any brain damage. In very rare cases there have been some adverse reactions to LSD which result in delusions and severe anxiety. LSD was first created by Albert Hofmann in 1938 from ergotamine. Ergotamine is a grain fungus that usually grows on rye.

So can LSD really help alcoholics?

A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that LSD had positive effects on the misuse of alcohol in each of the trials. 59% of patients who took LSD had improved at their follow-up compared to 38% who took a placebo.

So maybe LSD can help alcoholics. . .

The use of LSD to help alcoholics is not a new or unconventional idea either. Treating alcoholics with the use of LSD was advocated by the AA co-founder Bill Wilson. Bill Wilson was one of the earliest advocates for LSD treatment of alcoholism which was very different than some of his other AA members. Bill Wilson never believed that AA was the only way to deal with alcoholism. In fact, Bill Wilson even took LSD himself and found the effects produced were very similar to the spiritual state he had found to help him stop drinking in the first place. According to his official AA biography, Pass It on, he even says “It is a generally acknowledged fact in spiritual development that ego reduction makes the influx of God’s grace possible. . . .I consider LSD to be of some value to some people, and practically no damage to anyone. It will never take the place of any existing means by which we can reduce the ego, and keep it reduced.”

This was the same belief used by the first LSD treatments for alcoholics. The belief was that LSD would break down the alcoholic’s ego and create a spiritual awakening. LSD was not supposed to be used for fun or for a mellow trip but to create a spiritual awakening.

So can LSD help alcoholics?

It may be able to but if there is a better way without LSD it is probably best to stick with that if it works. LSD is not the only psychedelic drug that has been used to try and help alcoholics either although it has some of the most grounded evidence. The point is for alcoholics, to find something that works for them. Like Bill Wilson, no one person, idea, or thing has a monopoly on the treatment of alcoholism.




One response to “Can LSD help Alcoholics?”

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