Could LSD be Offered as a Treatment for Alcoholism?

Is That Even a Good Idea?

alcoholic drinking whiskey

Those trying to overcome alcoholism may struggle with this problem for years before they find the right treatment to help end the battle. But along the way, they could encounter treatment that does more damage than the disease.

In a report issued in 2012, LSD has been tested in Norway as a treatment for alcoholism and is being touted as a solution to the chronic, relapsing nature of the problem.

In this study, more than 500 alcoholics were studied to determine their response to treatment with the hallucinogenic drug LSD. Two-thirds received LSD while the others received different treatments, and then their recoveries were compared. Slightly more of the LSD users did not return to alcohol abuse after the study period.

So there are some researchers associated with this study who now propose using LSD as a treatment for alcoholism. The problem is that LSD is a dangerous drug that has been known to cause lasting psychosis among some individuals.

Consider a study published by the National Institutes of Health. In 1983, 52 “LSD psychotics” were compared to 29 non-drug-induced schizophrenics and were found to be “fundamentally similar.” Is this a drug that should be used to treat alcoholics?

lsd blotter

In the report on the Norwegian study, one addiction psychiatrist associated with the University of Washington noted that little is known about the effects of LSD and so it should be used with caution. But then he commented that “We already use drugs to fight drugs,” noting that methadone is addictive and it is used to fight addiction to heroin and other opiates as a justification for using LSD in this situation.

Alcoholism Treatment Routinely Involves the Use of Drugs at Conventional Rehab Centers

For alcoholics, there may be two phases of their recovery. They may first need to go through a medical detox to come down safely from their chronic intoxication. As bodies become dependent on the constant presence of alcohol, a person may experience seizures, high fevers or even a coma as they withdraw. Benzodiazepines are often given to get a person safely through this period. While this is medically necessary in some cases, many conventional rehabs continue to prescribe these or other drugs through the entire treatment program and long afterward. Thus a person who wishes to recover their sobriety may be kept on drugs instead of being able to experience an enjoyable life without medication.

Perhaps If There Were No Other Way to Fight Alcoholism

If the use of LSD were the only possible way to save a person from drinking themselves to death, perhaps the use of a hallucinogen that could create psychosis in some of the patients would be warranted. But if there are other ways of creating lasting sobriety, that is the obvious first choice. And fortunately, there is a way that avoids the use of drugs in alcoholism recovery.

Of course, some people have created such an intense physical dependence on alcohol that they have no choice but to rely on some drugs to get them through that initial period. This is where a medical detox comes in. Once that is done, they can find the remainder of their recovery drug-free at a Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. These rehab facilities, located in dozens of locations around the world, have found healthy, holistic ways of relieving depression, helping a recovering person overcome guilt and restoring self-esteem. These are all essential components to lasting recovery from alcoholism or any kind of drug addiction.


Resources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6870484

AUTHOR

Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.