For the treatment of alcohol consumption disorder, there is a sizeable body of clinical evidence on traditional hallucinogens, most frequently lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Since LSD shares a chemistry with serotonin, it was once thought that it would cause a psychotic state. Later, it was claimed that LSD could help in addiction recovery. But because of its pervasive, indiscriminate usage and concerns of negative side effects, LSD is now considered an illegal substance with no recognized medical benefit.
- In the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s, LSD was the focus of numerous scientific projects. These research looked at the “psychedelic” experience’s therapeutic potential for treating chronic alcoholism, mental disease, and aiding terminally sick patients in accepting death. The CIA was likewise interested in LSD and investigated its potential for psychological warfare.
What is LSD?
LSD, also known as lysergic acid diethylamide, is a semi-synthetic substance having potent psychedelic effects. LSD is also a strong hallucinogen, which means that it has the ability to change how someone perceives reality and vividly distort their senses. Ergot, a fungus that develops on rye and other grains, was the source of the original LSD.
- Dr. Albert Hofmann, a Swiss research chemist employed by a pharmaceutical business, made the initial discovery of LSD’s hallucinogenic effect in 1943. Early research on the drug’s possible application centred on the knowledge it might provide about particular types of mental disease. Intellectuals like Aldous Huxley experimented with the substance in the 1950s in hopes of achieving a condition of “cosmic awareness.”
What to expect after taking LSD?
- Halos of light, impaired vision, distorted shapes and colours of objects and faces are only a few examples of the visual consequences.
- Shaking, pressure, and dizziness are changes correlated with touch.
Changes in mood can result in feelings of euphoria, ecstasy, calm, dreaminess, and increased awareness, as well as despair, anxiety, and confusion.
- There could be abrupt mood changes.
- Impact on thinking can result in faster ideas, uncommon insight or horrifying thoughts, and a sense of transcendence.
- It can also cause a distorted view of time that can be either fast or slow.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
Approximately 88,000 deaths per year and one in ten deaths among working-age individuals in the US between 2006 and 2010 were caused by alcohol-related disorders. Furthermore, compared to all other drugs, alcohol is thought to affect people more generally. The worldwide burden of disease is mostly caused by alcohol, which accounts for around 4% of overall mortality and 5% of disability adjusted life years.
- Despite the frequently severe personal and societal effects of alcohol abuse, many drinkers find it difficult to quit. Alcoholism, often known as alcohol dependence, is still challenging to cure, and many individuals do not recover after undergoing current therapies.
Many clinical researchers have asserted that treating alcoholics with individual doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), in conjunction with psychosocial interventions, can aid in preventing a relapse of alcohol abuse, for example, by eliciting insights into behavioural patterns and generating motivation to build a meaningful sober lifestyle. It has now been determined, based on a review of the literature, that additional study into LSD’s potential as an addiction treatment is necessary.
- LSD is renowned for its stunning and deep mental effects. It has previously been employed in several clinics’ typical alcoholism treatment programmes.
How Does Alcohol Work?
Alcohol is a depressive, despite the fact that many people believe drinking to be invigorating. Any alcoholic beverage’s active ingredient, ethyl alcohol, is swiftly absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach and intestines. After then, it is dispersed throughout the body, immediately acting to depress the central nervous system (CNS). Alcohol has an impact on a variety of neurotransmitter systems, but its effects on the brain’s Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) system receptors are most remarkable.
- Alcohol reduces other brain activity by boosting GABA firing because GABA is the brain’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter. This is why alcohol is referred to as a depressant.
Drinking more alcohol causes a slowdown, depression, or, more precisely, a suppression of the:
- Nervous system, the (CNS)
- Motor coordination impairment
- Shorter reaction times
- Reduced memory
- Faulty judgement
- Functional impairment of the eye’s and ears.
Alcohol Use Disorder & LSD
The following encouraging results have been revealed by recent study in this field:
A single dosage of LSD significantly reduced alcohol usage at the first reported follow-up evaluation, which occurred between one and twelve months after participants were discharged from each treatment programme, according to a pooled analysis of six randomized controlled clinical studies.
- Although this LSD treatment impact on alcohol abuse was still evident at 2 to 3 months and 6 months after treatment, it was no longer statistically significant at that point. At the first reported follow-up, which occurred between one and three months after participants were discharged from each treatment programme, there was also a substantial positive effect of LSD among the three trials that reported complete abstinence from alcohol consumption.
It was usual for patients to claim substantial insights into their problems, to feel as though they had been given a new lease on life, and to make a strong decision to stop drinking, according to researchers of one trial.
- “It was not unusual for patients to become much more self-accepting after their LSD experience, to demonstrate increased openness and accessibility, and to adopt a more positive, optimistic view of their capacity to confront future issues,” wrote the researchers of a different trial.
The results of randomized controlled trials on alcohol misuse show a sustained treatment effect of a single dose of LSD, which may wear off after a year, which is consistent with many clinical experience reports and the majority of non-randomized controlled and open-label studies on LSD for alcoholism. Particularly, a quasi-randomized trial found that LSD had positive effects on alcohol abuse three months after treatment.
- Additionally, during follow-up intervals ranging from 6 to 18 months, four non-randomized controlled investigations found that LSD had positive benefits on alcohol misuse.
- A single dose of LSD is just as effective at preventing relapse into alcoholism as daily doses of naltrexone, acamprosate, or disulfiram, which are often given drugs
Despite these encouraging results, additional research will be required to establish whether any specific aspects of the LSD experience are indicative of therapeutic effectiveness in alcohol consumption disorder.