LSD Could Help Treat Alcoholism, Researchers Claim

One dose of the psychedelic drug could help alcoholics give up drinking, according to a new analysis of old studies

By Natalie Musumeci
|  Friday, Mar 9, 2012  |  Updated 1:24 PM CDT
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LSD Could Help Treat Alcoholism, Researchers Claim

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Researchers claim in a new analysis of previously published studies than LSD can help battle alcoholism.

Alcoholism could be treated with the intake of the mind-altering drug LSD, as the “acid trips” it generates can help alcoholics view their addiction from a different perspective, researchers claim in a new analysis of previously published studies.

LSD prevented alcoholics from relapsing during treatment, according to researchers in Norway who analyzed the results of studies from the 1960s and ‘70s, the BBC reported.

In a reanalysis of those studies published Thursday in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers claimed the illegal drug could have a positive effect on people who are alcohol dependent.

Teri Krebs and Pal-Orjan Johansen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology identified data that featured 536 participants, all heavy drinkers, who either took a single dose of LSD between 210 and 800 micrograms or a placebo.

The study noted that 59 percent of patients who took a single dose of LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, showed reduced levels of alcohol intake compared with 38 percent who took a placebo.

The report’s authors, Krebs and Johansen, told the BBC that, “A single does of LSD has a significant beneficial effect on alcohol misuse.”

Data showed that a single dose of LSD produced benefits that lasted between six and 12 months. LSD users also stayed off the wagon longer than those who took the placebo.

Krebs and Johansen suggested that repeated doses along with modern treatments could guarantee longer-term effects.

“Given the evidence for a beneficial effect of LSD on alcoholism, it is puzzling why this treatment approach has been largely overlooked,” they told the BBC.

Dr. David Nutt, the former UK government’s drugs advisor told the BBC that, “Curing alcohol dependency requires huge changes in the way you see yourself. That’s what LSD does.”

Nutt added that using LSD to treat alcoholism is probably “as good as anything we’ve got.”
 

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