LSD Helps to Treat Alcoholism

Writing a blog is an entirely new experience for me, and twitter is an even newer experience. I tell myself that I’m young, I should be savvy with these social media forms. However, twitter is something that I just can’t get used to. Once something starts trending, it quickly becomes the only topic on everybody’s mind. And when a patient comes in to the clinic/office to discuss a twitter subject, it can be hard to keep my composure.

A recent journal article published in ‘Scientific American’ titled, LSD Helps to Treat Alcoholism, has been trending in every subject related to alcoholism. It has come to the point that I feel it necessary to add my two cents to this ridiculous subject of LSD as a means to cure alcoholism.

I created this animation to add my two cents

While the journal article is new, published on March 9th 2012, the data is from the 1960’s. The article uses this data in a retrospective meta-analysis to determine if there are any new conclusions that can be drawn when the data is looked at differently. Usually a researcher will have a new hypothesis to test and he/she will use the old data to answer the question. This is a common research procedure and it’s absolutely legitimate.

In this particular article, the authors combined multiple studies that were done in the 1960’s to increase the total number of people in their new study. The purpose of having more people is so that there will be a greater likelihood that the conclusions/results will be similar to the general population. This essentially increases the statistical power and strength of their new study.

The new study determined that people receiving LSD reported lower levels of alcohol misuse. As per the article, “59% of people receiving LSD reported lower levels of alcohol misuse, compared to 38% of people who received a placebo.” When taken at face value, it appears that this is a clear indication that LSD decreases peoples use of alcohol.

What people on twitter don’t consider or realize are the confounding variables. Maybe the subjects reported lower levels of alcohol misuse because they were so wasted from the LSD that they couldn’t even find the liquor store. Or maybe they were so busy trying to obtain more LSD because it was so addictive that they forgot about their alcohol craving for the time being. These are oversimplified alternatives, but such factors must be considered before people come to the conclusion that LSD should be used to treat alcoholism.

The best thing about this blog is that everybody that I have met here has a much more profound understanding of addiction. You know that there is no such thing as a silver bullet to rid the craving. The only way to overcome it is through strength from within. The means that you find that strength is unique to each of you. And that is why I truly enjoy every person here.

Note: Mrs Demeanor did a good job of bringing my attention to a mistake in this post. I make the association of LSD being addictive, when in fact the research shows that LSD is not addictive.

  1. iamnotshe said:

    I heard this on the news the other day: It was part of the “weird stuff in the news” segment. This is one more punch in the ticket of SWITCHEROO addiction. Musical chairs … and there are just enough desperate addicts out there to pick up a mind-altering drug to take away the desire to drink. Stupid STUFF. Makes me really crazy to read this stuff. Thanks for addressing this issue.

    • It makes me really crazy to read it too. People are always looking for the simple way out of things, but it takes hard work and perseverance to accomplish what you want in this world. I should start telling people to be more like you.

      • iamnotshe said:

        Shucks. Well, it’s a lot of hard work, and i’m just getting my steam up 😉 Much to be done now that i’ve accomplished a Life. How about that. Addictions and bulimia, anorexia strip away a lot — and sometimes strip people of their lives. Happily, i’m living today with a soul and a heart now. Like Louise said, this isn’t a magical, fixable whimsy of a “condition”: Addiction is physiological and emotional and cunning and crafty. I’m amazed by peoples’ paths as they pull away from the grip. The loosening of the grip can bring such beautiful growth and spiritual awakenings liken no other … right? The phoenix from the ash or flames or whatever … 🙂

        Much better path being on the road to recovery. Yep!

        • Your attitude on life makes me smile 🙂
          I’d say, have a great day…but I think you’re already accomplishing that.

  2. amen, brother, amen. When will people stop looking for the pill to cure alcoholism and understand it’s a mental, physical and psychological illness? they do the same thing with obesity – which is also an addiction. it gets so tiresome.

    as you said, the likelihood is that users become so wasted on LSD that they don’t look for booze. or can’t find it. or fly off a rooftop.

    I seem to recall bill W tried this cure back in the 40s. didn’t work for him and won’t work now.

    thanks for clarifying the type of study and the results.

    sheesh – it feels almost irresponsible – I can see all those alcoholics looking for LSD.

    • Louise,
      Great comments!
      “it feels almost irresponsible” – I wholeheartedly agree with you. It’s giving people the false impression that there is a simple way to overcome addiction. Like you said, there isn’t a magic pill. And anybody that has dealt with addiction knows that it requires extraordinary amounts of hard work on the part of the addict.

      Like always, I really appreciate your opinion.
      Hope you have a great day!

  3. Bartholomew,

    OK here goes nothing:

    I find this research fascinating as this actually worked for me. Now, the caveat:

    LSD is a very dangerous and potent drug. LSD is NOT an easy drug to take and is NOT one to take lightly or ‘just for fun.’

    I know MANY people who should NEVER go near LSD. I also know that as with any drug, the source your procure it from is also a factor.

    LSD can be extremely dangerous. Period.


    LSD helped me quit drinking and I say this without qualification; not because I was wasted and could not get my act together to find booze but because I used LSD in a spiritual and therapeutic way. I had NO desire for alcohol. My experience with LSD led me to discover a deeper me that could live without alcohol and connected me to something much larger than myself. That new self became sober. Now, I went into the experience with the intent of looking at myself and my life from a new vantage point. I did not go into it as a weekend warrior.

    I honestly do not think that there is ANY way a research study could say this as a blanket statement. There has to be a certain kind of person, in a certain place in their life for this to work. There is no way, in my mind, that this could work for 100 % of alcoholics. I have dissuaded most people I know from taking LSD. It is very powerful and you need to be in the right frame of mind and the right place with the right people to have LSD be a transformative experience.

    I think this is risky research in another way: how do you know with 100% certainty that you do not have any underlying serious mental issue that can be triggered by taking LSD?

    It DID work for me. I know there is some research going on right now regarding LSD and PTSD. I find the research compelling AND again; LSD is NOT for everyone.

    I will NOT repost this. The last thing I want is for someone trying to get sober to run with this idea without guidance (and a good therapist in case they need one…)

    Excellent post and animation.

    I think this is a discussion that will and should continue. I think that medical grade LSD used in a lab or therapeutic and/or spiritual setting is research well worth the time and effort.

    My Two Cents….


    • Thank you, Jen. I’d love to ask you so many questions about your experience with it, but this is not the place.

      I want to say, first, that my negativity on the topic of LSD to treat alcoholism is directed at the propaganda being produced around the SIMPLICITY of the idea that a drug can be used to treat addiction. It produces the misconception that there is an easy answer. Whereas in reality, it takes MUCH more than just a drug to change a pattern such as addiction.

      This is, of course, exactly what you were saying in your comment and I agree. In fact, you put it better in saying, “my experience with LSD led me to discover a deeper me that could live without alcohol and connected me to something much larger than myself. That new self became sober.” And in your next paragraph you continued with, LSD is “very powerful and you need to be in the right frame of mind and the right place with the right people to have LSD be a transformative experience.”

      The way that you went about your experience with LSD was optimal and it proved to be of life changing benefit. If everybody was as cognitively aware as yourself, there wouldn’t be much of a discussion. Unfortunately, many people that are reading the news on LSD and alcoholism are not as sound of mind as yourself. One of my pet peeves is when people look for the easy road or find shortcuts. We both know that there isn’t a short cut to overcoming addiction. An example that I encounter relatively often is obesity. Many would rather take stimulants like thyroid medication to lose weight rather than putting in the large amount of effort required to burn calories (I’m sorry for the generalization, this does not count for everybody). Taking seconds to ingest a pill is much easier than spending 30-60 minutes sweating on a treadmill. On the flip side, I love the people that come in and I know that they have been working hard. There is nothing greater than to see somebody improve their life using their own strength and will.

      When I wrote the post, my intention was not to imply that the reason people using LSD did not abuse alcohol as much was because they were too wasted to go to the liquor store. That was a mistake on my part and I really meant to pose the argument that there may be other reasons why there was a decrease in alcohol abuse. I should have put more effort in to that paragraph, but it was too late at night and I got sleepy.

      Lastly, I agree with you because I am a firm believer in experimenting. Hallucinogens allow us to experience the world in a way that is not possible in every day life. Although there are side effects and dangers of taking drugs, this can be curtailed and when used under the right circumstances (as you said in your comment) they are life changing. I can read, travel, exchange stories, but sometimes there really is no better of a way to experience life than to alter your perception of it.

      You continue to surprise me, Jen. Thanks again for your very unique perspective.

      • iamnotshe said:

        OK, just saying … i enjoy reading the research, and you guys’ comments. I love this research. Jen, i get you! You know i do. If i said anything offensive and incorrect, i am ignorant. AND, as you know, i’m one of the MANY people YOU know who shouldn’t take LSD. Believe it or not, i had enough sense to know that. Frankly, i’m grateful that LSD worked for you … and as you said, this is not something for the “blanket” people ;-).

        I HATE BLANKET STATEMENTS! Bye you guys … sorry to butt in. 🙂 xoxo mel

        • Dear You Guys,

          I though twice about posting this comment and if you would like to remove it I would totally understand. It IS not a simple issue and blanket statements just do not cut it. I would be happy to talk more by email if that is more appropriate.

          I DO NOT want ANYONE to read my comment and think “See! It works!”

          NO. I worked it. I worked very hard to overcome my addictions. MANY things helped along the way; not just one thing. I needed therapy, and the 12 steps and therapy and LSD and therapy. I worked very hard and I think all addicts do IF you want to uncover the reason for your addiction in an effort to REALLY change your life. My life is continuing to change and is a work in progress. I am an adrenalin junkie, a workaholic and I am addicted to crisis. I am so far from having tamed all my beasts.

          I traded in one for another until they are now relatively harmless.

          Mel, you ARE one of the people I know who should NEVER go near the stuff. YOU know that and you did back then. Imagine all the people who don’t get it.

          Bartholomew, you are so open minded and curious! I want you to be my shrink! You will be a gift to so many; you already are here in BlogLand. You are right:

          There is no easy answer and there probably never will be.


          Perhaps the Easy Answer is to decease alcohol use; make it harder for the alcohol lobbies to have an impact in DC and get REAL information out to the general public and into schools. Info to schools: NOW! Trained therapists in schools NOW to identify kids at risk.

          I have been astounded by the amount of information in the BlogLand. I think that is a step in the right direction.

          Side Note: 12 steps… I don’t think the 12 steps work for everyone either. I am reading a book now, out of curiosity, on alternative group therapies to the 12 steps. I think this also points out that there really is NOT a cookie cutter approach to addiction recovery.


          • iamnotshe said:

            Thanks for this Jen. And i agree about your Bartholomew you will be an excellent shrink. Your mind is open and you have a heart. Please always keep up on research about addictions and all other issues you will be treating. OK, Jen … i know some comments i need to take off my blog. Crap.

            Peace everyone!

          • There is no way I would delete your comment. I really appreciated that your opinion really shined some light on my one-sided post.

            I think that you explained yourself well enough that people will not read your comment and feel that it is something that everybody can benefit from. And I know that your recovery was not easy. I know that you worked hard. LSD didn’t simply cure you. Instead you used it in conjunction with other forms of therapy, which is the way it should be.

            Never hold back on your comments 🙂

    • Agreed. I’m quickly losing the tiny amount of patience I had for it.

  4. Understood on the shallowness of Twitter, etc. BUT… if people like you don’t put good stuff into the Tweet stream, it’s only going to get worse. We enjoy your blog and hope you won’t stop Tweeting now and then!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I enjoy your blog as well, many great resources!

  5. Mrs Demeanor said:

    I read the Jen comment with care (boy, the replies sure got narrow there, lol. NOT in point-of-view, LOL!! I meant, literally narrow. They are all squished to the right of my screen, haha!).

    I’m glad I read all of it because after learning about this study, I was in support of more research.Coming here to read that she supports it, too makes me feel brave enough to go ahead and go against most of the commenters here to say I think more research needs to happen. I have done a lot of reading in books by addiction specialists as well as understanding the biochemical/neurological process of LSD on the brain (I did a research paper on it in college), and I understand how LSD could potentially help. This NPR article was really good at explaining what the study was about and what the discoveries are as well as areas for further research:

    I also understand exactly why LSD is currently a Schedule I drug, and I understand it is not to be taken lightly. In a therapeutic setting with mental health professionals and/or spiritual professionals (you know, like a shaman) directing the experience, I can understand how it might be helpful. I think to just shut it down as a helpful possibility because it’s a Schedule I drug is kind of silly. I think that there are other drugs that for one reason or another got a Schedule I classification that perhaps as we learn more about the brain and more about neurochemistry may come back into supervised medical use. Medicine is a field, as you know, where we really have just scraped the tip of the iceberg with our understanding of how the body and brain/mind work, and there is a heckuva lot more to be learned!

    I also just wanted to note that it is is well-documented that LSD is non-addictive – REALLY well-documented. It’s important to understand how something like LSD is different from other Schedule I and Schedule II drugs, in my opinion. I think we have to be careful not to put a blanket such as “all illegal drugs are bad!” over this study and examine it for what it may have the potential to be: a helpful *addition* to the treatments we already know work, such as 12-Step programs. You know, a *huge* part of 12-Step programs is the spiritual component. I can understand how not only the bioneurochemical effects but also the spiritual opening that can happen on LSD could be of benefit. I think it bears more research.

    And, just of note, I have never done LSD. I admit that I kind of wish I had, but that I didn’t think I was mature enough to have handled it back in the day when my friends were trying it out. At the time, it kind of scared me – mostly because I had seen people who had been on bad trips, and the idea that I had to dedicate 12 hours of my life to a trip freaked me out a little. So it is just as well. I’m glad I didn’t do it then. But I may still try it one day, if the time and place seems right. (I’m in my mid-40s now, just so no one thinks I am a young 20-something who has a cavalier attitude about drugs & drug use. Not that all 20-somethings have a cavalier attitude. I’m just getting at the idea that I am a middle-aged woman who has been around the block a time or two, lol.) I am living with a recovering alcoholic and have a very sober attitude towards alcohol and drug use. I do not drink in our home nor in my husband’s presence, but I drink maybe one drink a month (usually with the ladies at my book club, where we share one bottle of champagne between 8 of us). I’m writing this because I am not the kind of person to have the attitude, “Wooo Hooooo! Yeah, baby! Go trip on LSD to stop drinking!! Yeeee hawwww!” (lol). But I have used marijuana for health reasons, I agree with the medical use of marijuana, and think that we have to have a really sane and balanced approach to all chemicals we put in our body, including but not limited to other potentially addictive and mind-altering substances, such as, say, coffee! I mean, c’mon! Caffeine is a powerful drug, too! Not as potentially harmful as Schedule I & II drugs, granted. But addictive? Having a powerful effect on the body and mind? You’d better believe it, lol. It’s why I drink it almost every day. 🙂

    So let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater, eh? The end goal is keeping an alcoholic sober. If LSD along with other proven treatments works, then why not? I support more research.

    (Sorry to blog in your blog, lol. In fact, I may just have to stick this as a post in my blog, eh? Thanks for letting me be a part of the conversation here, though. I appreciate it!)

    • Mrs Demeanor, your voice is always appreciated. I got your reply message and still think you should somehow repost/reblog your comment to your blog so that it can get more visibility than on this measly blog. It was extremely well thought out and much like Jen, you demonstrate an opinion that I think should be heard through a microphone.

      Lol the comments do get narrow. That’s been bugging me for quite some time now. I enjoy the simplicity of this theme, but I’m going to have to change it because of that.

      You’re right about Jen. Without her comments on here, this post would have had a very different outcome. Now, there are two sides to the story and I’m loving it. I can’t thank her enough for putting herself out there. In fact, the same goes for everybody who has commented on this post, including you.

      In response to your comment, I want to emphasize a point before I (as well as the other commenters) get labeled as being against this research. None of us stated a position against research with LSD. My overall opinion is that I don’t want people to get the false impression that this is a cure for all cases of alcoholism.

      The opinion that Louise and I both agreed on was that people should not jump to conclusions on initial research outcomes. There are multiple variables that affect a study which must be considered. The author did not state these variables and did not mention that there could be other causes for the outcomes that were produced. In the media world, this translates in to the idea that LSD is a treatment for alcoholism when that is simply not the case.

      In the 1950’s, Thalidomide was pronounced as the new “wonder drug” for a whole slew of ailments, insomnia, coughs, colds, headaches, and most notably for morning sickness. In the United States, the FDA did not approve this drug to be sold. There was no hard research documenting the potential negative effects of this medication. Lo and behold, children born to mothers that were using this medication had a high incidence of birth defects, particularly phocomelia (undeveloped limbs and pelvic bones). These children didn’t have to be born like this if hard research was done before the drug was put on the market. Thus, I encourage more research on LSD and alcoholism, but a scientist must always be skeptical of research outcomes in order to understand and prevent such atrocities.

      You’re right that I made the mistake of saying LSD is addictive. I was tired when I was writing the post and creating the animation, thus I made a blunder of associating LSD and addiction. The research shows that LSD is not addictive. I made a note on the bottom of the post in reference to this.

      Thanks again for your words. It’s people like you that make the blogging world so enjoyable.

      • Mrs Demeanor said:

        Hi there!

        Sorry it took me so long to come back here and thank you for your reply!

        I’m finding that one of the problems with having a Dual Internet Identity is that when I barely have time for my Primary Internet Identity, then the Secondary pretty much goes out the window in the meantime, lol.

        Anyway, I finally had a chance to log in and be Mrs Demeanor for a while and came over to read this. (I did start, but never did finish a post about it… we’ll see what happens — it’s at least in draft form, with a couple of other things mostly-written but not posted! See note above thre about Dual Identity. Okay, and Seasons 1-3 of “Mad Men” also had something to do with it, lol.)

        I read all of your comment and have duly noted what you were getting at in terms of LSD and not wanting people to take the false idea that LSD is a cure-all. For sure not. I think we are all on the same page as that on this post! I really appreciated the tie in you made with Thalidomide — yes, I remember reading about and seeing kids who were born back in the day with missing or “withered” limbs because of that drug. And this is an excellent point: “a scientist must always be skeptical of research outcomes in order to understand and prevent such atrocities.” For sure. And there is a very good reason why LSD is a Schedule I substance.

        I think we’re all pretty much on the same page with a lot of the issue here! But I know for me that as soon as things go to a polarized “This is ALL good” or “This is ALL bad” black & white, polarized place, it’s not a healthy thing, IMO. I think it is also kind of sad that things like this study get sensationalized by the media because of the nature of the substance involved in the study and people go to that place of “Hey, yeah, dude! LSD cures alcoholism!!” I guess what is good is that analysis and debate happens in places like this, blogs and other social media venues and we can further the understanding and discussion with a lot of wise, smart, and thoughtful people. That’s one of the best bonuses about the Internet, IMO.

        Thanks for providing a great place for discussion! 🙂

        • Mrs Demeanor said:

          UGH. One thing I have never liked about WordPress comments is the inability to go back and edit where I do things like use the word “polarized” too many times in one sentence, ha! I know I probably should not give a sh*t, but I do, and it bugs me, lol. And then I feel obliged to comment about it. It’s a horrible cycle, but one that has been with me for a loooong time. 😀

    • Thank you so much, Jen!!!
      I read your post on not being able spend as much time on your blog. I totally understand when other things in life take precedence. I hope we can guilt you in to spending some time with us though.

      • Bartholomew!

        I have been wondering what your future is bringing!

        I appreciate the kind words. I ACTUALLY found that I wrote ANYWAY and that it helped me find some balance. I don’t think I will go away…

        Any news?


        • That’s great to hear you still plan to write.
          I know how it is with balance. My sister came in to town for a few days and I haven’t been able to write or read/respond to posts. I’ve been missing it and I’m dying to get back to writing. There’s something about it that I really enjoy 🙂

          I matched at VCU! Thanks for all your support!

  6. hi
    absolutely spot on, loved reading your blog on LSD! oh and the animation i will just have to share on my facebook page if i may. looking forward to more from your blog 🙂

    • Thank you!!! I really enjoy your work as well. I hope you keep it up!
      Take care.

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