Lysergic Acid Diethylamide Helps Alcoholics

Alcoholism may be easier to control with Lysergic Acid Diethylamide treatment

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s researchers tested the effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) as a treatment for alcoholics. The results of multiple trials has not been pooled and analyzed until now.

The decades old research trials differed in the dose, the placebo used, and otherwise. What was constant, though, was that Lysergic Acid Diethylamide showed a consistent ability to reduce dependence on alcohol.

"Ask for alternative experimental treatments."

Teri Krebs and Pål-Ørjan Johansen, both from the Department of Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, independently extracted data from the previously completed clinical trials of the 60’s and 70’s.

Of all the trials, Krebs and Johansen identified 6 similar trials and pooled the results. The trials involved 536 total participants - almost all of which were male in-patients enrolled in alcohol treatment programs. People with schizophrenia or psychosis were not included in the original trials.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain, which may stimulate new connections and ‘open the mind’ of the alcoholic to new perspectives on addiction.

The original researchers of one trial noted that "It was rather common for patients to claim significant insights into their problems, to feel that they had been given a new lease on life, and to make a strong resolution to discontinue their drinking".

Investigators of another trial noted, "It was not unusual for patients following their Lysergic Acid Diethylamide experience to become much more self-accepting, to show greater openness and accessibility, and to adopt a more positive, optimistic view of their capacities to face future problems."

The trials used a combination of low-doses of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, stimulants, and placebos, then assessed alcohol addiction at intervals after the treatment. 59% of patients who underwent the LSD treatment had improved alcohol abuse in a follow-up assessment. 38% of those who did not have LSD treatment had improved.

The positive effects of a single dose of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide seemed to last more than 6 months, but had completely faded by 12 months.

The researchers suggest that multiple doses of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide coupled with modern alcohol relapse prevention programs could produce better results.

The study was published March 9th, 2012 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 8, 2012
Last Updated:
March 14, 2012