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LSD Could Help Alcoholics Stay Sober

Research shows the potential of tripping acid to treat alcoholism.

An LSD-induced “trip” might be just what you need to quit drinking. A review of six studies from the 1960s showed that this highly hallucinogenic, and illegal, drug could have a “significant beneficial effect” on alcohol abuse. The research was conducted on people—mostly men—who were taking part in alcohol treatment programs. Patients given a single dose of LSD were less likely to relapse into alcohol abuse—59% of them compared to 38% of the non-trippers. They were also better able to abstain from drinking alcohol. Even with just a single dose, the benefits of LSD were still present six months later, although they had faded after a year. Alcoholism is a chronic disease, with a high rate of relapse. Most people require ongoing treatment. Researchers expect that more regular treatments with LSD would improve the long-term outcome. LSD is a synthetic hallucinogen that is highly potent. Even a small amount of this drug can cause severe hallucinations, with “trips” lasting up to 12 hours. Large doses of LSD can also cause anxiety or panic, as well as increased body temperature and heart rate, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. People often take LSD to alter their perception, which may play some role in helping alcoholics stay sober. "Many patients said they had gained a new appreciation for their alcohol problem and new motivation to address it,” Teri Krebs, one of the study’s authors, told MSNBC. Future research, however, will require changes to the drugs laws. In the United States, LSD is a Schedule I drug—along with MDMA and heroin—because of its high potential for abuse. LSD also carries a lot of baggage related to its long history of illegal use.

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