Alcohol abuse is the source of a great deal of suffering in society. Most individuals who drink alcohol sensibly do not suffer as a result, but those who become heavy users can do damage to their physical and mental health. If people become addicted to this substance it can completely take over their life and lead to great misery – not only for them but also for their families. There are currently many treatment options available for people who hope to escape this type of substance abuse but none of these has yet to prove fully effective for every alcohol abuser so there is no single cure. It seems that there is no one size fits all approach to this type of substance abuse – at least not at the moment anyway. Instead different treatments are available to choose from. In recent months there has been some media attention given to the possibility of using LSD for treatment of alcoholism.
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a psychedelic drug and hallucinogen. This means that its primary action is to alter how people think and perceive. LSD is an illegal substance in most countries because of the risk of abuse and negative side effects. During 1960s it became popular as a recreational drug. It is strongly associated with the hippy culture of that era because people believed consuming the drug opened their mind to higher truths. One of the most famous proponents of the drug was Timothy Leary who famously suggested that people, turn on, tune in, and drop out. Because of rising public concern about the use of this drug recreationally it was made illegal in the US in 1968.
The effects of LSD can be both pleasant and unpleasant. They include:
* Hallucinations that can be visual or audible. These hallucinations may be enjoyable or terrifying.
* Users describe the experience of seeing sounds and hearing colors (synesthesia).
* Perception feel more heightened than normal.
* Movement and shapes may appear distorted.
* The individual can feel that they have a much deeper understanding of things.
* Feelings of oneness with the universe. People sometimes claim that they had a mystical experience while under the influence of LSD.
* Perceptions of time can change.
* People can begin to feel highly anxious and may even feel threatened.
* Loss of appetite
* Feelings of nausea
* Body shakes
* Feelings of numbness in the body
The effects of LSD usually begin about 30 minutes after the individual has ingested the drug and they can last for up to 12 hours.
LSD has been given a number of street names including:
* Window pane
* Lucy in the sky with diamonds
* Back breaker
* Battery acid
* Loony tones
There have been a number of potential benefits claimed for LSD including:
* It was originally hoped that LSD would prove to be an effective treatment for different types of mental illness because of its ability to unblock the unconscious. There did prove to be some evidence to back this claim but the controversy and legal issues surrounding LSD has proved a handicap.
* There is some evidence to suggest that LSD may be effective in treating alcohol abuse.
* It is believed to be effective at helping people give up cigarettes.
* Although some people experience anxiety after taking the drug it has also claimed benefits for helping people get over chronic anxiety.
* Using this drug can help researchers obtain a better understanding of consciousness.
* It is an effective treatment for pain.
* This drug has also been effectively used for end of life treatment. It can help those who are terminally ill to deal with their anxiety surrounding their impending death.
* It is useful for dealing with the symptoms of cluster headaches. This is a particularly painful disorder and there is currently no other effective treatment.
* Another claimed benefit of LSD is that it may increase creativity. There has been a great deal of music and art that has been created as a result of people taking this drug.
* One of the most talked about benefits of the drug is that it can be uses as part of a spiritual path. Many of those who have taken the drug claim that it completely changed the way they look at life.
Research suggests that LSD night be good for treating alcoholism. The evidence for comes from recent meta-analysis of research that was carried out in the 60s and 70s. It appears that a single dose of LSD can help people refrain alcohol abuse and this effect may last as long as six months. It is suggested that regular small doses of the drug could help people achieve lifelong control over their drinking. More research is required before a firmer idea of the effectiveness of the drug for treating alcoholism can be established, but this will not happen until the laws controlling use of the drug are relaxed.
There are some dangerous side effects associated with LSD including:
* It can trigger anxiety and panic attacks.
* Some individuals experience a bad trip where they can have a frightening experience after taking LSD. The individual may become convinced that they are in danger, dying, or going insane.
* It is believed that LSD can trigger psychoses in people who would otherwise not have needed to deal with such distressing symptoms.
* If people are already taking other prescribed medication they may find that LSD interacts with these to cause unwanted side effects. One example of this is the possibility that people who are taking depressants might experience a dissociative state.
* If people have ever taking LSD it is possible for them to experience flashbacks long after the drug has worn off. These flashbacks can be distressing and the individual may worry that they are going insane.
* Those people who regularly use the drug can completely lose touch reality and their inhibitions are lowered. They may engage in behavior that they later regret or that lead to physical harm
* If people regularly use LSD they can lose interest in food and stop taking care of their personal hygiene.
* Although LSD is not really considered an addictive drug there are people who do become heavy users.
* Those people who regularly take LSD can develop a tolerance to it. This means that they need to keep on taking more of it to get the same effect.
Many solutions have been offered for the treatment of alcoholism but the majority of these never become viable solutions. If LSD does prove to be a viable treatment of alcohol abuse it will likely be at least a few years before it becomes available. In the meantime there are plenty of other treatments that have proved effective and are available right now. Those people who are waiting for a miracle cure for addiction may be taking a risk because there is no guarantee that such a solution will ever be available.