LSD Can't Cure Alcoholism (But It Might Be Worth a Try)

psychedelicBefore I get into the latest research about LSD and its possible use as a treatment for alcoholism, let me preface this post by borrowing a quote from the immortal Mr. Mackey of South Park: "Drugs are bad, m'kay?" I'm not condoning drugs or encouraging anybody to use them (particularly not any children of mine should they at some point or another during their Internet travels stumble across this post). M'kay?

That said, I'm not surprised by the findings of a recent study, which found "evidence for a clear and consistent beneficial effect of LSD for treating alcohol dependency." Basically, all this means is that scientists have finally figured out what pretty much every Grateful Dead fan learned decades ago: LSD can be -- CAN be -- a mind-opening experience. And opening one's mind is key to breaking any harmful habits or addictive patterns. But does that make LSD a cure for alcoholism?

If he were still alive, I know how my father would answer that question: NO.

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My father was an alcoholic for many, many years. Prior to that, he was a card-carrying hippie. And I don't just mean he went to Woodstock. Let's put it this way: You know Timothy Leary, the Harvard-educated psychologist whose experiments with hallucinogenic drugs kicked off the entire psychedelic movement of the '60s?

When he was in high school, my father ran away from home with Leary and his entourage.

Anyway, are we paying attention to the timeline here? LSD ... years later, alcoholism. So clearly LSD doesn't prevent one from becoming an alcoholic. Now, would my father have turned to alcohol if LSD was never made illegal? Probably not. Not because LSD is addictive (it isn't), but because, as idealistic and flower-childish as this will sound, acid was supposed to be a mind-expander. Alcohol is a mind-eraser. One doesn't lead to another, they're completely separate paths.

Which is why the whole "clear and consistent beneficial effect of LSD for treating alcohol dependency" makes sense to me. Of course one seriously mind-altering experience has the potential to change the way someone thinks and acts. Whether or not this shift in perception is temporary or permanent, however, ultimately has nothing to do with LSD or alcohol or any other substance -- that change can only come from within.

Do you think LSD might work as a treatment for alcoholism?

 

Image via fayemozingo/Flickr

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