Use of d-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in the Treatment of Alcoholism
by N. Chwelos, D.B. Blewett, C.M. Smith and A. Hoffer
From the Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol 20, 577-590 (1959).

Reviewed by William Le Jeune

This paper is a follow-up on two earlier reports by one of the authors (Smith) on the
use of LSD and Mescaline in the treatment of chronic alcoholism.

It reviews the methodology and results of Smith's prior study, describes a modified
treatment methodology, and then reports on the results of a new study of a second
group of similiar patients using this modified methodology.

The treatment methodology used in the second study differed from the first in
several ways. Whereas earlier sessions which took place in the psychiatric
ward of a hospital or similiar institutional setting, the second study took place in
a physically relaxing non-institutional setting containing audio and
visual stimuli such as music, artwork and symbolic items.

Participating therapists in the second study had prior personaly LSD experience
and provided an emotionally supportive environment free of reproach or other
morally judgemental attitudes towards the patient. Therapists encouraged the patient to take responsibility for their condition, sought to make the patient aware of the habits of attitude which maintained their dependence on alcohol, and fostered an attitude of self-acceptance in the patient.

As a result of these modifications to the treatment methodology, improved results were obtained. For analysis, patients were divided into several diagnostic categories. All patients
had a history of over 10 years of chronic alcoholism which had been refractory to
normal therapeutic treatment and were classified as either

a) having personality disorders
b) psychopaths
c) borderline or actual psychotics

6 - 18 months after treatment, the patients were assessed into one of three categories as being:

1) significantly improved - complete abstinence
2) moderately improved - reduced alcohol consumption
3) unchanged - no change in drinking habits, or temporary remission

The revised methodology provided a remarkably improved therapeutic outcome for each of the three patient categories, with 15 of 16 patients showing either a significant or
moderate improvement to his condition in the second study compared to 12 of 24 patients in the first study.
No adverse treatment effects were noted in any patient.

While the efficacy of LSD and Mescaline in the treatment of chronic alcoholism had
already been scientifically established at this time, it is particularly interesting
to note that the revised methodology the authors employ in the second study
illustrates that by the late 1950's the psychedelic research community was already
fully aware of the value of 'set' and 'setting' to the positive outcome of a
psychedelic experience, and were enjoying improved results by adoption of
more comfortable and less institutional settings where direct gnostic contact
with the deepest and most sacred nature of the self were more likely to occur,
for both the patient and the therapist.

As such, this paper is a milestone and beacon in the early history of psychedelic research.

If you wish to read the entire paper on the Erowid site, click here. Here one may
read an abstract if available. To read the entire paper, click on full text in the
black box on the left-hand side. If you do not have a rapid server, it may take
some time for the PDF article to come up.

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