Use of d-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in the Treatment
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)
use of LSD and Mescaline in the treatment of chronic alcoholism.
It reviews the methodology and results of Smith's prior study, describes a
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
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.
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
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
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.
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