LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide ) Treatment
of Chronic Psychoneurotic Patients under Day-hospital Conditions
By Martin J
Internet. J. Social Psychiatry, 1957
Reviewed by Alex Pearlstein
50 psychiatric patients (19 with obsessional neurosis, 22 with chronic tension states, 3 with sexual neurosis, 6 psychopaths) attending day-hospitalization received LSD orally (2-20 times) during psychoanalytic therapy. The initial dose of 25-50 mcg. was increased with each session (up to maximally 450 mcg.) until the optimum reaction was obtained. The drugs were always given in the morning and the effect terminated in the afternoon by 50 mg. chlorpromazine (repeated if necessary). Five of the 50 patients were cured, 14 markedly improved, 27 slightly improved, 4 not improved. A follow-up 2 years later showed that only 9 cases had relapsed, mainly from the chronic tension group.
The focus on this study was to attempt to apply LSD therapy to patients with psychoneurotic disorders to help them self-identify their neurosis and then to use this self-understanding in their treatment. The following criteria were used to screen and choose:
No previous Psychotic episode
A good personality
Some knowledge of their unconscious processes
Some degree of insight
A strong desire to get well
Patients were dosed and placed in separate observation rooms at 9:30 am and were observed until 5:30 p.m. that night. Patients were sent home with family or friends to create a more supportive environment and to aid the patient in being more comfortable and receptive to the after effects of the treatment.
There are attached detailed reviews of how this LSD therapy was not only beneficial to the patients' understanding the cause of their neurotic behavior, but by using the ability of LSD to look more clearly into past memories, they were able to identify key components of their behavior and their childhood causes. Thanks to this treatment one patient recalled an incident when she was five years old, some 22 years ago, and recalled with great vividness an incident which was the cause for her behavior today. She then used this unearthed memory to contact her childhood doctor to discuss the incident. Thanks to this retracing of her psychological roots, she could then better cope with her current state of being and understand the cause for her behavior. Several such cases are discussed in this paper. Of the fifty patients studied, only five showed no benefit from this testing.
The results from this line of investigation show again that LSD is an extremely
beneficial tool for better self-actualization and understanding. The ability
to review personal incidents from a new perspective and with "a different
set of eyes" seems to help most people who are capable of grasping the
depth of the experience and have the mental capacity to accept and understand
these feelings, visions, and memories. In most of the research I have personally
reviewed, LSD therapy accomplishes in leaps and bounds what would take normal
psychotherapy years to understand about the nature of one's self. Given the
growth of psychotherapy in recent years, it would be interesting to compare
how many people could quickly uncover issues causing problems in their personal
lives in one or more LSD sessions, as opposed to the years they spend with their
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