LSD as a Therapeutic Tool
by G.R. Schmiege - 1963
Reviewed by Oliver Mandrake
The article reviews therapeutic research with LSD in psychotherapy since the
early 1950es, mainly in the USA, Canada, and Great Britain. The two main
approaches, LSD as psychoadjuvant (multiple small doses used in multiple
sessions) and LSD as psychedelic (one large overwhelming dose in a single
session with supporting therapy before and after) are explained and
supported by data from clinical studies. Several interesting case studies
LSD was found to be helpful in work with alcoholics, chronic neurotics,
obsessive-compulsives, manic-depressives, sexual fetishism, and as aid in
psychotherapy in general. Patients' improvement rates of 50% (alcoholics)
and even up to 80% and more (including those patients with "some
improvement") were reported. LSD was found less useful with schizophrenics
The article's conclusion:
1. Lysergic acid diethylamide has been in therapeutic use for about. 12
years. It is used in two ways: one large dose may be given to elicit a
"psychedelic" experience; or it may be given as an adjunct to psychotherapy
in small multiple doses.
2. Although a large literature has been built up, much of it is
unsatisfactory because of lack of specificity in describing patients,
inadequate controls, and too few long fol1ow-up studies. .
3. The drug is often used as a last resort on very sick patients who have
responded to nothing else. Therefore, good effects take on added
significance because of the poor selection of subjects. Results have been
especially encouraging in personality disorders, including sexual deviates
and alcoholics. Good results have also been reported in
obsessive-compulsive patients. Many therapists have found that LSD speeds
psychotherapy in neurotics.
4. The drug has been disappointing in schizophrenics.
5. LSD has a wide safety margin and in the hands of experienced
investigators does not produce hazardous side-effects.
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