Disclaimer: This article is not intended to present medical advice or encourage/discourage anyone from pursuing a course of action. It is crucial for recovering addicts to consult with trusted medical professionals and personal support networks together with conducting independent research before pursuing new or controversial treatments for medical conditions.
One of the hot topics percolating to the top of media both old and new is the clinical utilization of micro dosing LSD for the treatment of medication-resistant depression.
, For sober addicts a poignant question runs parallel with the promise this new treatment holds. Given the history of LSD as a recreational drug, one often used in concert with sober addicts’ “drugs of choice”, many are asking, “is clinical use of this substance safe and appropriate for recovering addicts?”
Studies have shown that a significant percentage of alcoholics/addicts have a dual diagnosis, with clinical depression being a common co-occurring condition. According to the National Institute of Health, around one-third of individuals who struggle with substance abuse also experience clinical depression. It’s worth noting that numerous sober addicts suffer from clinical depression even after many years of sobriety. Many have manifestations of clinical depression that are resistant to conventional medications. They are ‘stuck’ in clinical depression despite exerting maximum effort working 12-step programs, many also supplementing spiritual practices with psychotherapy and conventional antidepressant medications. This article explores the topic of micro dosing LSD as a potential treatment option for these sufferers.
Sober addicts must exercise special caution when considering this controversial therapy. Many have used LSD in street potencies. They are likely concerned that ingesting medical micro doses of LSD may ‘trigger’ their past euphoric or “bad trip” experiences , thereby jeopardizing their sobriety.
LSD carries a stigma from its decades-long history as a recreational street drug taken by drug users for its powerful effects when ingested in high doses. For some sober addicts, memories of misadventures with LSD are inextricably linked to experiences with other illicit substances and their past lifestyles. Opponents of LSD treatment for recovering addicts emphasize concerns that it will cause addicts to revisit dangerous psychological places.
Detractors are likely to point out statements from sources like University of Chicago Medicine, that contend nearly all glowing ‘evidence’ supporting the stellar effectiveness of LSD treatment for clinical depression is anecdotal and unscientific.
For historical context it’s essential to consider AA cofounder Bill W’s experience treating clinical depression with LSD in early Alcoholics Anonymous. According to sources, Bill W experimented with LSD in the 1950s to help with his own deep depression and later introduced it to several AA members for the same reason. However, AA members ultimately rejected the use of LSD and other psychoactive substances. They elected to focus on recovery through an almost exclusively spiritual approach while generally discouraging the pursuit of medical/scientific roads to contented sobriety.
Over the decades, mainstream AA culture softened on members fortifying their spiritual programs with psychotherapy and some psychoactive medications. Today, many sober AA members supplement their spiritual practices with therapy and antidepressant medications, often appreciating positive results.
Sadly, positive results are elusive for the many who suffer from medication-resistant depression.
These souls are mired in hopelessness, with no apparent way out. Still, many are reluctant to investigate the promise that clinical applications of micro doses of LSD may hold for them.
Critics of LSD therapy claim it carries the risk of activating dormant addictions or creating new ones in sober patients. Proponents of LSD treatment counter by referencing sources like the National Institute of Health, which states that LSD is not considered an addictive drug because it doesn’t cause uncontrollable drug-seeking behavior.
Some detractors express concerns that legions of drug seekers will pursue LSD therapy as a strategy for obtaining illicit drugs legally, thereby capturing the libation of ‘using’ while mitigating the costs. Concerned parties believe that numerous ‘patients’ will in actuality be drug seekers chasing the mythic “freelapse.’ Some fear this will push many addicts toward full-blown relapse, while also generating new addictions to LSD.
Proponents counter by remarking that drug seekers already chase various prescription drugs currently in use throughout our medical system. They emphasize the dilemma of malingering is the consequence of the actions of individual drug seekes, that it is not caused by the responsible practice of therapies. This is especially true of LSD , which delivers no “high” to the patient at all. Proponents note that drug seekers are sure to be disappointed if they’re hoping to get a “buzz” via LSD therapy, as the micro doses administered are measured to roughly 1/10th the minimum amount understood to get one “high.” LSD Therapy is designed not to reward drug seekers with an illicit libation.
Of course, it’s essential for anyone contemplating new or controversial medications to consult with their trusted medical teams and personal support networks. it’s always prudent to conduct one’s own research as well. At the same time it’s crucial to consider the risks of leaving clinical depression unremedied. “Misery is optional” is an adage commonly used in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among the risks of living with deep depression are deteriorating personal relationships, poor work performance, and declining overall health. The intense hopelessness symptomatic of clinical depression can itself trigger alcoholic and drug relapse, and even lead to suicide. Proponents of LSD therapy assert that pursuing a promising new treatment option, even a controversial one, must at least merit investigation without prior contempt.
Several curious onlookers are still forming opinions about LSD therapy. Among these are skeptics who feel that much of the media buzz is sensational drama. They find passionate assertions both pro and con unconvincing. For example, they note that both advocates and detractors cite the newness of LSD therapy as the sole reason for the dearth of evidence supporting beliefs that it already yields spectacular benefits or causes great harms. Some observers predict LSD Therapy will unlikely pan out to be the magic bullet to destroy depression or a fearsome siren that will surely lure many toward the precipice of relapse and active addiction. Some opine that LSD Therapy will emerge as neither the bold and beautiful breakthrough that so many hope for nor the perilous path to perdition that so many fear. They view LSD Therapy as a work in progress, one that appears to hold substantial promise for many depressives, but whose true effectiveness and long-term safety are yet to be determined.
LSD is not the only formerly illicit substance being administered in controlled micro doses for the treatment of medication-resistant depression. Micro doses of ketamine, psilocybin and MDMA are currently being prescribed and administered medically as well.
The role these new therapies will play in treating clinical depression must play out over a course of time. More will be revealed through continuing research and experience.
So, brave and beautiful breakthrough or perilous path to perdition?
As the saying goes, “only time will tell.”
–El Lobo Sobrio
*Sources for this article are available by following hyperlinked text.