Psychiatry’s Old Bag of Tricks, Use Hallucinogens To Treat Mental Illness

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I was a kid in the sixties. As a teenager at a small, private high school in the 1980s it was all blue jeans, sports, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, lots of beer, a little pot and weekend partying. Scratch that. We partied on weeknights and during off-campus breaks too sometimes. Typical middle class teens.

Acid was a small part of the scene, that I never tried. I got ‘high enough‘ off of drinking alcohol and on the rare occasion a little pot.

There was some internal part of me that sensed my vulnerability, though I would not know until end of first year of college that I was Manic Depressive. And it was not from drug use, appeared out of the blue like from nowhere.

I was also a bit of a hippie-type and read all the required Beat Generation books along with Timothy O’Leary – famed Harvard-trained psychiatrist who used LSD to treat men in prison. I thought he was cool, went and heard him lecture in Seattle once.

Still never tried acid. By that time I knew all about my physical-mental illness and that any psychoactive substance could trigger a manic psychosis. No thank you.

Psychadelic Drug-Induced Schizophrenia

I also had read about folks who used hallucinogenic drugs (LSD, magic mushrooms) and ended-up in a psych ward. And it scared the shit out of me, as it should have.

The below is quoted from an article on LSD by psychiatrist Robert Berezen, M.D. who taught at Harvard Medical School.

” In the ‘70’s, the psychiatric wards were of full of psychedelically induced schizophrenia. I was there. In general, the use of hallucinogens had a devastating effect on American culture which we haven’t fully recovered from to this day.”

“A lot of lives were ruined. Research on hallucinogens was not dropped prematurely, as if from inappropriate fear-mongering, as this article implies. It was dropped appropriately.”

Source: Enough is Enough, LSD Reconsidered.

He is speaking out as psychiatry is now trying to ‘bring hallucinogens back’ as treatment for substance disorders and others.

Psychiatry Wants to Bring Back Hallucinogens as Treatment for Substance Abuse

Below is from an April, 2017 Psychiatric Times article, “Innovative Strategies for Addressing Substance Use Disorders: The Classic Hallucinogens.”

The party line goes

“Although none of these compounds is approved for clinical use, interest in the therapeutic potential of these drugs has increased steadily, particularly in the past decade.”

“Recent early-stage trials of psilocybin in the treatment of alcohol and tobacco use disorders, as well as for anxiety and depression in the context of a life-threatening cancer diagnosis, have had very promising results.”

Source: Psychiatric Times.

Take special note of the “none of these compounds is approved…”.

Then start to go “blah, blah, blah…” as that’s a lot of what the article is, a bunch of goobly-gook trying to sound scientific. And trying to promote hallucinogens as harmless. To convince the reader psychiatry has a new potential wonder drug for all kinds of ills.

More information about this supposedly harmless treatment with hallucinogens:

“The psychological content and emotional tone of the experience are unpredictable but are thought to be influenced strongly by the mental state, preparation, and intention of the person taking the drug; the environment in which the effects are experienced; the dose; and the particular drug that is taken.”

“The content of the experience may be dominated by personal experiences and concerns, dream-like symbolic sequences, or religious or spiritual matters.”

Lets Give Drug Abusers More Drugs with Unpredictable Effects

Let’s give someone who is already self-medicating or has made some poor choices for dealing with life stressors… MORE DRUGS. Woot!

Forget treatment centers, it’s time to find a shrink and trip legally with a prescibed psychoactive drug.

LSD is Not Harmless, Positive Effects Unpredictable

Some hallucinogens are less harmful than speed, cocaine, alcohol, tabacco… non-addictive. So what? They are not without harm.

Like Dr. Berezen states above, the reason they lost favor post 60s was because of the harm they were seen to cause.

“Among the psychedelic drugs that enjoyed a period of popularity in psychiatric research during the 1950s and 1960s, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is the most prominent one.”

“Psychiatrists of that time had seen LSD not only as a tool for psychotherapy but also as a potential therapeutic for anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, autism, and even schizophrenia.”

“When it became a quasi-religious epitome of the Hippie counterculture in the mid 1960s, and cases of what we now call hallucinogen persisting perception disorder and acute psychotic “flashbacks” mounted, authorities moved to make LSD illegal.”

Source: From Psychiatry to Flower Power and Back Again: The Amazing Story of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide.

Hallucinogens Will Not Cure Body-Mind Imbalances or Physical Illness

Popping some acid and gaining greater self-awareness or having a spiritual awakening are both really cool but will not help with any physical-emotional-mental imbalance going on in the body (thyroid, blood sugar, toxins, inflammation).

It will not cure any mental illness. And it will not treat any underlying medical cause that has helped to bring into existence the mental-physical state of suffering the person is experiencing.

Related post: Root Causes of Depression.

And LSD is not a psychological cure all either. A woman or man who was raped as a child and as a result turned to drugs/alcohol to numb the pain as an adult or developed a dissociative disorder does not need to have a ‘spiritual awakening’.

They need to process the abuse, hold the abuser accountable for his or her actions and possibly pursue legal action to prevent others from being abused.

LSD Positive and Adverse Effects on a Normal Body System

Real all about it, then decide whether it is right for you, with all the risks involved.

Here are more documented effects of LSD. All of the below are taken from US National Library of Medicine article: “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide – a Drug of Use?”.

“The usual mental effects are delusions, visual hallucinations, distortion of sense of time and identity, impaired depth and time perception, artificial sense of euphoria or certainty, distorted perception of the size and shape of objects, movements, color, sounds, touch and the user’s own body image, severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of death, panic attacks, and so on.”

“LSD users often experience loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth and tremors. Visual changes are among the more common effects; the user can become fixated on the intensity of certain colors. Extreme changes in mood, anywhere from a spaced-out ‘bliss’ to ‘intense terror’.”

“Behavioral and emotional dangers are often pronounced. Severe anxiety, paranoia, and panic attacks occur at high doses and are called ‘bad trips’.”

“The physical effects produced are: dilated pupils, higher or lower body temperature, sweating or chills, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, tremors, and so on.”

“Stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system can lead to hypothermia, piloerection, tachycardia with palpitation, and elevation of blood pressure and hyperglycemia. These reactions of the autonomic nervous system are not as significant as other effects on the body.”

“LSD users may manifest relatively long-lasting psychoses or severe depression, and because LSD accumulates in the body, users develop tolerance.”

“As a result, some repeat users have to take LSD in increasingly higher doses and this increases the physical effects and also the risk of ‘bad trips’.”

Bad trips, long-lasting psychosis, severe depression, intense terror, tremors, paranoia… not for me. You?

And I don’t think it should be added to psychiatry’s bag of tricks again just because they are incapable presently of coming up with anything better. Make someone suffering from addiction or depression a ‘LSD-induced schizophrenic’?

Use a substance that can create severe mental disturbance with no predictable effects as a form of treatment. Insane.

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