Over the past decades, scientists and psychologists all over the planet have conducted a variety of studies concerning LSD. The uncontrolled use of the hallucinogen has impacted nearly all areas of society, including religion, politics, and the art industry. The research confirms that hallucinogens can be beneficial for curing psychological disorders, and the use of LSD in treatment has several benefits, as well as challenging side effects.
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The world has not stopped studying LSD, and modern scientists continue discovering the impact of the hallucinogen on the human brain. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was first synthesized in 1938, and its psychoactive qualities were found a few years later (Liechti, 2017.) Since LSD has a powerful effect on the brain, the research began to look at it as a potential tool for curing psychological disorders. Though LSD’s use remains illegal in most of the world, Switzerland is currently offering legally authorized LSD-assisted psychotherapy for rare cases, which have to be approved by the Federal Health Office (Liechti, 2017.)
There is no certainty that the world will adopt such a practice, but the fact that LSD can have a place in psychological treatment is undeniable.
There are several possible therapeutic benefits of LSD that are verified by the research. The studies have shown that LSD produces positive feelings, such as happiness, trust, closeness, and increased desire for socializing (Dolder et al., 2016.) If used in addition to psychotherapy, LSD will find its place in curing anxiety disorder. According to Anderson et al. (2019), the hallucinogen is effective in treating depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, and tobacco and alcohol dependency. Careful application of the presented drug under medical control has the potential to become a helpful tool in treating joint disorders and addictions. Lastly, LSD is proven to be safe for clinical use (Johansen & Krebs, 2015.) As long as there are professionals involved, the hallucinogen will benefit psychological recovery without putting the patient in danger.
Along with benefits, there are also various consequences of using LSD for therapeutic purposes that deserve public attention. First, LSD weakens recognition of negative emotions, which can affect one’s social interactions (Dolder et al., 2016.) The inability to feel sadness or guilt will rob a person from experiencing the full range of emotions necessary for effective communication. The second concern about utilizing the hallucinogen in treatment is its aftermath. Unfortunately, LSD as a therapeutic agent has unpredictable side effects such as flashbacks and severe psychopathology (Larsen, 2016.) In other words, those who receive the before-mentioned treatment will be at risk of developing additional psychological disorders, which is unacceptable. Thirdly, applying LSD in psychotherapy might result in frequent headaches and increased levels of anxiety (Anderson et al., 2019.) As noted previously, the drug is proven to be effective in treating anxiety disorder, but it is also confirmed that the side effect can amplify the disorder. The presented factors show that including LSD in the treatment plan can potentially cause serious issues that will require additional attention.
Over the years, the scientific field has discovered various qualities of lysergic acid diethylamide and begun to consider this drug as a therapeutic agent. There are several positive aspects of utilizing LSD in treating common psychological disorders that can ease the suffering of many people. At the same time, the research has identified the harmful side effects of using the hallucinogen, which might stir up a chain of negative consequences.
Anderson, T., Petranker, R., Christopher, A., Rosenbaum, D., Weissman, C., Dinh-Williams, L. A., Hui, K., & Hapke, E. (2019). Psychedelic microdosing benefits and challenges: An empirical codebook. Harm reduction journal, 16(43), 1-10.
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Dolder, P. C., Schmid, Y., Müller, F., Borgwardt, S., & Liechti, M. E. (2016). LSD acutely impairs fear recognition and enhances emotional empathy and sociality. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(11), 2638-2646.
Johansen, P. Ø., & Krebs, T. S. (2015). Psychedelics not linked to mental health problems or suicidal behavior: A population study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 29(3), 270-279.
Larsen, J. K. (2016). Neurotoxicity and LSD treatment: a follow-up study of 151 patients in Denmark. History of psychiatry, 27(2), 172-189.
Liechti, M. E. (2017). Modern clinical research on LSD. Neuropsychopharmacology, 42(11), 2114-2127.