LSD and the Brain and Psychotherapy
Researchers at Imperial College London, have undertaken brain scans on the effects ofÂ lysergic acid diethylamide more commonly known as LSD. The hopes of this research is that it might be possible to utilise this controversial drug for the treatment of patients with psychological disturbances like addiction and depression.
Many people might find this unusual, but LSD had been used in psychotherapy in the early part of the 20th century as a matter of course.Â Â Early research into the use of LSD for therapy clearly showedÂ that the drug can facilitate reliving of various emotionally relevant episodes from infancy, childhood, or later life.
With regards toÂ traumatic memories, this process was preceded and accompanied by powerful emotional abreaction and catharsis. These reactions could be enhanced through traditional psychoanalysis and hypnotic approaches to regression. Researchers and therapists decidedÂ explore the value of LSD as an agent for abreactive therapy in a way similar to the earlier use of ether, short-acting barbiturates, or amphetamines, in the same indication. Historically and theoreticallyÂ the use of LSD in psychotherapyÂ can be traced back to the early concepts of Freud and Breuer.
The use of LSD may prove a novel additional tool in the psychotherapy arsenal. However, the use of this must follow cautious steps.