Friday, August 22, 2008

Psychedelic drugs could heal thousands

New research into the benefits of hallucinogens alongside psychotherapy is welcome: in my experience they change lives

There is a horrible sense of meaninglessness and chaos that comes from the extreme loneliness of being cut off. Trauma, whether sustained in the family, or in the military during combat, renders millions feeling unsafe, insecure, mistrustful, and in the end isolated, lonely and desperate. Judith Lewis Herman, who wrote the definitive book on trauma and recovery, stated that all so-called mental illness and suffering could be seen as a person's misguided attempt to survive trauma. Fear separates, love unites. We all wish to grow to freedom, to belong, to participate. Hatred is like gangrene, shame is deadly. Forgiveness is but a faint hope.

Sandoz began to market LSD in 1947 as a psychiatric panacea, the cure for everything from schizophrenia to criminal behaviour, sexual perversions, alcoholism, and other addictions. During a 15-year period beginning in 1950, research on LSD and other hallucinogens generated over 1,000 scientific papers, several dozen books and six international conferences, and LSD was prescribed as an adjunct of psychotherapy to over 40,000 patients. The current research using psychedelics heralds a reawakening to the magnificent healing possibilities of these now prohibited substances. After over 40 years of repression or oppression, Rick Doblin of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Maps), and others are spearheading a more enlightened, less hysterical and terrified approach to the use of these substances. I am participating in what hopefully will be Canada's first government approved clinical trials in 40 years, sponsored and organised by Maps, evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder.


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