Is LSD really the answer to Alcoholism?

Researchers from at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analysed studies (meta-analysis) that used single doses of LSD to treat alcoholics from the 1960s and 1970s.  The studies included 536 participants in total. They looked at the results of all of these studies which were all randomised controlled trials (double-blind).  They found there was a benefit of the LSD treatment at the first follow up after treatment (1-3 months) but this was not statistically significant at the 6 month follow up.

They state, that according to their meta-analysis, a single dose of LSD compares well with a daily dose of  naltrexone, acramposate, or disulfiram (which are three commonly prescribed approved medications for reducing relapse in alcohol dependence.

Not surprisingly the publication of this study was followed with a range of headlines:
And many others. 

It even prompted a quote from Professor David Nutt (published on the BBC website): 

'Prof David Nutt, who was sacked as the UK government's drugs adviser, has previously called for the laws around illegal drugs to be relaxed to enable more research.
He said: "Curing alcohol dependency requires huge changes in the way you see yourself. That's what LSD does.
"Overall there is a big effect, show me another treatment with results as good; we've missed a trick here.
 "This is probably as good as anything we've got [for treating alcoholism]."'

I am no expert in alcoholism, and I want to tread carefully here and I recognise that it is an incredibly complex issue. One treatment is not going to cure all overnight (as demonstrated by 
the meta-analysis). 

The scientific findings of the study seem sound, but I am mostly disappointed that no-one has made a comparison of the findings of the study with other methods like attending AA meetings. Does a significant number of people remaining sober for 3 months really mean that LSD will help alcoholism? What is deemed as successful when treating alcoholism? 

AA report, states that a 2004 survey found that 50% of AA members were sober over 5 years.  This is based on a survey that they carried out and not subject to peer review, so the conclusions they come to have not been subject to proper controls and scrutiny. Also there is nothing to say in the AA study that the people attending the meetings were taking any supplements to aid their sobriety... however, I just thought it was an interesting point to add into the mix. 

I would welcome anyone to add further information, studies and data!


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