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May 1959

Use of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in a Psychotherapeutic Setting

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(5):615-619. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340170081008

In experimental psychiatry the hallucinogenic drugs have a firmly established position; hundreds of articles attest to the growing interest in their psychotomimetic activity. As an adjunct to psychotherapy, however, their potential has been incompletely investigated.

The initial mention of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25) in this connection appears to be the 1950 publication by Busch and Johnson,3 where the drug was described as having "profoundly influenced the course" of progress of eight cases of psychoneurosis. The remembering and reliving of early traumatic episodes were especially noted.

Of subsequent researchers, Abramson1 has investigated the drug most extensively in this country. He uses LSD-25 in conjunction with analytic treatment. Patients are given small doses periodically when they appear to be at a standstill in therapy. He noted that LSD-25 is characterized by pharmacologic safety, maintenance of the patient in a conscious and cooperative state, and repetition without evidence of addiction.