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Van Dusen W, Wilson W, Miners W, Hook H. 
“Treatment of alcoholism with lysergide”. 
Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol. 1967;28:295-303.
Several impressive reports (1,2,3) have suggested that a single treatment of alcoholics with lysergide (LSD, d-lysergic acid diethylamide) produces a substantial rate of recovery. The present study is an attempt to confirm this finding. MacLean et at (1) at Hollywood Hospital, British Columbia, and Smith and his co-workers (2,3) at the University of Saskatchewan, have worked with mostly male alcoholics who had an average of 11 to 14 years of uncontrolled drinking, and were hospitalized for only a few days to a little over a week. Our patients were all women, hospitalized for 30 days after 7.8 years of uncontrolled drinking, and probably have a better prognosis than theirs. The Hollywood Hospital patients had a number of advantages that were not reported in the literature. Many were selected for good motivation, had money, and supportive friends and relatives. The investigators would often buy them clothes, take them out to dine, get them jobs, and work 60 hours with them. Under these circumstances it seems questionable to attribute the whole benefit to a single session with lysergide. The other modes of help appear less elaborate in Smith's work. Other successes with lysergide have been reported (4-7) but they too mostly lacked controls. The single exception is the Jensen and Ramsay study (6) in which the control group appears to have been an entirely different program from the lysergide group. It does not seem clear to everyone that without some sort of control it is impossible to know whether a newly tried procedure is working or one is simply getting what the normal selection and care of the patients produces without the added "magic". Along with Smart and Storm (8) and Smith (9) it appears fair to say the study of treatment of alcoholics with lysergide has passed a promising pilot phase and now needs adequate experimental control. There is subtle humor in Fould's (10) finding that 730f new treatments reported in psychiatric journals lacked controls and that 830f uncontrolled but only 250f controlled studies reported success. We will comment later on some of our own findings that might have seemed significant had we not had controls.
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