Erowid References Database
“A note on the treatment of LSD psychosis”.
Behav Neuropsychiatry. 1969 Oct 29;1(7):29-32.
Although the psychiatric literature (Frosch, 1965, Ungerleider, 1966) reports psychotic episodes following injection of LSD, to my knowledge there have been no discussions of treatment of such cases. The almost universally accepted treatment for such cases is chlorpromazine or another phenothiazine tranquilizer. Within the psychedelic movement, and among physicians and other professionals who have had personal experience with LSD, there is a growing concensus that the tranquilizers, although they may bring the patient down, do not allow him to work with the material that has been released or uncovered (Leary, 1964, Smith, 1968). This latter position of course dovetails with certain approaches to endogenous schizophrenia, such as that of Laing (1967) in which the goal also is to allow the patient to live and work through what might ultimately be a salutary experience.
The following case is illuminating and interesting because both approaches were used simultaneously, with rather surprising results. It illustrates the theoretical feasibility but practical difficulty of the second approach (of allowing the psychotic to go on his trip) and the necessity of considering the whole ecological framework in which this kind of work is done. The case also raises again, in acute form, the whole question of mental hospital policy: Are we in fact trying to help people master bewildering internal fears and confusions, or are we involved in protecting ourselves from the discomforting behaviors of those we call 'mad'?
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