Alcoholics often use the phrase “one foot in front of the other” when discussing their method for continued sobriety, but it turns out that it may be alright to trip every once in a while. Researchers at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine believe they have found evidence that proves the psychedelic fungus known as psilocybin could have a positive impact on the treatment of alcoholism.
In a recent pilot study supervised by Dr. Michael Bogenschutz, a psychiatrist specializing in chemical dependence, participants who reported at least two days of hardcore binge drinking over the course of the past 30 days consumed less alcohol after receiving a single dose of psilocybin. This trend, according to researchers, continued with forward momentum for the next 36 weeks, which resulted in all of the participants experiencing a overall reduction in their alcoholic intake by 50%.
Although the results of the latest study are encouraging, Dr. Bogenschutz says that additional research is needed, and on a much grander scale, before psilocybin can be conclusively determined to ease the symptoms of alcoholism. In this particular investigation, there were only 10 participants, none of whom were vetted to substantiate an increased risk for alcoholic behavior. They were simply recruited from a local advertisement, seeking people suffering from “alcohol dependence.”
Yet, as Dr. Bogenschutz points out, scientists have believed for decades that psychedelic drugs could be the solution for alleviating the madness of the alcoholic mind. “There were a number of trials that had been done with LSD back in the early 1950s through 1970s that were pretty promising, but not entirely conclusive,” he said.
Even Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholic Anonymous, went to his grave convinced that psychedelic substances could provide alcoholics with the “spiritual awakening” needed to continue down the road to recovery. When he first began experimenting with LSD in the late 1950s, Wilson found the drug was a great “ego-reducer,” which could allow people suffering from alcoholism to more easily accept a “higher power,” which would ultimately assist them in regaining their sanity. These methods, however, were eventually rejected by Alcoholics Anonymous.