The surprisingly delightful musings of a humble Virginian whose satiric paeons to a plausible utopia implicitly shame the cynical zeitgeist of our times, causing it to cry, as 'twere, 'Damn, what was I thinking?' or words to that effect.

June 2018
in response to 'Could LSD be the newest treatment for depression?', April 19, 2018, The Cavalier Daily

UVA's Cavalier Attitude Toward LSD Therapy

I beg to differ with Professor Teachman and your "anonymous student," both of whom apparently see no call to disrupt traditional behavioral health treatment with LSD therapy. I beg to differ based on 40+ years of experience as a recipient of that status quo treatment about which Professor Teachman appears to be so sanguine.

I'm still as depressed as ever thanks to the status quo, and out many thousands of dollars to boot.

But let's prop the two treatment options up side by side and see how they compare:

The Status Quo

My treatment under the status quo has addicted me to Effexor, required me to pay for that drug for life, obliged me to be a patient for life, reminded me that I'm a patient every time I have to go downtown to see the doctors about my "maintenance medications."

Most professionals in the mental health system do not acknowledge, let alone understand, the severe demoralizing power of this addiction, of being eternally beholden to the medical establishment for the substances that they peddle.

Worst of all, the Effexor worked wonders only for the first few weeks of use, followed by years of decreasing efficacy. After 20 years on Effexor, I am now as depressed as ever, but now I have the additional problem of being addicted to the drug that was supposed to help.

LSD and its potential

Meanwhile, there is a class of drugs (psychedelics) that has single-handedly cured alcoholism (ask AA founder Bill Wilson), has reams of positive results dating back millennia, is not addictive, is ridiculously inexpensive, and does not require me to be an eternal patient and client of the mental health system of America.

And yet this is the option that Teachman and company want to tiptoe around, second guess, and avoid in the name of the status quo?

Personally, I think it's a grave injustice that a person in my position is not at least allowed to try the other path. It's tantamount to a denial of my religion, insofar as I take the doctrine "know thyself" seriously and I am convinced that guided psychedelic therapy is the best candidate for helping me achieve that goal in my lifetime.

Of course, it's perfectly easy to see why the LSD option would be horrifying to the status quo in the medical field, and particularly to drug companies, who stand to lose billions when addicts like myself are no longer paying a monthly fee for a legal fix. After all, I'm not showing up at the clinic every few months because I love the medical system: I'm there under duress because the relatively ineffective medicine that they've given me has addicted me for life.

If I've learned one thing from my experience with the mental health system in America over the last 40 years, it's that the real drug problem is addiction, not highs or trips. It's addiction that demoralizes, by keeping one dependent on others, during the very time when the efficacy of the addicting substance is diminishing.

So if the professor and your anonymous student don't want to take part in this new revolution of treatment, I hope they at least won't try to stand in the way.

I hope they'll at least acknowledge that a patient with 40 years of dissatisfaction with the status quo should have the right to pursue other options, even if these options are difficult for old-school scientists to get their head around since psychedelic experiences are inherently difficult to categorize with the sort of numeric "objectivity" demanded by Western researchers.

Copyright 2017, Brian Quass (follow on Twitter)