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In Strange Facts about Addiction Parts 1-3 we detailed a number of unusual and little-known facts about addiction and drug dependence. This included the fact that drug addiction has caused wars, can occur to animals and babies, poses a risk of death during detox, and is ultimately an evolutionary survival tactic that hasn’t adapted well to modern life. In this fourth and final installment in the series we’ll discuss two more strange facts about addiction with the intent of propagating public knowledge about this disease in an effort to defeat it.
Albert Hoffman – a Swiss chemist and researcher responsible for the discovery of LSD-25 – tested the drug extensively on himself. In fact, Hoffman’s early accounts of his experience with the drug are considered among the most valuable available, as the mere notion of expecting to take LSD as we understand it today profoundly affects the way people experience the drug. Hoffman was unaware of what the drug was or what its immediate and lasting effects would be.
After accidentally exposing his hands to a derivative of ergot – a fungus that grows on wheat and corn and is thought to have been responsible for the witch and werewolf hysteria in centuries past – Hoffman became disoriented and began to have visual disturbances. From his widely distributed notes as published on the Shaffer Library of Drug Policy;
“Last Friday … I had to interrupt my laboratory work in the middle of the afternoon and go home, because I was seized with a feeling of great restlessness and mild dizziness. At home, I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant delirium, which was characterized by extremely excited fantasies. In a semiconscious state, with my eyes closed (I felt the daylight to be unpleasantly dazzling), fantastic visions of extraordinary realness and with an intense kaleidoscopic play of colors assaulted me. After about two hours this condition disappeared.” (1)
After writing about this first experience, he tested the drug on himself again and again, and soon LSD was shared with others in the industry, causing a virtual sensation in the field. Hoffman and others theorized that the drug could be successful as a means of treating psychoses, and soon more respected individuals were taking the drug themselves in order to understand its effects. However, after a number of years of testing and clinical use, the drug was virtually discarded by the medical community and has since been made illegal.
One fact that few people realize about drug addiction is that for many addicts relapse and withdrawal generally become progressively worse each time. This means that symptoms of Acute Withdrawal Syndrome are more severe and last longer, and that the amount of effort required to break the immediate active addiction phase is significantly increased. This worsening is important to note because as most addiction professionals will tell you, relapse is an accepted part of recovery for most people.
If you’re dealing with any of these issues personally as a result of drug addiction, taking action now could mean the difference between a rapid path to salvation and a quick fall further down the addiction spiral. Don’t become another statistic – get help now just by picking up the phone for a free, immediate consultation. We’re here 24 hours a day, so there’s no reason not to call.
(1) Brecher, Edward M Shaffer Library of Drug Policy LSD is discovered The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs