Despite the high efficacy of current PTSD therapy treatments, 5% of all Americans are still affected. One of the most effective treatments is Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET) where clients meet with a therapist to describe, in detail, what trauma they experienced. The end goal of this treatment is for the client to be able to think of the trauma without any distress, and as if it were just another memory. However, a large number of people suffering with PTSD do not seek treatment because they are fearful of retraumatization.
To combat any fears of PTSD therapy, 10 volunteers will be given a microdose of 10μg of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) alongside their regularly scheduled (PET). The LSD will prevent the inhibition of the serotonin receptor, allowing more serotonin than usual to enter the brain. Moreover, as a microdose, these volunteers will receive the serotonin benefit without unpredictable hallucinations and a shorter duration high.
Additionally, another 10 volunteers will randomly be given a saline placebo. This experiment will last 90 days, their PET session will be once a week for 90 minutes, and they will receive a microdose/placebo every 3 days. To quantify the results of our experiment, we will have psychotherapists meet with the patients during and after the 90 days to evaluate their symptoms using the DSM-5 to see if they still classify with PTSD.
If successful, LSD assisted psychotherapy for treating PTSD will open new doors to study LSD, and other hallucinogenic drugs.