The Religiosity of LSD Users with Pre-existing Schizophrenic Tendencies

Kailey Marie Babcock

Abstract


It is a popular opinion that LSD users retain more spiritual, religious, and open-minded qualities than the average person. The attraction of its supposed spiritual benefits have contributed to the growing community of its users. However, the mechanism behind these effects, and whether they are as beneficial as the proponents of this drug claim they are, remains unknown. In some individuals, the resulting religiosity could actually be stemming from the psychological damage that the drug can cause, particularly in those with preexisting psychosis or similar schizophrenic tendencies. Long-lasting changes in perception or the onset of hallucinogen persisting perception disorder after the initial use of the psychedelic have been reported more frequently from this group than average users. Considering religious delusions are included in the myriad of LSDs adverse effects, it seems possible that this intensification of spiritual beliefs is caused by the drug’s psychological consequences. To explore the true mechanism behind the drug’s spiritual effects, correlations between religiosity, mental instability, and the injurious repercussions of LSD were examined from a multitude of sources. The trends of worsened psychosis in mentally unstable individuals after their LSD use, alongside the observed religiosity among those with schizophrenic traits because of religion’s role as a coping mechanism, have led to the suggestion that this drug contributes to the psychosis that ultimately plays a role in their religious beliefs. Although spirituality has been viewed as a positive consequence of LSD, the suggestion that it is merely a causation of the worsened psychosis in some people may now deter those with schizophrenic illnesses from using the substance. Moreover, the applicability of these results to otherwise mentally stable users of the drug could be tested in future research to further the psychological understanding behind LSDs elicitation of spirituality.


Keywords


Religiosity; LSD; Schizophrenic Tendencies

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