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Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 9. September 2014


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Pressestimmen

"Shroder filters the psychedelic world [and] presents a compelling case for supporting responsible, rigorous research of psychedelic compounds... Empty your mind of any preconceptions about psychedelic drugs and enjoy a fascinating trip through the politics, science, history, and promise of these controversial chemical compounds."
- Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

"A well-respected journalist offers evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, about the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs... this clear-eyed account [explores] both the complex history of the issue and the current thinking on the use of LSD, Ecstasy and other psychotropic substances for healing troubled minds... Occasionally, the stories are amusing... often, they're moving... a perceptive criticism of the failings of America's war on drugs, and Shroder delivers an important historical perspective on a highly controversial issue in modern medicine." - Kirkus

"[Acid Test] explores the therapeutic possibilities of LSD and Ecstasy (MDMA), and, more broadly, the potential of the human mind... Guided by Shroder's easy narrative tone, readers follow an activist, a marine, and a physician-turned-psychiatrist who developed a philosophy of psychedelic therapy through self-experimentation... Shroder both informs readers about the drugs' shadowy pasts and provides insight into the future of mental health." - Publishers Weekly

"This is not about the 60's. This book reveals the ongoing struggle to create valuable lasting therapies for PTSD in all its forms. Funny, hopeful, and sad by turns, these stories make me believe that someday soon, MDMA will be accepted as valuable, even desirable, to counteract the despair of so many returning veterans and other souls whose lives are turned upside down by PTSD. If ever interventions are needed, it is now. Acid Test presents an alternative to anguish and anxiety, showing a route of return to balance by use of compassionate therapies along with an outlaw drug. Millions of Americans suffer from the terrors of war or crime , and perhaps soon, we can say help is on the way."
- Carolyn Garcia, also known as Mountain Girl, a former Merry prankster and wife of Jerry Garcia

"Over the last thirty years women have gone from the kitchen to the boardroom, people of color from the woodshed to the White House, gay men and women from the closet to the altar, and all of us have embraced a new vision of life itself on this fragile blue planet. Yet when we recall the factors that unleashed these dramatic transformations there is one ingredient in the recipe of social change that is always expunged from the record: the fact that millions of us lay prostrate before the gates of awe having ingested LSD or some other psychedelic. Tom Shroder's Acid Test is an inspiring and profoundly hopeful book."
- Wade Davis, author of The Serpent and the Rainbow

"Tom Shroder has written a book that is at once captivating and utterly surprising, with mind-blowing revelations of a lost history. The scourge of war and trauma and the mysteries of human consciousness fills virtually every one of the gripping chapters. With its impressive research, masterful storytelling and ultimately, the possibility of hope and healing, Acid Test is destined to be an important book."
- Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed

"Acid Test is a trip of a different kind. Tom Shroder makes the hunt for relief from modern wars' biggest killers - depression and post-traumatic stress disorder-come alive in bright, unforgettable colors, characters and emotions."
- Dana Priest, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author of Top Secret America

"Acid Test is a breath of fresh air after half a century of general hysteria, misinformation, confusion and questionable decisions of scientific, political, and legal authorities concerning psychedelic substances. Tom Shroder's fascinating, well - researched, and clearly written account of psychedelic history, from the discovery of LSD to the current worldwide renaissance of interest in these remarkable substances and revival of research in this area, is a tour de force. Most important—socially, economically, and politically - is the book's focus on the psychedelic newcomer MDMA (Ecstasy). The pilot studies of this substance suggest that it might play an important role in helping to solve the formidable problem of PTSD that kills more American soldiers than the weapons of enemies."
- Stanislav Grof, M.D., author of LSD Psychotherapy, The Ultimate Journey, and Psychology of the Future

"I read Acid Test with wonder and excitement. Wonder at seeing a controversial topic through Tom Shroder's fresh and lucid eyes. And excitement at the promise of healing that he reveals."
- David Von Drehle, author of Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year

"Tom Shroder weaves together three compelling stories with such mastery that Acid Test reads like a first-rate novel. The book is that much more intriguing and consequential though because the stories are true and the subject matter - the healing of post - traumatic stress - of great currency and importance. We need to know how to treat the trauma that afflicts most of the world or we’re in deep trouble."
- Richard Rockefeller, former chairman of U.S. Advisory Board of Doctors Without Borders

"If you think LSD is a relic of the Sixties, or good for nothing except getting high, you need to read this riveting and important book. It's the fascinating story of how LSD and MDMA can, with controlled use, bring near-miraculous benefits to people suffering from mental trauma. Tom Shroder is a fine journalist and a terrific writer; in Acid Test, he's written a book that should start a long-overdue national conversation, and someday may help to end a lot of unnecessary suffering."
- Dave Barry

"A captivating narrative with irresistible characters. It will leave you wondering whether we have the moral right to oppose this breakthrough therapy."
- Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Fiddler in the Subway

"Acid Test is a superb book. The people Tom Shroder introduces us to are across-the-board fascinating, the reporting he's done is deep and persuasive, and the writing is dazzling. Best of all, though, is what any open-minded reader will feel after finishing Acid Test: In a world of hurt, here is a new version of hope."
- David Finkel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Good Soldiers and Thank You for Your Service

"Acid Test is a trip of a different kind. Tom Shroder makes the hunt for relief from modern wars' biggest killers - depression and post-traumatic stress disorder - come alive in bright, unforgettable colors, characters and emotions."
- Dana Priest, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author of Top Secret America

"Faced with the challenge to alleviate the suffering of today's combat veterans, we must open ourselves to considering new modalities, revisiting therapeutic agents criminalized by fear and ideology, and harnessing the power of healing rituals and ancient wisdom. Tom Shroder's Acid Test offers a timely and compelling story of stories, illustrating the struggles and opportunities for hope and healing. Put politics and preconceptions aside; open your mind; read this book; follow the data; and speak truth to power so that scientific rigor and emerging knowledge can lead the way. We owe our fellow humans no less."
- Loree Sutton, psychiatrist, retired US Army Brigadier General and founding director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury

“[A] thoughtful, provocative book about the therapeutic promise of psychedelic drugs. A terrific storyteller, Shroder crafts compelling and convincing [character] portraits…never losing a light, often funny touch.”
—David Burr Gerrard, Biographile

“[A] fascinating tale…Acid Test reaches its positively thrilling climax in [a patient’s] intense ecstasy-assisted therapy sessions…Reading about the relief Blackston experienced practically brings tears to the eyes. Acid Test makes a convincing case that such therapies ought to be prescribable by all practicing psychiatrists.”
—Gregory Crouch, The Washington Post

“Shroder's truly open mind is subjected to three men—a New Age-y foundation director, an ER doctor, and a Marine with PTSD—who believe that psychedelic drugs like Ecstasy may help some victims of trauma and brain injury. Shroder's careful observation and research make this book serious, but his curiosity and lively intelligence make [Acid Test] a great read.”
—Bethanne Patrick, Washingtonian

“[A] book that weaves intimate biographies of key players in psychedelic research with the stories of the patients they aim to help....Acid Test is a crucial addition to the story of science's psychedelic renaissance.”
Reason Magazine

“[E]xciting and energizing…Acid Test is much more than just a history book…Everyone in this inspiring book comes to the same basic conclusions: that shifts happen when difficult feelings are accepted rather than repressed, and that psychedelic drugs do not create new worlds, but simply reveal what is already in the mind.”
—Tania Glyde, The Lancet

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

TOM SHRODER is an award-winning journalist, editor, and author of Old Souls, a classic study of the intersection between mysticism and science. As editor of The Washington Post Magazine, he conceived and edited two Pulitzer Prize–winning feature stories. His most recent editing project, Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State, by Dana Priest and William Arkin, was a New York Times bestseller.

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Amazon.com: 4.7 von 5 Sternen 57 Rezensionen
39 von 41 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen His PTSD resisted the full range of treatments from the VA until he met … • Michael Mithoefer lived an easy life, Trinity Colleg 9. September 2014
Von Thomas B. Roberts - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
What The Grapes of Wrath did for the 1930’s economic calamity, Acid Test may do for today’s PTSD plague. Just as Grapes caught a wave of public opinion and helped produce economic policies, Acid Test catches a wave of changing public opinion about psychedelic drugs and is likely to inform health policies.

Acid Test comes just as research on the psychedelic psychotherapeutics reenters the medical and scientific mainstream. For example, the July 4 issue of SCIENCE, the prestigious flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. presented two supportive articles. The first reviews current worldwide research such as that on going at the Johns Hopkins Medical School and at NYU’s Langone Medical School in conjunction with Bellevue Hospital. The second features Rick Doblin, one of Acid Test’s three principal characters.

Starting separately, Acid Test follows the lives of three men from their adventurous young adulthood to socially responsible maturity.

• Rick Doblin is the scion of a North Shore family near Chicago who lived a life of nude swimming, building a handball court and house, and an easy-going life at New College in Sarasota, Florida, until he experienced a life-changing psychedelic trip and dedicated his life to psychedelic psychotherapy by founding the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. As Shroder writes, “from a rebellious hippie to the sponsor of cutting-edge scientific research in some of the nation’s more conservative institutions.”

• Nicholas Blackston lived in a trailer near Paducah, Kentucky, much bullied as an outsider and because of his strange experiences. He joined the Marine Corps and was deployed to Iraq, where he experienced the terror, fear, violence, guilt, and gore of war—multiple times. His PTSD resisted the full range of treatments from the VA until he met …

• Michael Mithoefer lived an easy life, Trinity College, a commune, medical school, leisurely sailing the Caribbean while home-schooling his daughters on board, an emergency room physician where he became fascinated by the psychology of health and healing. In Acid Test, we see him as a ground-breaking psychiatrist who lead the first government-authorized clinical research using MDMA “Ecstasy” to treat PTSD—at firstmostly for domestic violence and rape cases then treatment-resistant war-related PTSD in the second.

With a novelist’s skill to involve readers’ attention with his characters’ inner thoughts and emotions as well as their actions, the arc of Shroder’s three biographies meet in dramatic psychotherapy sessions lead by Dr. Mithoefer and his wife Annie, a BSN. Other patients that appear include women who were victims of rape and other abuse who also had been resistant to the standard forms oft treatment. Their voices as well as Nicholas’s and all the other characters enliven the book with rich, human dialog.

Tom Shroder is an award-winning journalist, editor, and author of Old Souls, a classic study of the intersection between mysticism and science. As editor of The Washington Post Magazine, he conceived and edited two Pulitzer Price-winning feature stories. His most recent editing project, Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State by Dana Priest and William Arkin, was a New York Times best seller.

Enriching background along the way, Shroder weaves in the histories of many of psychedelic’s leading historical characters: Albert Hofmann and Werner Stoll in Switzerland, Aldous Huxley and Humphry Osmond in the US and Canada, Stan Grof in Czechoslovakia and Esalen Institute, Charles Grob (UCLA) and Roland Griffiths’ (Johns Hopkins). Readers learn the highlights of psychedelic history smoothly integrated into the book’s stories.

Who turn out to be the heavies in this story? The Veteran’s Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Institute of Mental Health, their cronies in Congress, and irresponsible journalists. All let exciting stories overpower scientific evidence. Until public attitudes towards MDMA changes, they are likely to remain adamant. Acid Test can make those changes.

Unlike impersonal scientific studies, Shroder’s book puts human faces on Nicholas and the female victims of abuse and their suffering, and it puts Rick’s, Michael’s and Annie’s humane faces on those treating it. Acid Test may be the spark that unites Americans by presenting a way to overcome our PTSD plague. We are no longer trapped in a hopeless situation.

What will it take for Acid Test to fulfill its role just as The Grapes of Wrath did? In the 1930’s, groups banded together to fight economic problems and in the 1970’s for HIV-AIDS research and treatment. Acid Test has the power to organize sufferers from civilian violence and their families and friends, activate veterans and their families and friends and organizations, awaken mental health associations, civic organizations, and general citizens to pressure Congress, the VA, and NIMH to fund clinical research into this promising, powerful, yet neglected treatment.

-------------------------end review-----------------------------------
Thomas B. Roberts is author of The Psychedelic Future of the Mind among others and a Professor Emeritus in the Honors Program at Northern Illinois University: niu.academia.edu/ThomasRoberts
21 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Couldn't put it down! 25. September 2014
Von Ramen Noodles - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is probably the best written book on the subject of using psychedelics for legitimate medical treatment of various mental health issues that there is. Most people would probably be surprised to learn that a tremendous amount of medical research was done on psychedelics prior to the harsh government crackdown on these incredibly useful medicines. The research was very promising. Through the use of this special and unique class of medicines, it's possible to completely cure (yes, I'm using the "C" word) various mental health issues including depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and others. Researchers were certain that psychedelics had a very bright future in the field of psychiatry.

What happened? The excesses of the 1960's counterculture happened, that's what. The War on Drugs was launched to crack down on the counter culture of the 60's and sadly, unfortunately for those who suffer from debilitating mental illnesses, psychedelics were made illegal in this crackdown, despite strong testimony from medical researchers and practitioners that this class of drugs DID NOT belong in the same category as other Schedule 1 drugs.

In the past few years research has slowly and quietly resumed on the use of psychedelics to treat mental illness. This book gives a brief history of psychedelics, the ensuing government crackdown, and the rise of new medical studies.

This is not a boring read at all. The chapters of the book alternate between the lives of several people including Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and his tremendous efforts to make MDMA-assisted psychotherapy legal. Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist involved in ongoing MDMA studies, and Nicholas Blackston, a Marine who developed PTSD while serving as a machine gunner in Iraq. The book is a page-turner and it is written in such a way as to make you want to keep reading to see what happens next.

On a personal note, I discovered psychedelics a few years ago as a way to treat the many years of depression and anxiety that I have suffered. After a trip to the Amazon Jungle last year to use the shamanic brew ayahuasca, I can honestly say that I've experienced a dramatic improvement in my symptoms. I'm not 100% cured yet, but I suspect one more trip to the jungle will take care of that. I just think it's sad that I have to travel to another country in order to get the medical treatment I need. I sincerely hope that the day will come (hopefully very soon) when such treatments are commonly available.
23 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Well written, more informative than I would have guessed. 12. September 2014
Von Irwin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I figured it would be a lot of material I already knew, but aside from the stuff about Hofmann it was all new material. I loved hearing Rick Doblin's backstory and gained even more respect for him. Overall it was very inspiring.
13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating Vibrant and Brilliantly Researched 1. Oktober 2014
Von John Konrad - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Having worked with the author on past projects I was eager for the release of this book but somewhat disappointed when I learned of the subject. My first thought was 'of course drugs help in treating anxiety disorders such as PTSD' as do movies and fast paced fiction and vacations to bora-bora.... by dulling pain, obscuring the facts, turning off reality or distracting you from the cacophony of voices within your head... but I was wrong.

This book doesn't advocate the using drugs to anesthetize the brain, rather it investigates the ability of certain drugs to help patients tune in and achieve deeper clarity.

This brilliantly researched book does for the reader what Shroder proves LSD and Ecstasy can do for patients... unlock and explore the fascinating, vibrant and highly evolved inner world of the human brain.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen and the truth will set you free! 4. Dezember 2014
Von a badly positioned hole near centre of chariot wheel - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book cuts the propaganda and delivers the honest to god truth about the chemicals of the gods.

I hear medical bosses and the politicians are still in league to suppress this biography of the chemical of the gods and all political parties are still at it, like a troop of clapping penguins, carrying on the masquerade, and so it is our duty to give a copy, or to just speak the truth, to our friends and family. Those who think it is all an escape from reality are missing the point. LSD opens the gates to another place, a place we can never put into words, but it is still there, all of the time; like an eternal Mozart symphony, in the atmosphere, that our senses are all deaf to, until we take LSD.

Trying to pin down weird experiences with words is like trying to eat fire with an axe. Weird experiences you see can never be embodied or wrapped up into digestible words. Zen Buddhists talk about the impossibility of describing liberation. The original doctrines of awakening came from Vedic India. When done correctly, these doctrines will break open your hopelessly dreary reality and set you on your way to Nirvana, Moksha, and God (take your pick) . Unfortunately, only the special adepts achieve this goal; in original Buddhism for example, Nirvana was not meant for the peasants. (Forget all that New Age Mad'ayana 'everybody for the ride' rubbish peddled in the west). Thank heavens then for psychedelics. Today we have the new-kids on the block; the psychedelic experience and, more excitingly, the Lsd experience. These molecules can open the gates to worldwide Enlightenment, that is, they are for the masses. Lsd is an especially fast track to the above. It is even more unfortunate then that the LSD experience really is impossible to describe with a voice box and a pen. It's this impossibility of 'solid' evidence that leads those who refuse to step off the merry-go-round of consumerism to conclude that these things are mere hallucinations. It is all an illusion apparently.

Galileo experienced the same frustrations with his peers a few centuries ago when his fellow professors refused to take a look through his telescope. So it behoves us to remember that it wasn't the peasants who refused to look through Galileo's telescope but the scholars with their learning from Aristotle and the Bible. That was 400 years ago but this conservative archetype resonates today. Today it is the psychologists and philosophers, with their learning from Darwinism and Einstein, who refuse to take a glance at psychedelic drugs (they argue that it is all an illusion), whilst outside the academy, the peasants if you will, are partying hard!

So those today, who are claiming it is all an illusion, have to remember that the same thing was said about Galileo's discoveries. Casare Cremonini, the most renowned Aristotelian philosopher of the early seventeenth century, is remembered today as the professor who refused to look through Galileo's telescope (for this Galileo called him 'simplicio'). It was in 1610 when Galileo looked through his telescope and saw the moons of Jupiter. He then realized then that what Aristotle said must be wrong, and the Bible too. Galileo hurried to tell his fellow peers, including his good friend Cremonini, that what they have all been doing for 2000 years was completely wrong and that he had the proof, "look through here and see the proof for yourselves", Galileo would have said. But amazingly, instead of wanting to see these new truths for themselves, Galileo's peers stubbornly refused even to look through the lens! The churchmen of Galileo's day dismissed his telescopic insights as being an optical illusion or hallucination and so not worth further investigation. These medieval professors didn't have to look through Galileo's telescope because they knew what they saw with their own naked eyes (they just knew they 'knew' from 'pure reasoning' in those days!). For thousands of years the naked eye was the only tool available for science and it worked just fine; from advanced mathematics in Greece and India to gothic architecture and beautiful art, this progress was all done with the naked eye. We naturally induce that `this is all there is', but paradoxically, without evidence. This has become known as the paradox of inductive reasoning. It is not logical to infer from an observation, even if that same event happens a thousand times; but the old dogma just kept sticking around. So if Galileo saw the heavens in conflict with the prevailing Aristotelian dogma, then what he saw must be a hallucination. Because astronomers could already see, they concluded that a greater seeing was not possible and so a telescope was impossible! (Gremonini was well rewarded for his junk philosophy by the way. Just like today's academics). Today it is the professors of psychology and philosophy dons who refuse to look into psychedelic drugs. Humanity has made great progress with the naked (unperturbed) mind they say; indeed, we have built brain splittingly complicated intellectual atom smashers with just our normal conscious awareness and so conclude that this is it and that nothing lurks beyond the normal local mind space.

Well today telescopes (and microscopes) are legal and thus we have made progress in the material places. It's a crying shame then that the perturbing of mind is frowned upon by otherwise very intelligent people who really should know better. (Even some reviews of this book dismiss it as some sort of drug fuelled stoner hippy fest! This is a stupid point to take, but as the saying goes, "against stupidity the Gods themselves contend in vain": Schiller). Today it is worldwide illegal to study these spiritual molecules or even to disprove this spiritual springboard hypothesis. Instead we only allow science which completely gives up the ghost in favour of advanced technology, but, in so doing, reduces all matter to flying atoms screaming through empty space, blind and indifferent to our whims. Nobel laureate physicist Steven Weinberg captured this weltanschauung beautifully when he said: "All the explanatory arrows point downward, from societies to people, to organs, to cells, to biochemistry, to chemistry, and ultimately to physics." He thus concluded, "the more we know of the cosmos, the more meaningless it appears". Thus science is meaningless for salvation. Are we not taught this version of reality in school?

Our loving British institutions are carved out of idiotic metaphysical millstones, grinding away at our spirits and, according to this world view, printing stamps of stupidity onto the minds of men; alas, this is a very hard stamp to shake off. This stupidity has forced psychedelics underground with the other good things of life! LSD is seen as evil because it does not fit the prevailing orthodoxy of our times, and even more so, Terence McKenna argued that it threatens our moral bourgeois institutions and the entire capitalist ethic of fearing your neighbour as you fear yourself. This stamp of fear runs deep in our nature. We naturally fear weirdness and clench our fist in moral rage at anything deemed divergent. This fear archetype is imprinted deep in our collective history. For example, in ancient Rome, charitable Christians had to contend with furious emperors and a blood thirsty coliseum. During the middle ages, hurried and harassed families had to dodge an oligarchic priesthood and a stern Church dogma; and today's free spirits must look over their shoulder, in fear of a furious busy-body class, cultural cardinals (politicians, media editors), and an overly enthusiastic police force. The stamp of human nature runs deep indeed.

I am glad that this book sets the record straight!

Moises Pittounikos, author Psychedelic Buddha's: Psychedelic Spirit: Notes on Mushrooms, DMT, Spirituality and the Possible Post Death State
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