Autism On Acid: How LSD Helped Me Bridge the Autistic-Neurotypical Divide
At the age of 27—after a lifetime of struggling with autism spectrum disorder and concurrent clinical depression—Aaron Paul Orsini received a dose of LSD that gave him access to emotional and social intuition for the very first time. This 75-minute talk includes Aaron’s first-hand account of his LSD-assisted breakthroughs in behavioral and occupational therapy, as detailed in his newly published essay, “Autism on Acid”, paired with evidence-based theories on the mechanisms of action of LSD, and explorations of how LSD and other 5-HT2A Agonists could be used as “neurological contact lenses” for those struggling with social, emotional, and sensory disabilities.
Aaron Paul Orsini is a writer, public speaker, and survivor of a decades-long battle with clinical depression resulting from social isolation, mental rumination, and hypo-sensitivity issues common in autistic individuals. When Aaron was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of 23, he took comfort in receiving a diagnosis but remained deeply depressed as a result of seeing himself as broken and blind; someone who just couldn’t and wouldn’t “get it”. But then came his first experience with LSD, during which he became INTUITIVELY aware of the very stimuli he’d been incapable of perceiving throughout his life. Thanks to LSD---and a yet-to-be-fully-understood combination of chemically-induced synesthesia and associated fluctuations in intrinsic functional connectivity within the salience and default mode networks---Aaron can now perceive critical social cues embedded in facial expressions, speaking tones, and body language, which in turn means he feels fully connected which in turn means he feels fully connected to the human experience, and fully capable of navigating the social and emotional landscapes of life.
Alexandria Michele and Scott Polhill