What Is LSD Addiction?
LSD Addiction: Signs, Dangers and Recovery
What is LSD?
Lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly referred to as “LSD” or “acid,” is a psychedelic hallucinogen that produces changes in perception, sense of time and space and emotions. LSD is active at very small doses (around 20 micrograms). The drug is most commonly taken orally, in the form of tablets, droplets, or most commonly blotter paper that is absorbed on the tongue and swallowed.
Although LSD is considered to be a non-addictive drug, users often become addicted to the sights, sounds, and revelations they experience while under the influence, also called “tripping.” Users can develop both a tolerance and a psychological dependence to psychedelic drugs like LSD. There have been documented cases of prolonged, intense use causing negative side effects such as paranoia or psychosis.
Because it is typically delivered on small pieces of paper, it is difficult to independently assess what an average dose is. This is compounded by the fact that different individuals react to LSD differently. It is important to know that taking too much LSD can lead to feelings of dissociation and alienation. Research indicates that for most individuals, 20 micrograms of LSD is so small that it provides minimal euphoric effects.
LSD is in the Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the most criminalized category for drugs. Schedule I drugs are considered to have a “high potential for abuse” and no currently accepted medical use; however, LSD has been used in many therapies and has shown some success in treating depression and anxiety. This is a very new avenue of research. Although LSD has been known to have some positive side effects, the drug affects everyone differently and can produce serious physical and psychological effects.
Immediate Effects of LSD
LSD is known for its profound changes in consciousness and perception. During a “trip,” users experience a wide variety of effects, most often visual and other sensory distortions, changes to thought processes, intense emotions, and for some people, surprising new insights and life revelations. The effects of LSD typically last around 8-10 hours, with peak effects occurring 4-6 hours after ingestion. Common side effects include:
- Sensory enhancement
- Dry mouth
- Visual hallucinations
- Auditory hallucinations
- Synesthesia (i.e. “hearing” colors, “seeing” sounds)
- Impaired depth perception
- Panic attacks
Tolerance to LSD develops quickly; if a specific dose is taken every day for 3 consecutive days, no reaction will occur by the third day. Users who abuse the drug regularly must take progressively higher doses to achieve the same state of intoxication that they have previously experienced. This practice is particularly dangerous, as when the dose amount increases, so do the chances of the user experiencing a “bad trip” with negative psychological side effects.
The unpredictable and risky behaviour often caused by LSD and the side effects of the drug make it extremely dangerous. When users are on trips that can last for 12 hours or more, they often exhibit low inhibition or react to other effects of the drug, such as hallucinations. This may lead to dangerous actions and injury, along with social, legal, and professional consequences. LSD is also dangerous when mixed with other drugs, especially anti-depressants such as lithium. The most serious effects of LSD are likely to only happen after large and frequent doses, but can potentially be life-threatening, including: hyperthermia, suicidal thoughts, and psychosis.
LSD Abuse Statistics
LSD use is more common than many people might expect:
- 2008 (USA Government statistics) report that approximately 3.1 million people in the US between the ages 12-25 have experimented with LSD
- According to the 2014 ‘Monitoring the Future Study, 3.7% of 12th graders in the United States have used LSD at least once.
- According to the 2014 Global Drug Survey, 27.22% of Americans that have used LSD have experienced a ‘bad trip’
Signs of LSD Abuse
Some of the common signs of LSD abuse which you may notice (when an individual is not tripping) include:
- Being increasingly secretive
- Spending time with different friends
- Neglecting responsibilities including work, school, family, friends
- Less interest in activities they previously enjoyed
- Tired appearance
- Bad skin condition
- Avoiding social occasions where using or obtaining LSD would not be possible
Inpatient Care and Rehab for LSD users
LSD users become addicted to the feelings that hey experience when tripping and the urge to experience one more trip can often be too much for a user to handle on their own. The Lighthouse Bali’s proven combination of an initial Primary Inpatient Program*1 followed by Outpatient Care and Ongoing Therapy can help the LSD user get their life back on track. Through individually tailored treatment, professional therapy, and compassionate support, you will be given the tools you need to ensure the best possible chances of a long term recovery.
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, we urge you to reach out and contact us in confidence. Our private programs are tailormade to suit individual needs and our doctorate level clinical staff have extensive experience in the field of addiction. If you are not currently in Bali but would like to begin a recovery program immediately, contact us and we may be able to arrange a VISA for entry in to Indonesia. We also have online recovery options available which can be taken should you not wish to travel.
To talk to one of our team members, contact us on WhatsApp or by Phone. Alternatively, send us an email and we will either answer your questions in writing or call you back, according to your preference (Contact Us).
We understand how difficult it can be to reach out for help but it’s the first step towards recovery and a happier, healthier way of living.
*1 The duration of Primary Inpatient Programs and Outpatient Care varies according to individual circumstances. Both Inpatient and Outpatient treatment is based around monthly (28 day) increments. As a general guideline we recommend between one to three months Primary Inpatient Programs for LSD users, followed by one to two months of Outpatient Care in Bali, and up to six months of ongoing therapy (by Zoom or Skype from home). Program durations are dependent on individual circumstances – no two addictions or individuals are the same. The longer you stay in rehab, the better your chances of staying clean when you return home.