LSD is one of the most common hallucinogens available today. It is manufactured from a fungus called ergot that can be found on rye and other grains. LSD is usually found on blotter papers that are placed on the tongue and allowed to dissolve. These blotter papers are little squares of paper that often have colorful images printed on them. The drug itself is lavender in color and comes in powder form. LSD effects vary from person to person. LSD effects begin 30 to 90 minutes after the dose was taken, and the effects can last up to 12 hours. The effects of LSD are very unpredictable. They depend greatly on the personality of the user and his or her mood at the time of use. Because LSD is an illegal drug, it officially serves no legitimate medical purpose.
Short-Term Effects of LSD
According to the 2016 National Survey of Drug Abuse and Health, approximately 9.6% of people in the Unites States over the age of 12 have used LSD at least once in their lives. Its use is currently most popular among high school and college-aged students, and the drug is most often used at parties and raves.
The way that LSD affects an individual can vary from one person to another. It is highly unpredictable, and the effects can depend a lot on the person’s mood or attitude at the time of use. Because LSD is placed on blotter papers, it is often hard to tell exactly how much of the drug is taken at one time. During manufacture, it may be difficult to determine an exact measurement of the drug. The slightest deviation can affect the way the drug reacts. The drug itself is not addictive, but an individual can develop a tolerance to it, which can lead to addictive behaviors.
The most common short-term LSD effect is a sense of euphoria. This is often described in terms of trips. If an individual has a good experience while taken the drug, it is referred to as a “good trip.” If the individual has a particularly bad episode, it is referred to as a “bad trip.” The trips can vary from day to day in the same individual. On one day, a person may experience an overwhelming sense of happiness. On another occasion, the same individual may experience scary images and feelings of danger. The goal is to have as many good trips as possible.
The most common short-term effects of LSD use include, but are not limited to:
- High-blood pressure
- Hallucinations; an individual may taste, smell or see things that are not there
- Becoming out of touch with reality
- Dilated pupils
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Increase in body temperature
Long-Term Effects of LSD
LSD users can quickly develop a tolerance to the drug. LSD addiction is different from addiction to other drugs in that it does not cause physical withdrawal symptoms. The addiction is more psychological in nature.
Some of the most common long-term LSD effects include, but are not limited to:
- Drug tolerance
- Delusional behaviors
- Vision problems
- Lack of motivation to participate in daily activities
- Lack of enjoyment in things that once caused pleasure
- Mood swings
- Inability to communicate well with others
- Irrational thinking
- Difficulty in distinguishing reality from hallucinationsv
- Extreme feelings of depression
- Overwhelming feelings of anxietyv
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
- Inability to cope with life circumstances
- Problems in relationships
- Lack of success and motivation in work or school
- Promiscuous behaviors
- Criminal charges
- Violent behaviors
Like all drugs, once a person develops a dependency, it can affect all aspects of their life. The individual will spend much of their time trying to figure out how to get more of the drug. Their main goal in life may seem to revolve around taking the drug or finding more. They lose any interest in relationships and those who are closest to them.
Individuals who develop a strong tolerance for LSD are usually so out of touch with reality that they may end up in serious accidents or compromising situations. The drug can intensify feelings of belonging, and an individual may feel that they love everyone. This can lead to increased sexual activity. Promiscuous behaviors can lead to STDs and other sexually transmitted diseases. It can also lead to unwanted pregnancies.
Treatment Options for LSD Abuse
There are a number of treatment options for people who abuse LSD. Though it is not necessarily physically addicting, it can be psychologically addictive, meaning you crave it, think about it all the time, and believe you need to use it to feel normal. Traditional inpatient or outpatient treatment programs can help address these issues in group and individual therapies, as well as in classes that teach you how to function in your everyday life without the drug.
You can also engage in regular therapy sessions with a counselor who is trained to work with people with substance abuse disorders. They can help you explore your reasons for using and abusing LSD and help you resolve underlying issues that may be driving the addiction. You can search any number of online directories for therapists in your area who specialize in drug addiction treatment.
- Passie, T., Halpern, J.H., Stichtenoth, D.O., Emrich, H.M., Hintzen, A. (2008). The pharmacology of lysergic acid diethylamide: A review. CNS Neuroscience Therapies, 14, 295–314.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). National Survey of Drug Use and Health.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.