LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is a hallucinogen that can affect the way one feels, thinks or views life and the things in it. The drug was first used in clinical trials to treat schizophrenia until it was understood just how powerful it was. Because the drug is extremely powerful and unpredictable, LSD addiction treatment is often needed when one decides to stop taking the drug.
Where Did LSD Come From?
According to the University of Washington, Albert Hoffman produced LSD for the first time in 1938.The drug was synthesized from ergot, which is a fungus that can be found growing on grains such as rye. His intent was to produce a drug that would stimulate respiratory function and circulation. Instead, after accidentally ingesting the drug, he experienced its dizzying and mind-altering effects.
Ways It Can Be Used
LSD is taken orally and is commonly found in pill or capsule form. The drug is often placed on blotter paper and is chewed or swallowed in order to get the desired effect. It also comes in small breath-freshener bottles that can be dabbed on the tongue, and it can take the form of sugar cubes. It takes very little LSD to produce symptoms, especially in one that has never taken the drug. Other names for LSD include acid, yellow sunshine, boomers, superman, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, microdots, loony toons and zen.
What Are the Effects?
LSD users report a wide variety of symptoms. They are different from person to person and vary depending on the amount of the drug that is taken at one time. An individual will often seek an LSD addiction treatment program after experiencing some of the more severe symptoms. Common symptoms of the drug include:
- Vivid colors
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Increased heart rate
- Unexplained feelings of strangeness
- Confusions and psychosis
- Extreme emotions of sadness, fear or happiness
- Weakness in the muscles
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
“…the drug often increases a sense of awareness, and users have even reported seeing sound or hearing colors.”According to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Diversion Control, the drug often increases a sense of awareness, and users have even reported seeing sound or hearing colors. The effects of the drug begin approximately 30 minutes to an hour after it is consumed, and they can last up to 12 hours. When a person is feeling the effects of the drug, it is often referred to as a trip. The trip can be either a bad one or a good one.
Warning Signs of Addiction
The drug does not usually produce immediate addiction. Addiction to LSD and other hallucinogens is usually rare, but it can occur. The effects of LSD are mind-altering and last for a long period. Whether or not the drug gave a good high can only be determined by the user. A user will not experience withdrawal symptoms after the first initial usage. Instead, the drug produces a psychological addiction. When a person tries LSD and has a good experience with it, he or she will probably continue to use it, depending on how accessible the drug is. A bad experience with the drug is sometimes enough to discourage future use.
Once an individual decides to continue using the drug, he or she builds up a tolerance very quickly. It takes more and more of the drug to satisfy cravings or to produce the same vivid effects that were initially felt. Once an individual begins to develop a tolerance, typically LSD addiction treatment is required in order to stop taking the drug.
LSD is an unpredictable drug. You may have two different experiences while taking the exact same dosage of the drug. Quite often one who uses LSD also uses other drugs, such as alcohol and marijuana. Generally, when a person develops a tolerance to one hallucinogen, he or she can tolerate other hallucinogenic drugs, such as mushrooms. When the two drugs are combined, they can produce a high that will last for weeks.
LSD and other hallucinogens are easy to find. They are extremely popular among college-aged students and are often regarded as a club drug. The drug is easily accessible and overdosing is not uncommon. Signs of an LSD overdose include:
- Panic attacks
- Dangerous behavior
- Blood clotting issues
- Respiratory issues
How to Respond During an Overdose
A person seeking help from an LSD overdose may have intense fears, even fears that they are dying. This is usually caused by a panic attack. A physician will prescribe a tranquilizer such as diazepam to help control the feelings of anxiety. The person is then monitored until the effects of LSD have worn off.
Available Options for Treatment
Once an individual becomes addicted to LSD, it may be necessary to go through an LSD addiction treatment program in order to overcome the addiction. The first step towards overcoming the addiction is admitting there is a problem and reaching out for help. The most common method of treatment for hallucinogen addiction or any drug addiction is through an inpatient treatment center. An inpatient treatment center is usually the best treatment option for one suffering from LSD addiction, because LSD addiction often occurs with addictions to other substances. An inpatient center will admit the individual into a medically supervised environment where trained professionals can monitor behavior and physical well-being. An inpatient facility removes the person from peer pressure and other stresses that may have initiated the drug use.
The initial process of LSD addiction treatment is LSD detox. When an addict first stops taking the drug, a wide variety of symptoms may result. LSD detox symptoms include:
- Severe hallucinations
- Depression and anxiety
- Loss of memory
- Suicidal tendencies
- Inability to concentrate
- Decreased attention span
While in treatment, the addict will meet with a psychologist who will determine the underlying causes of the addiction. The professional will also help the individual work through any existing feelings of denial. This will help the addict take responsibility for their actions. The psychologist will offer behavioral therapy. This will assist the individual in returning to normal day-to-day activities. The recovering addict will learn new ways in which to spend time. Instead of turning back to drugs or alcohol, a recovered addict is encouraged to find a new hobby or interest.
Behavioral therapy is extremely important in a treatment program. Initially, an addict will believe that his or her addiction is different from an alcoholic’s addiction. The addict will feel that he or she can stop without help from anyone else, and that if he or she cuts back on the drug symptoms will subside and stopping the drug completely will not be necessary. Addicts often feel that smoking pot or drinking alcohol is no big deal when combined with drug use. A drug addict will make excuses and have reasons not to join a support group. Addicts may feel that they cannot relate to the people in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous because their problems are not as severe as members of those groups. Behavioral therapy helps the addict overcome the feelings of denial and accept personal responsibility.
Along with individual therapy, LSD addiction treatment usually involves group therapy. Group therapy helps by allowing the addict to mingle with others who are going through the same thing. It often helps to know that you are not alone and there is someone else struggling through the same challenges. Individuals in the group are encouraged to share stories of successes and failures as a method of supporting one another.
Another alternative for LSD addiction treatment is through an outpatient treatment program. These types of program are day programs. Addicts spend the majority of their day in a treatment facility where they will go through individual and group therapy and where they are monitored. At night, individuals are allowed to return to their homes. This is often a good alternative for addicts who are not suffering from a severe addiction or those who are not addicted to other drugs. The most important thing to remember with an inpatient treatment program is that the user must keep all appointments and group meetings in order for the treatment to be successful.
The Rehabilitation Process
“Drug and alcohol addiction is a lifelong disease.”Drug and alcohol addiction is a lifelong disease. Once addicts have successfully completed an LSD addiction treatment program they will move into the maintenance phase, or rehabilitation. LSD rehab usually involves continuing individual therapy. This is used in combination with joining a support group. Most support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotic’s Anonymous (NA) meet once a week. Your therapist can direct you to the group closest to where you live. Membership for support groups is usually free. The only requirement is that the person actually must have been an addict at one time or have used the drug.
The main goal of a support group is to help the person stay motivated to remain drug or alcohol free. Narcotics Anonymous is a group that was born out of AA in the 1940s to help those recovering from drug addiction. It is based on the same principles that AA is based on. AA encourages self-confidence and works to develop self-esteem. This group uses the 12 steps and 12 traditions of NA to help individuals walk through the rehab process. The 12 steps include:
- Admit that the drug addiction is beyond your control.
- Believe that a higher power can help you work through the addiction.
- Turn your life over to God and seek His will in your life.
- Create an inventory of yourself and what you have become.
- Admit to all of your wrong doings to God, yourself and others.
- Ask God to help remove character flaws.
- Ask God to remove all of your shortcomings.
- Make a list of everyone that you have hurt and figure out how you can make amends.
- Contact people on your list and ask how you can make things better.
- Continue to take a personal inventory of yourself.
- Pray and meditate daily.
- Help others suffering from addiction.
It is important during your LSD addiction treatment to attend weekly meetings. They help to encourage you throughout the week and to remind you that others have been through the same process and have been successful.
Possibility of Relapse
Recovering addicts may find themselves beginning to slip back into their old ways or behaviors. Usually a relapse doesn’t happen overnight. It is a slow process that builds up over time. There are things that you can look for that will help prevent the relapse before it happens. Signs can include:
- Changes in attitude concerning recovery. You no longer have time to go to group meetings.
- Overwhelming feelings of stress.
- Return of the feelings of denial that you ever had a problem.
- Change or lack of structure in daily routine. You may find yourself doing things you once did when you were using.
- Having a hard time socializing with others.
- Feelings of a lack of control over your life.
- Return of depression or anxiety.