Addiction To LSD

Although LSD is considered to be a non-addictive drug, people can become addicted to the sights, sounds, and revelations they experience while “tripping.” Users can develop both a tolerance and a psychological dependence to Psychedelics like LSD. There have been documented cases of prolonged, intense use causing negative side effects such as paranoia or psychosis.

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Understanding LSD

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, commonly referred to as “Acid” or LSD, is a Psychedelic Hallucinogen that produces changes in perception, sense of time and space, and mood. LSD is active at very small doses (around 20 micrograms). The drug is most commonly taken orally in the form of tablets, droplets, or blotter paper that is absorbed on the tongue and then swallowed.

Because LSD is typically delivered on small pieces of paper, it is difficult to independently assess what constitutes an average dose. This is compounded by the fact that different individuals react to LSD in different ways. 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 shows some success in treating depression and anxiety. There is even some evidence to suggest that LSD also has the potential to treat PTSD and addiction. Although LSD has been known to have some positive side effects, the drug affects everyone differently. In some cases, serious physical and psychological effects may occur.

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LSD Effects And Abuse

LSD is known for the profound changes it causes in consciousness and perception. During a “trip,” users experience a wide variety of effects. These most often include visual and other sensory distortions, changes to thought processes, intense emotions, and, for some people, surprising new insights and life revelations. LSD’s effects typically last around 8-10 hours, with peak effects occurring 4-6 hours after ingestion. Common side effects include:

  • Sensory enhancement
  • Delusions
  • Sweating
  • Alienation
  • Dry mouth
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Synesthesia (e.g., “hearing” colors and “seeing” sounds)
  • Dissociation
  • Anxiety
  • Impaired depth perception
  • Panic attacks
  • Flashbacks
  • Depression

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; when the dose amount increases, so do the chances of the user experiencing a “bad trip” and negative psychological side effects.

Featured Centers Offering Treatment for LSD Addiction

Risk of overdose is very low with LSD, and the risk of fatal overdose is essentially nonexistent. LSD is far from safe, however, especially considering the risky behaviors and side effects that can occur as a result of use. Users may experience trips lasting for 12 hours or more, often exhibiting low inhibition. Users may also have strong reactions to the drug’s hallucinatory effects. 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 Antidepressants such as Lithium. The most serious effects of LSD are likely to only happen after large and frequent doses, but they can be life-threatening. Extreme side effects may include hyperthermia, suicidal thoughts, and psychosis.

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LSD Abuse Statistics



A 2008 study reported that about 3.1 million people in the US between the ages of 12-25 have experimented with LSD.



According to the 2014 Monitoring the Future study, 3.7% of 12th graders have used LSD at least once.



The 2014 Global Drug Survey reported that 27.22% of Americans who have used LSD have experienced a “bad trip.”

Getting Treatment For LSD

Although LSD is physically non-addictive, users can become psychologically addicted to the drug’s effects and suffer numerous consequences as a result. If you or someone you love is abusing LSD, there are multiple inpatient and outpatient treatment centers that can help. Many different types of therapy, including dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and lifestyle skills therapy, have been proven to help Hallucinogenic dependency. Treatment methods such as relapse prevention, support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and ongoing therapy have also been proven effective. Contact a treatment provider to learn about available rehab options today.



Jena Hilliard

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  • Jena Hilliard earned her Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the University of Central Florida in English Literature. She has always had a passion for literature and the written word. Upon graduation, Jena found her purpose in educating the public on addiction and helping those that struggle with substance dependency find the best treatment options available.

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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:

Theresa Parisi

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  • Theresa Parisi is a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager (CBHCM), and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC) with over 12 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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