Achieving Long-Term Recovery from LSD Addiction

Achieving long-term recovery from LSD addiction

People who suffer with LSD abuse benefit from the life skills and stress management techniques offered through addiction treatment

A successful recovery from LSD addiction happens gradually–one moment at a time. While the thought of going forever without LSD seems challenging, it only takes paying attention to each day to really make it.

Understanding LSD Use and Addiction

An addiction to LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) affects a person’s brain and his thoughts about reality. The potent hallucinogen brings on fantasy beliefs and alters the way a person experiences the world—he may see smells or hear colors. A person develops an addiction to LSD for a variety of reasons. The drug may help him escape painful memories or a stressful life, or it may add excitement and variety to a boring week. The hallucinations brought on by LSD, however, are not consistently positive. It is just as likely a person will experience a terrifying experience, known as a bad trip.[1]

In addition, ongoing use of LSD brings on various psychological problems and may exacerbate schizophrenia and psychosis.The drug affects neurochemicals that control a person’s mood, senses, memories and perception of pain. It also brings on physical changes to body temperature and heart rate. People using LSD experience anxiety, panic, anger and paranoia. Under LSD’s influence, it’s possible for a person to do something extremely dangerous or violent while confused by hallucinations.Drug trips last anywhere from six to 12 hours, making it challenging for a person to function normally or meet obligations.[2]

A person who takes LSD may experience flashbacks (sudden hallucinations and other mood disturbances) days or more than a year after using the drug. It’s also possible to develop hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), which disrupts someone’s senses and thinking even when he’s not taking the drug. LSD also produces tolerance in a person’s system, meaning it takes higher and higher doses of the drug to feel the same effects. Drug tolerance leads to increased risks, including more time under LSD’s influence.2

LSD Addiction Treatment Options

LSD use involves deep psychological, emotional and mental issues that need to be addressed before recovery can occur. Professional addiction treatment programs offer behavioral modification and psychological counseling to treat LSD use and prevent relapse. These therapies teach patients to live life without drugs and break habits associated with drug use. Counseling offers treatment for psychological issues that an individual cannot address on his own.[3]

Living in Recovery from LSD Addiction

A person who wants to find long-term recovery from LSD addiction may feel ambivalent about sobriety at first. It’s easy to feel like nothing is changing or progress is hard to achieve. The act of changing is full of intense spurts combined with periods of stability. Since living in recovery is essentially the same as monitoring a chronic disease, ups and downs are common.

Furthermore, recovery is challenging, especially when a period of great success is followed by a setback. Everyone experiences recovery in a different way. Research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that one-third of patients achieve permanent abstinence after a first recovery attempt, an additional one-third have brief setbacks but then achieve long-term abstinence while the final one-third struggles with chronic relapses that impact health and quality of life. People who suffer with LSD abuse benefit from the life skills and stress management techniques offered through addiction treatment. Their chances of living in long-term recovery are good.[4],5

Researchers at SAMHSA note that the developmental model of recovery includes six stages that indicate a path toward long-term recovery. The stages follow:

  • Transition (realization that no safe amount of LSD can be taken)
  • Stabilization (overcoming psychological urges to use LSD and learning to avoid triggers)
  • Early recovery (understanding that LSD must be avoided and supportive friends and family are needed)
  • Middle recovery (the act of developing a balanced, healthy lifestyle)
  • Late recovery (the act of identifying self-destructive beliefs and overcoming irrational thinking)
  • Maintenance (lifelong process of growth and development)[5]

It’s possible to feel that recovery is stagnant at any point or at the end of a milestone, like the first year. Feelings of restlessness indicate it’s time to reach out to supportive people and find new ways to grow as a person.

Need Help Finding Long-Term Recovery Treatment for LSD Addiction?

An LSD addiction is a serious condition and needs treatment as soon as possible to avoid further psychological problems. If you or a loved one needs help or information about LSD addiction and treatment, please call our toll-free number. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day, so please don’t hesitate to call now.


[1] Davis, Kathleen. (2015). What is lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)? Effects and hazards of LSD. Medical News Today. Retrieved Sept. 19, 2016 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295966.php

[2] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What are hallucinogens? Drug Facts. Retrieved Sept. 19, 2016 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens.

[3] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. Retrieved Sept. 19, 2016 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction.

[4]Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Treatments for Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved Sept. 19, 2016 from http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/substance-use-disorders

[5]Office of the Secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services (1999). Understanding Addiction, Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery. Chapter 2 of Blending Perspective and Building Common Ground. Retrieved Sept. 19, 2016 from https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/blending-perspectives-and-building-common-ground.