People who are dependent on the hallucinogenic effects of LSD crave the drug for a variety of reasons. While it’s not physically addictive, some people develop a psychological addiction to LSD in a matter of days or weeks, depending on personal circumstances.
How LSD Abuse Begins
An addiction may be physical, psychological or both. Although LSD is one of the most potent hallucinogenic drugs, it is not physically addictive. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies LSD as a Schedule I drug; listed drugs have no current accepted medical use and a severe potential for psychological or physical abuse.
Since LSD is not physically addictive, it does not produce withdrawal symptoms, such as cramps or flu-like symptoms, when a person stops taking it. It does create a physical tolerance, however. Tolerance means daily users must increase the amount of LSD they use to achieve the state of intoxication desired. In addition to physical tolerance, some LSD users take other hallucinogenic drugs and build a cross-tolerance between various drugs, including psilocybin (mushrooms). People who experiment with LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs may develop a psychological need to have the drug as a way to find comfort or experience excitement.
Dangers of LSD Use
People who use LSD may experience flashbacks, or sudden hallucinations and other mood disturbances, that occur days or more than a year after using the drug. In rare cases, people who use hallucinogens may develop hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD). This disorder disrupts a person’s senses and thinking even when drugs are not in his system. HPPD may continue for months and disrupt a person’s day-to-day life. LSD also may bring on persistent psychosis, which creates visual distortions, paranoia, mood changes and disorganized thinking.2
LSD Addiction Resources
A dependence on LSD negatively impacts a person’s sense of reality. Hallucinogenic drugs worsen any underlying psychological issues a person experiences and increase a person’s risk of experiencing violence or danger while under the drug’s influence. Someone dependent on LSD benefits from the psychological therapies and social skills training offered through addiction treatment. A professional addiction recovery program looks at all the underlying issues a person has and provides strategies to cope with them without using LSD.
When a person enters treatment for LSD use, it’s not usually necessary to go through physical detoxification. The initial stages of treatment include an intake session to give addiction specialists a chance to work with the patient to set treatment goals and determine a treatment plan. Treatments include talk therapy, individual counseling and group support, which are evidence-based treatments to help people manage stress and overcome temptations to use drugs.
Many LSD users find outpatient treatment is a good option. Outpatient settings offer flexibility and give patients the ability to work and manage childcare responsibilities. Night or weekend programs allow patients to attend individual or group therapy sessions on a flexible schedule; other programs offered during the day allow for intensive therapy, but still give patients the ability to go home at night. Even though patients in an outpatient program continue to work or manage other responsibilities; it’s important to use time in treatment to focus on changing habits, routines or relationships that enabled drug use.4
LSD users who suffer with addictions to other drugs or a co-occurring mental health disorder benefit from inpatient treatment. Inpatient programs give patients the ability to step away from everyday life and focus on building new skills. While the focus for outpatient and inpatient treatment is on the causes of LSD use, the benefit of residential treatment is that it provides a more intensive program with careful monitoring. Inpatient treatment also offers patients greater support transitioning back to daily life and managing stress.4
Get Help for LSD Abuse
Get help for LSD abuse as quickly as possible for the best opportunity to recover and maintain a drug-free life. Recovery may seem overwhelming now, but it is possible. Our admissions coordinators are standing by with information, so please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have about LSD addiction treatment. End the cycle today and call now.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What are hallucinogens? Drug Facts. Retrieved July 18, 2016 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens.