LSD is a semi-synthetic psychedelic drug and one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals available.[i] It is sold in tablet, capsule and liquid form. Recreational use is referred to as tripping and generally leads to highs that last up to 12 hours. When LSD (also called acid) enters the brain, it disrupts interaction of nerve cells and serotonin. This triggers hallucinations and creates profound distortions of reality. People under the influence of LSD may see, hear and feel things that do not exist. Other side effects include the following:
- Mood swings
- Terrifying thoughts
- Feelings of despair
- Intense fear of losing control
- Fear of insanity
Physical effects include the following:
- Elevated body temperature
- Raised heart rate
- Decreased appetite[ii]
Individuals who use LSD can also suffer from recurrences of the drug experience, called flashbacks, without warning long after the chemical has left their bodies. A condition known as hallucinogen-induced persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD) results when these disruptions persist and cause social and occupational impairment. Acid flashbacks are not fully understood, but within the scientific community the following three theories about them prevail:
- Damage induced by LSD exposure may cause the brain to misfire and send incorrect signals.
- LSD may change the way the brain functions and perceives information, making it more sensitive to light and creating visual halos and trails that can occur at any time.
- Some portion of the LSD usually gets stored in the body or brain and released later.
Although the drug is not considered addictive, abuse can lead to tolerance. That means that individuals must take larger doses of the drug in order to achieve the same effect. Given the unpredictable nature of the drug, this is a highly risky practice.
Getting Help and Assessing Your LSD Recovery Needs
There is no cure for HPPD but people can recovere from psychological dependence of LSD through professional treatment centers. Once individuals decide to enter rehab, assessing their recovery needs is a critical next step. Typically, a recovery team that includes doctors, therapists and social workers creates a recovery roadmap. An individual treatment plan (ITP) is important because no single approach is appropriate or effective for everyone. Customizing treatment to match treatment settings, interventions and services to an individual’s unique needs boosts recovery rates and lowers relapse risk. A good ITP addresses all aspects of an addicted individual’s life, including the following areas:
Components of LSD recovery may include the following:
- A comprehensive medical evaluation
- Nutritional counseling
- Spiritual guidance
- Support group attendance
- Recovery-focused volunteer opportunities
To be effective, an ITP must be appropriately tailored to an individual’s age, gender, ethnicity and culture. It should target both the individual’s drug abuse problem and related concerns, which may include the following:
Accurately and thoroughly assessing LSD recovery needs and creating a recovery plan to address them yields benefits that continue long after treatment officially ends.
Help for LSD Abuse
If you or someone you love is struggling with LSD abuse, help is available. Admissions coordinators at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can guide you to wellness. You don’t have to feel alone when support is just one phone call away. Start your recovery today.