Insomnia and LSD Abuse

Insomnia and LSD Abuse

Insomnia is a debilitating and common symptom of chronic LSD use

Insomnia is a debilitating and common symptom of chronic LSD use. The powerful hallucinogen disrupts the balance of a person’s neurotransmitters and makes sleeping difficult and erratic.

How LSD Impacts Sleep

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and insomnia go together because the drug frequently creates restlessness and wakefulness. Someone who chronically abuses LSD lives in an in-between state, caught up in visions and uncertainty about what’s real. It takes less than one milligram of LSD to produce hallucinations. The 8- to 12-hour period a person spend hallucinating on LSD is known as a “trip.” Compared to other hallucinogens, LSD is one of the most powerful and its effects are highly unpredictable.1

While a person may feel positive about one trip, another trip may bring on extreme fear and paranoia. Some people undergo such intense feelings of anxiety and fear; they must visit a medical professional to receive a tranquilizer. Researchers don’t fully understand the reasons behind a bad trip, but they believe it is a connection between the drug, the user’s personality and his environment. For some people, there are extremely serious consequences. A person with a pre-existing psychiatric disorder, such as schizophrenia, may experience a complete psychotic breakdown from taking one dose of LSD.[1]

LSD works in the brain by disrupting the natural balance of serotonin, the neurotransmitter than controls the following areas:

  • Mood
  • Sensory perception
  • Sleep
  • Hunger
  • Body temperature
  • Sexual behavior
  • Muscle control

The disruption LSD brings to so many normal daily activities and feelings further exacerbates a person’s ability to sleep, leading to racing thoughts and ongoing distractions.[2]

The Relationship Between Insomnia and LSD

Researchers don’t fully understand the causes of insomnia, but they do see it as a disruption of normal brain activity. People who suffer with insomnia stay awake because the brain struggles with shifting into the normal sleep cycle. While many medical conditions may cause insomnia, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, psychological conditions also worsen the disorder. People who struggle with anxiety or depression have trouble sleeping because of mood changes that bring on troubling thoughts and hormone changes.[3] Someone who chronically uses LSD also disrupts normal brain function, making it even harder to sleep. Plus, LSD abuse puts a person at risk for developing a psychological disorder, making insomnia even more likely.

Symptoms of Chronic LSD Use

LSD is addictive to the mind, but not the body. A person develops a psychological dependence on the drug, relying on it to feel normal, creative or fully alive. Unlike heroin or alcohol addiction, an LSD addiction does not produce physical dependence, so a person will not experience physical withdrawal symptoms.  There are psychological symptoms, however. Users may experience flashbacks, develop hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD)or persistent psychosis. HPPD creates ongoing perception distortion; for example, changes in visual perception cause a person to see images that aren’t there. Persistent psychosis sufferers may have trouble with visual disturbances as well. They also experience disorganized thinking, paranoia and troubling mood shifts.2

In addition, people who regularly use LSD may experience the following symptoms:

  • Weakened judgments about safety
  • Uncomfortable repressed memories
  • Deluded thoughts of supernatural abilities
  • Withdrawal from the real world into a drug-induced dreamland
  • Loss of interest in relationships, work and personal hygiene

Chronic LSD users may believe they do not function well without the drug in their systems, but in reality the drug causes many troubling symptoms in addition to sleep problems. Counseling protocols such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy help patients see the connection between unrealistic thoughts and actions. This process gives LSD users the ability to see how healthy, imaginative living is possible without the drug. For users who develop serious psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia or suicidal thoughts, counseling also offers relief and direction.[4]

How to Escape LSD Addiction

If you are tired of the insomnia and other harmful effects of LSD use, please call our toll-free helpline immediately. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to guide your search for effective treatment. Call today and let us help you escape LSD addiction.


[1] Olive, M. Foster. (2008). Drugs: The Straight Facts: LSD. Retrieved Oct. 3, 2016 from https://books.google.com/books?id=t5F20qtRfEsC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q&f=false.

[2] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What are hallucinogens? DrugFacts: Hallucinogens. Retrieved Oct. 3, 2016 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens.

[3] National Sleep Foundation. (2016). What causes insomnia? Retrieved Oct. 3, 2016 from https://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/what-causes-insomnia.

[4] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Treatments for Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved Oct. 3, 2016 from http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/substance-use-disorders.