Best known by its street name of LSD, lysergic acid diethylamideis the most potent hallucinogen available on the street today. Offering “acid trips” that can last 12 hours, this psychedelic drug continues to be popular with teens and young adults despite being illegal since the 1960s.
LSD Abuse More Prevalent among Younger Adults, But the Effects Can Linger On
The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse indicates that an estimated 20.2 million U.S. residents have used LSD at least once in their lifetime, with approximately five million of these being under the age of 25.1 What about the 25-40 age group? Is LSD a popular drug choice? If LSD abuse has stopped, is the user safe? Let’s see what the data related to these questions is telling us.
Monitoring the Future – a drug usage rate survey conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse – issued a report earlier this millennium that included data on high school graduates up to 40 years old. Looking at age groups in two-year intervals, the study provided rates for past-year LSD use.
With 6.4% estimated LSD use for Americans between 19 and 20 years of age, the use rate seems to continue decreasing beyond age 25, says a government report on drug abuse:
- 7% use for 25 to 26 year-olds
- 3% use for 27 to 28 year-olds
- 1% use for 29 to 30 year-olds
- .07% use for 31 to 32 year-olds
With very little use reported for the over-32 population, two factors seem to dictate with advancing age: 1) the priority of work and family responsibilities; and 2) less accessibility to illicit substances like LSD.2
2015 government data indicates that about 104,000 adults age 26 or older (or about .01 percent of that population) are currently using LSD, while approximately 1,000 times that number (10.70 percent) have used LSD sometime in their life.3 Given what we know about re-occurring acid trip flashbacks and LSD’s persisting effects, one dose of LSD could be all that it takes for some lasting psychological damage to occur. This is a significant concern for those ex-users who are now advancing in age.
LSD: One of the Drugs of Choice for Club-Going Adults
While there are indications that “club drug” users are more likely to polydrug (i.e., use two or more psychoactive drugs in combination to achieve a particular effect), little conclusive research exists. Not much is known about the prevalence and specific combinations of substances being used by these routine visitors of the nightclub scene.
According to the Club Drugs and Health Project, most club-going, drug-using participants (91.7%) had engaged in having a drug cocktail of some kind, with 1,670 various combinations of drugs reported. LSD and marijuana was found to be one of the more frequently consumed drug combinations.
As with any use of illicit “street” drugs, no regulation over its contents translates to unknown results. Given that LSD is already notorious for producing random and dramatic acid trips –delightful or dreadful – users are really rolling the dice when they choose to mix other drugs into the equation.3
Many Potential Health Risks Are Linked to LSD Abuse
The following health risks are commonly associated with the use of LSD:
- Potentially terrifying hallucinations can produce unsafe reactions.
- Intense mood swings, which can result in panic attacks, anxiety and/or paranoia.
- Increases in body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate.
- Physical effects, such as tremors, dilated pupils, chills and insomnia.
- Severe cognitive impairment (brain damage).
- Activation or acceleration of a mental health disorder.
- Potential for involuntary recurrent memories and flashbacks, even after just one use.
With continued LSD abuse, other mental health disorders, such as persistent psychosis, may also occur. Such conditions can become permanent and lead to other dangerous outcomes.4
Treatment for LSD Abuse Should Consider the Whole Person
With no government-approved medications available to help LSD abusers get clean, professional rehab services usually include:
- Counseling to recognize and target the psychological reasons for use.
- Screenings to diagnosis and treat mental health issues and mood disorders.
- Strategies to deal with potential LSD use triggers during recovery.
- Behavioral therapies that instill a more positive mindset and attitude.
- Group counseling to discuss coping mechanisms and provide support.
- Psychodynamic therapy to address any unconscious conflicts or trauma.
Adult drug addicts often have other issues that jeopardize recovery. These are often referred to as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. Quality treatment centers focus on removing any such obstacles – for example, other addictions, family problems, unemployment, housing issues and legal difficulties. Case managers coordinate all prescribed services in order to provide more stability and success in recovery.5
If you or someone you love is abusing LSD or any other drug, we have the expertise and resources to help. When you call our 24/7 toll-free line, a friendly, caring team member will listen to you, address your concerns, answer your questions and offer some positive treatment options for you to consider. We can also help you determine how much your insurance coverage will pay for this vital care.
Delay in treating these kinds of health issues usually results in a more challenging recovery, so why not get the help you need now. Get it from someone with an excellent track record and high acclaim from both independent studies and those we treat.Yes, we truly care…one person at a time.
1“LSD Fast Facts”, National Drug Intelligence Center, https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs4/4260/index.htm .
2 “National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of Methodological Studies, 1971-2014”, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHmethodsSummary2013/NSDUHmethodsSummary2013.pdf .
3 “Club Drugs”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/club-drugs , (December 2012).
4 “Substance Use – LSD”, Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000795.htm , (September 28, 2016).
5“Addiction and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2007/02/addiction-co-occurring-mental-disorders .