Drug use among seniors is easily misunderstood. When retirees use drugs such as LSD, family members and friends may misinterpret drug use symptoms, making it easier for a person to slip into a destructive lifestyle.
Dangers of LSD Use
LSD was commonplace during the counterculture revolution of the 1960s and continued to be widely used in the 1970s. Retirees who took the drug when they were younger may turn to it again during times of stress or as a way to recapture old feelings. While LSD is a risky drug for someone in any age group, it is more dangerous for older adults. It affects a person’s heart rate and body temperature as well as significantly distorting mood and sensory perceptions. A person with health problems who takes LSD may experience even more serious physical reactions, especially if his hallucinations bring on fear and paranoia.
Retirees and Substance Use
It’s common for people to miss an older adult’s drug use problem. A retiree feels social pressure to hide his drug use. He may feel shame about the problem and believe it is a moral issue. Medical issues also may make it easier to miss drug problems. Disorders such as dementia and delirium look similar to drug use. A senior experiencing the hallucinations of a LSD trip may be misdiagnosed, especially if he keeps his drug use a secret.
Reasons Behind LSD Addiction
There are several reasons seniors may start using LSD. One reason making drug use among retirees more common is the larger number of baby boomers now in the senior population—this segment of society has a higher rate of using illicit drugs and more tolerant attitudes toward drug use compared to previous generations.
Other reasons behind drug abuse relate to the nature of aging and life changes, including:
- Loss of loved ones
- Responsibilities brought on by multiple roles
- Retirement or other employment/income changes
Older adults may cope with changes by taking prescription or illicit drugs as a way to deal with anxiety or depression. A retiree who uses LSD may hope to bring on new creative energy or escape from significant stress. The effects of LSD, however, intensify a person’s current emotional state. The drug brings on panic attacks and paranoia and can put a person in a psychotic state. While the drug is not physically addictive, it affects a person psychologically. A person may need counseling to overcome persistent feelings of depression or anxiety brought on by the drug.1
Users also may experience flashbacks, or sudden hallucinations and mood disturbances, that occur days or more than a year after using the drug. They also may develop hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD). While very rare, this disorder disrupts a person’s senses and thinking even when drugs are not in his system.
The Power of Psychological Addiction to LSD
Many people mistakenly believe psychological addiction is overcome with willpower. The truth is cravings for LSD are more difficult to resist than any physical craving. Physical addiction symptoms tend to pass in a matter of days or maybe weeks. Psychological addiction, however, may last a lifetime.
LSD affects the following critical emotional functions:
- Impulse control
- Emotion regulation
- Formation and recollection of memories
- Stress tolerance
For emotionally addicted seniors, these symptoms are difficult to resist. Plus, tolerance to the drug builds quickly, meaning users need to take larger and larger doses in order to feel the desired effects. Escalated use can lead to serious health problems.4
Treating LSD Addiction among Retirees
Because LSD is not physically addictive, recovery focuses on psychological healing. If the underlying emotional symptoms can be successfully confronted and resolved, the user finds freedom from his cravings. Successful LSD recovery centers on individual and group counseling, as well as education, coping skills development and various techniques that promote wellness, physical comfort and peace of mind.2
LSD Addiction Help
If you are concerned about a growing dependence on LSD, or you are worried about the drug use of a friend or loved one, please call our toll-free helpline any time of day or night. Our admissions coordinators can answer any questions you have and help you determine the best course of action for your specific situation. Don’t risk a severe impairment to quality of life. Call now.
 Davis, Kathleen. (2015). What is lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)? Effects and hazards of LSD. Medical News Today. Retrieved Sept. 5, 2016 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295966.php.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (1998). Substance Abuse Among Older Adults. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 26. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved Sept. 5, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64419/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK64419.pdf.
 Volkow, Nora. D. (2011). Substance Abuse Among Older Adults. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved Sept. 5, 2016 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2011/12/substance-abuse-among-older-adults.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What are hallucinogens? Drug Facts. Retrieved Sept. 5, 2016 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens.