Stigmas Related to LSD Addiction

Stigmas Related to LSD Addiction

Stigma is often used as a tool to discourage and marginalize unhealthy behaviors

When we challenge stigma and misconception, we pave the way toward health and healing. Although public opinions are changing, many stigmas surrounding drug use remain. The journal Addiction[1] explains, “Substance use disorders are more highly stigmatized than other health conditions. The relationship between stigma and substance use disorders [complicates] efforts to build social acceptance of people with substance use disorders. Stigma is often used as a tool to discourage and marginalize unhealthy behaviors such as problematic substance use, which has a collateral consequence of marginalizing and devaluing social groups.” Stigma is based in misunderstanding. Do not devalue yourself, your loved one or anyone struggling with addiction. Recognize the myths surrounding LSD and other addiction. Challenge these misunderstandings with truth and compassion.

The Myth: LSD Is Not Addictive

LSD is not physically addictive. Individuals who use this drug will experience tolerance but not physical withdrawal symptoms. This lets these individuals label their use as harmless or not a problem when the opposite is true. This myth contributes to public opinions that users can “just stop” any time they like. Stigma arises when people do not understand addiction and the complexities involved in recovery. LSD may not cause physical signs and symptoms of addiction. This does not mean LSD is not addictive. It is a psychologically addictive drug. Users feel like they must have the drug in order to be able to function normally. Although the body does not need the drug, the user’s mind tells him or her that he or she does. A person may experience psychological withdrawal symptoms and feel panicked, anxious or depressed without the drug.

The myth about LSD’s non-addictive status harms users as well as public opinion. Individuals may use this myth to defend continued addiction. They may believe the drug is harmless. However “not physically addictive” and “harmless” are very different concepts. LSD abuse contributes to a variety of health concerns. LSD use can lead to tachycardia (fast heartbeat), hypertension, decreased appetite or renal failure. It also produces hallucinations, delusions, rapid mood swings and impaired time and space perceptions. LSD’s physical and psychological side effects can be life-threatening and life-endangering. The Fix[2] explains, “Overdose from LSD has yet to occur, but the drug has been present in the systems of those who self-inflict injuries, commit suicide or homicide, or suffer accidental death.” A drug does not have to be physically addictive to be dangerous. LSD addiction requires as immediate and as comprehensive treatment as any other form of addiction.

The Myth: Individuals Who Use LSD Are Insane

LSD use is not a mental health disorder. Addiction is, but it is not “insanity.” The American Society of Addiction Medicine[3] explains, “Addiction – also referred to as substance use disorder – is a chronic disease of the brain. It is a disease that can be treated – and treated successfully. No one chooses to develop this disease. Instead, a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental stimulus – analogous to other chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension – can result in physical changes to the brain’s circuitry, which lead to tolerance, cravings, and the characteristic compulsive and destructive behaviors of addiction.” Addiction is a serious, chronic mental health issue.

LSD and other addictions are also often accompanied by co-occurring and equally serious mental health disorders. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains, “Approximately 7.9 million adults in the United States had co-occurring disorders in 2014. People with mental health disorders are more likely than people without mental health disorders to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder…The consequences of undiagnosed, untreated, or undertreated co-occurring disorders can lead to a higher likelihood of experiencing homelessness, incarceration, medical illnesses, suicide, or even early death.” Mental health concerns may cause individuals to turn to LSD for a temporary “escape” from symptoms. In turn LSD use can trigger or worsen anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and more. Individuals struggling with co-occurring issues are not “insane.” They face a surprisingly common and misunderstood recovery challenge. A challenge they can overcome with appropriate treatment. Individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues should never face stigma. They should receive understanding from family and peers and treatment from caring, experienced professionals.

The Myth: LSD Addiction Doesn’t Require Treatment

Addiction treatment offers the best, most effective way to find complete mental and physical health. We understand addiction and how stigma impacts opinion of this disease, its treatment, and recovery. Call our helpline to learn more about the truths surrounding LSD and other drug abuse. Call and gain access to information, intervention resources and treatment professionals. Our compassionate, informed and never judgmental coordinators are available 24 hours a day.


[1]    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03601.x/full. “The Effectiveness of Interventions for Reducing Stigma Related to Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review.” Addiction. 12 Oct 2011. Web. 16 Aug 2016.

[2]    https://www.thefix.com/content/lsd-addiction. “LSD Addiction: Signs, Side Effects, and Treatment.” The Fix. 21 Jan 2015. Web. 16 Aug 2016.

[3]    http://www.asam.org/magazine/read/article/2015/12/15/patients-with-a-substance-use-disorder-need-treatment—not-stigma. “Patients with Addiction Need Treatment—Not Stigma.” American Society of Addiction Medicine. 15 Dec 2015. Web. 16 Aug 2016.