LSD is a hallucinogen that can cause a phenomenon called behavioral addiction. Typically, it becomes very difficult to spot LSD withdrawal symptoms, but habitual users feel great discomfort when weaning the drug. Someone dealing with LSD-induced behavioral addiction can benefit from appropriate detox and behavioral therapies, in addition to taking remedial medication to counteract the withdrawal and abuse itself.
One potential danger arising from the long-term usage of the drug is that users get tolerant to it. Meaning, when a certain amount of LSD intake would bring them a high, it can no longer help them achieve it. They start requiring more and more dosages and keep incrementing it. They have high odds of developing emotional or psychiatric problems that may be temporary or permanent if left untreated.
This behavioral addiction is different from person to person, and also from use to use, in the case of the same individual. There are also potential risks associated with drug abuse, such as accidental injury or death. People may harm themselves or others unknowingly because they face alternative reality and hallucinations.
Effects Of LSD
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a strange kind of drug. It’s incredibly potent, and the effects are longer-lasting than many experiences with illicit drugs, but there’s a low risk of becoming physically addicted to LSD. Users usually don’t exhibit the same cravings and drug-seeking habits as traditional substance abusers.
Since LSD does not cause physical dependence, users can stop taking the drug without experiencing any physical withdrawal symptoms. As such, LSD withdrawal treatment may not be needed in many cases. However, most addicts undergo a “coming down” effect a few days after they stop LSD use.
They may show signs and symptoms like:
- Body aches
- Extreme mood changes
- Depressed feelings
Even if the users are not addicted, they may experience a bad trip, which is the worse outcome of their LSD intake. They tend to take high doses of the drug, resulting in these negative consequences.
Particularly if the person is in a pre-agitated mood and takes a large dose of LSD, these effects will multiply. Likewise, underlying mental health problems or personality issues will result in a chaotic environment with the LSD adverse tripping.
These bad trips are not only frightening but they also impact your system and cause lingering effects. In a completely metabolized state, users end up in an emergency room while under the influence.
Bad LSD Trip Symptoms
- Irrational panic
- Risky behaviors
- Self-harming tendencies
- Violent outbursts
- Threats of violence
Besides, LSD may not be addictive, but long-time users develop a tolerance to the drug and as they take more and more of the drug in every use, they become mentally dependent.
Depending on whether you have a latent mental health issue, a history of substance abuse, or mental health treatment, these signs can be more pronounced.
LSD Withdrawal Symptoms
As mentioned above, LSD withdrawal first shows up as psychological symptoms rather than physical signs like body ache, tremors, or nausea. This is also the reason why most people cannot judge that their dearest ones are in the clutches of the harmful hallucinogen. But when one suspects their friends or family members to be abusing LSD, it is crucial to look for abnormal or out-of-the-blue habits or practices and mood swings. Some users display depression and aversion or disdain towards life.
Since the normal range of serotonin levels get affected due to the heavy and continuous use, the individuals with addiction may develop anxiety attacks, panic disorders, PTSD (mild), and drug-induced psychosis. You may also see that their drug habit interferes with their daily routine, such as going to school or work and ruins relationships. In such a stage, medical intervention will become necessary.
In addition to abusing LSD, the addict may also be dabbling with other addictive behaviors like marijuana and alcohol abuse. During therapy, they may reveal that they have multiple drug abuse issues or other addiction. With prompt, supervised detox and proper medical and psychiatric treatment, they can get a handle on their drug problem.
Before advising the user to go to a dual diagnosis treatment program, medical professionals check for the following symptoms:
Psychological Symptoms Of LSD Withdrawal: Timeline
First 24 Hours:
- Cravings to use again
- Depressed mood
- Flashbacks to LSD trips
24 Hours And Beyond:
- Panic attacks
- Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)
Managing A Bad Acid Trip
The sensations that you feel during a bad trip can be extremely frightening, even for your close ones. Although you cannot neutralize the effects of consumed LSD, it is possible to avert the adverse reactions or even try to diffuse the situation. In order to neutralize the bad trip effects, you will need professional intervention, especially if your behavior becomes life-threatening or harmful to others.
These are the steps well-wishers of a person abusing LSD can take:
- Get the user to reveal how much LSD they have consumed, and if there are any other substances involved.
- Remove them from the places where they typically intake LSD and help them stay away from high-traffic areas.
- Keep them safe from areas and features they can utilize to harm themselves or others; these include water bodies, ledges, balconies, etc.
- Restrict all their access to power tools, sharp objects, and similar things that can be used as weapons to attack people.
- Reassure them that the situation they are in is temporary and that it is safe.
- Never leave them unsupervised and protect their physical safety until the drug effects wear down.
- If things get unmanageable, get help immediately, and contact the professionals.
Some Shocking Statistics:
- In 2010, 23 million US residents were reported to be lifetime users of LSD.
- Per the reports of the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 20.2 million Americans aged 12-17 use LSD.
- Over 8% of high school seniors have taken the drug at least once, and 29% of US 12th graders feel it is easy to get access to LSD.
- Around 27% of US citizens with LSD drug abuse have accepted to have suffered from a bad trip.
- 4% of LSD users have a high risk of development of Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder.
Among the many peculiar aspects of this drug that we have talked about, the primary one may be the LSD mechanism of action. As opposed to other substances that dissipate from the brain within minutes, (on average – 90 mins), high doses of LSD remain for up to 24 hours after consumption. These can create mild flashbacks for several subsequent days after the effects wear off.
Once the drug enters your brain, it becomes next to impossible to stop an acid flashback and perform a detox. HPPD does not have an official treatment except antidepressants. Although some medications can help reduce the user’s anxiety, it is crucial that the user enters a peaceful environment conducive to their recovery. So, focus more on their medical treatment and aftercare to deal with the “come down” effects of the drug.
Although LSD, being a non-addictive substance, does not need the users to get the same medical oversight as high abuse potential substances, they need secure program structures at least on an outpatient basis.
The aftereffects of LSD bad trip, even mild, can linger for five days. Since the acid trips can last up to 10-12 hours, beginning with the drug effects takin over the user within 60-90 minutes of ingestion, you should start LSD detox as soon as possible.
The vital thing to do is to keep the patient hydrated and prevent them from using. With relevant treatment method, they can abstain themselves from ever touching the substance again. But that is a long road to take. More on that below.
LSD Addiction Treatment Options
LSD abuse signs are not as prominent as the symptoms of opioid addiction. But once you spot the LSD addiction symptoms, you need to take these steps to counter the problem:
- Make healthy lifestyle habits
- Seek support from family and friends
- Find a hobby to distract you from the drug use
- Consult a healthcare provider
The last step is very crucial as it helps you overcome the mental dependence on LSD with the help of medical detox, counseling, and supporting therapies.
Depending on your situation and the intensity of the addiction, the medical professionals may suggest you check into an inpatient rehabilitation center. Particularly if you are experiencing panic attacks or have gone through a bad trip, doctors would like to monitor your progress very closely.
Medication like fast-acting benzodiazepine can reduce the chances of LSD drug-induced panic attacks. In severe cases, the patients may need to be tranquilized to lower the intensity of psychosis. Besides, inpatient rehabs provide supportive care to each patient and help their recovery with different types of addiction treatment programs.
Once the individual has finished his treatment at the inpatient drug rehab, they may have to return to an outpatient facility and learn ways to cope with addiction triggers.
Reach Out To The Nearest LSD Addiction Treatment Center Today
LSD dependence issues can be hard to beat. If you or someone you love find it difficult to stop using LSD, it is time to seek medical support. Healthcare professionals at a drug rehab near you can provide you with the tools and information needed to get rid of the drug addiction.