Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a Schedule I drug, which means that it has no accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse. It was synthesized in 1938 by Dr. Albert Hofmann (1906-2008). Hofmann was a Swiss chemist who, while doing pharmaceutical research, became the first person to inadvertently experience an LSD “trip” after accidental ingestion of the substance. Hofmann’s profound early experiences with LSD spurred years of future self-experimentation with the drug. Although he supported the drug as a tool for psychiatric study, he did not advocate for the recreational use of LSD 1.
LSD is a hallucinogen capable of modifying a person’s state of awareness. Other drugs with hallucinogenic properties include mescaline, PCP, MDMA, THC, and “magic” mushrooms (psilocybin). Hallucinogens excite the central nervous system and distort a user’s perception of reality. This can result in 1:
- Out of body experiences.
LSD is not considered an addictive drug in the same way that substances such as cocaine and heroin are. There is little risk for dependence with LSD and there are no known withdrawal symptoms. However, a person may quickly develop a tolerance to LSD and after repeated doses, the effects can become ineffective. There is also a risk of cross-tolerance to other classic hallucinogens. LSD can, however, be psychologically addictive and many people struggle with stopping its use 1.
The way that LSD works is complex and not completely understood. In animal studies, some animals died as a result of paralysis and respiratory failure when administered high doses of LSD. Among humans, there have been no documented deaths from an LSD overdose. However, humans can have reactions to the drug that include impaired judgment, poor decision-making, and serious accidents 1.
This article will cover the following information about LSD addiction:
- Treatment for LSD addiction.
- Cost of treatment.
- Paying for rehab.
- Signs and symptoms of LSD addiction.
- Risk factors for addiction.
- Long-term effects of LSD abuse.
- Find a treatment program.
Treatment for LSD Addiction
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If you are ready to seek treatment for your addiction to LSD, give us a call today at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? to speak to a treatment support specialist. We are available 24/7 to help you find the best treatment option.
In its pure chemical state, LSD is a colorless, odorless substance. It is commonly referred to as “acid.” LSD is most frequently taken orally after a liquid solution containing the drug is added to sugar cubes, gelatin sheets, or small paper pieces (e.g., blotter paper). LSD has a slightly bitter taste when ingested by mouth, but may also be administered across any ‘mucous membrane’ surface on the body, including the eyeball.
The drug is widely used, and the majority of users are aged 18 to 25 years old. In 2015, an estimated 1.2 million people ages 12 and older were current users of hallucinogens—representing 0.5% of the population 5.
People can develop a psychological addiction to the drug because it produces feelings of euphoria. However, the effects are at times unpredictable and can also elicit depressive symptoms or mimic severe mental illness. An addiction to LSD is treatable and there are a number of options that individuals can access for treatment. Many users may quit using LSD on their own. However, in many cases, addiction treatment programs are the most effective way to address and treat an addiction, for a number of reasons, such as:
- Therapy: Group and individual therapy can help you work through issues underlying your compulsive LSD use.
- Safe structure and space: Treatment offers a drug-free, structured setting and most programs have a schedule of therapy sessions and activities to help keep you engaged in the process. You will have space to focus solely on your recovery without distractions or triggers.
- Support: You will have the opportunity to receive support from therapists as well as from others who are going through treatment. Group therapy can be an excellent opportunity to share your story and give/receive support.
- Psychological care: The drive to use LSD is often triggered or caused by underlying mental health issues such as past trauma, depression, and/or anxiety. Treatment helps you to address the underlying cause of your addiction. When attending a professional treatment center, you will receive treatment from qualified health professionals such as therapists, doctors, and nurses.
- Medication: Treatment may include prescribed medication that will help treat your symptoms or side effects, such as depression.
Every person is different and luckily, there are many different rehab options available. There are different structures of treatment to meet the needs of every individual. For example, you may choose between:
- Detox: The initial stages of detox can be intense for many individuals, but medical staff will support you throughout the process. It is not a substitute for comprehensive addiction treatment but is a vital first step towards sobriety.
- Inpatient: Requires that you live at the facility for the length of treatment (usually 30 to 90 days). You will have access to medical services 24/7 and engage in any combination of individual, group, and family therapy.
- Outpatient: Allows you to attend to obligations outside of treatment such as school, childcare, and/or work. If your addiction to LSD is not as serious, this may be an excellent option for you.
- Luxury: Some treatment centers offer upscale surroundings to help provide you with the most comfortable experience. These centers usually offer desirable amenities such as nicer rooms, meals, and complementary treatments such as art therapy, meditation, yoga, and acupuncture.
- Executive: For people who are in high-power jobs, such as a CEO or vice president of a major company, they may not want people to know about their drug use. There are treatment programs designed specifically for these individuals and the facilities offer anonymity, conference rooms, and Wi-Fi so that executives can stay connected to their work but also focus on treatment.
- 12-step programs: These are the most widely available and utilized forms of treatment because they are accessible and free. 12-step programs can provide healing and support to people throughout the recovery process.
- Holistic: Traditional therapy often does not address all of the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical aspects of addiction. Holistic therapy may include yoga, biofeedback, meditation, massage, and other approaches.
- Teen: Teens often use substances in association with concurrent mental health issues or unresolved traumas and it is important that their treatment is tailored to meet their needs. Teen programs focus on counseling and addressing co-occurring disorders.
- LGBT: There are treatment programs designed to help meet the needs of the LGBT community. Individuals may benefit from counselors and therapists who are grounded in the unique public health and social issues this group faces and provide treatment that is intentional and mindful.
Cost of Addiction Treatment
Each treatment program is different and offers different levels of service, so there is no set price for the cost of treatment. The price of treatment will depend on factors such as:
- Amenities offered.
- Your insurance coverage.
In general, inpatient programs tend to be more expensive than outpatient treatment. If you’re not sure whether your insurance covers treatment, call your provider to learn the details of your insurance plan.
Paying for Rehab
If you don’t have insurance, there are ways to cover the cost of your treatment. If you are looking for a way to pay for treatment, you have options, even if you don’t have insurance. There are a number of ways you can cover the cost of treatment, including:
- Personal Loans: You can get a loan from a family member or friend who is willing to front you the funds if you are unable to get a loan from a bank.
- Credit Cards: Some credit card companies offer deferred payments for medical related expenses.
- Selling Expensive Items: If you have a car, boat, jewelry, or other expensive items, you may consider selling them to help cover your treatment costs. Although it can be hard to part with items, your health is the most important thing in your life.
Cost is often one of the biggest barriers to treatment. Keep in mind that while the upfront costs might feel huge, you are investing in your overall wellbeing in the long-term.
Signs and Symptoms of LSD Addiction
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As previously mentioned, although LSD is not considered a physically addictive drug, the hallucinogen can be psychologically addictive. Many people struggle with quitting use. Overcoming a psychological addiction to LSD may require treatment, therapy, and ongoing support—like other addictions.
Like other drugs, an addiction to LSD is characterized by signs and symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Taking LSD in larger amounts or over a longer period of time.
- Unable to stop or control your use of LSD.
- Spending a great deal of time trying to get more LSD.
- Experiencing strong cravings for LSD.
- Failing to fulfill major obligations at work or school because of your LSD use.
- Continuing to use LSD despite the problems it causes in your life.
Risk Factors for Addiction
Addiction is a complex condition and it is still poorly understood by the research community. Many factors influence the likelihood that someone will become addicted to a drug. However, studies show that certain individuals may be more likely to develop an addiction than other people. This is in part to the combination of factors such as 2:
- Genes: Addictions are highly heritable and they often run in the family. They may be passed down from the parent though genes.
- Environmental factors: The environment in which a person lives can affect their likelihood to become addicted to drugs. Environments that have high stress, violence, or drug use can increase the chances of an individual using drugs.
LSD use often begins in adolescence. This is a period of time when the availability of illicit drugs is high. As impulsivity and experimentation is also high among this age group, many younger people may not consider the consequences of LSD use.
A person’s childhood experiences may influence drug abuse and the development of an addiction. Research has found that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are strongly related to substance abuse during a person’s lifetime 3.
A few examples of ACEs include 4:
- Physical abuse.
- Sexual abuse.
- Emotional abuse.
- Emotional neglect.
- Witnessing violence in the household.
With each ACE that a child is exposed to, their likelihood of initiating illicit drug use increases 2-to-4-fold. If a person experienced 5 or more ACEs they were 7 to 10 times more likely to report drug abuse problems, addiction to drugs, and drug use as a parent themselves 3.
Long-term Effects of LSD Abuse
LSD can cause a number of side effects, including 5:
- Perceptual changes.
- Pseudo-hallucinations (vivid images that the person recognizes are not real).
- Alterations in thinking and time experience.
- Changes in body image and ego.
- Impaired coordination and reaction time.
- Mood swings.
- Paranoid ideation.
LSD can also cause users to experience a “bad trip,” which can have long-lasting effects such as mood swings and flashbacks (re-experiencing events from LSD intoxication). On the other hand, some studies have found that LSD can have a positive effect on a person’s attitude and personality when administered in a controlled and supportive environment. 5
Find a Treatment Program
Although LSD may not be classically addictive, it can still lead to a problematic pattern of use. If you are concerned about your LSD use and you feel like you would benefit from seeking treatment, you can give us a call today to learn about what treatment options are available to you. Our kind and compassionate staff can help provide you with the resources you need to pick the best treatment center to fit your needs 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? .
- Abadinsky, H. (2010). Drug use and abuse: A comprehensive introduction. Nelson Education.
- (re-experiencing events from LSD intoxication) an addiction.igh potential for abuse treatment and detox options. Recovery, foc
- Bevilacqua, L., & Goldman, D. (2009). Genes and addictions. Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, 85(4), 359.
- Dube, S. R., Felitti, V. J., Dong, M., Chapman, D. P., Giles, W. H., & Anda, R. F. (2003). Childhood abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction and the risk of illicit drug use: the adverse childhood experiences study.Pediatrics, 111(3), 564-572.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. (2016). Adverse Childhood Experiences.
- Passie, T., Halpern, J. H., Stichtenoth, D. O., Emrich, H. M., & Hintzen, A. (2008). The pharmacology of lysergic acid diethylamide: a review. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 14(4), 295-314.