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LSD Use: Effects, Dangers & Addiction

LSD is a potent recreational drug with a high potential for misuse. Known for its misuse since the 1960s, LSD is often called a club drug due to it being used at nightclubs, raves, and concerts.1

In this article, we will discuss what LSD is, LSD’s effects, and how to seek treatment for problematic LSD use.

What Is Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)?

LSD—short for the chemical name lysergic acid diethylamide—is a potent substance belonging to the class of drugs known as classic hallucinogens.1 It is illegally manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found naturally in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains.2

There are no FDA-approved medical uses for LSD in the United States, and it is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.1

LSD is odorless, tasteless, and colorless and comes in a variety of forms, including:1,2

  • Tablet
  • Capsule
  • Liquid
  • Small, absorbent paper squares—such as blotter paper—that liquid has been added to

It is taken by ingestion, either by swallowing the capsules, tablets, or liquid, or by absorbing the liquid while holding the paper in your mouth.2

LSD is commonly referred to as acid.1 Other street names for LSD include:1

  • Microdots.
  • Mellow yellow.
  • Window pane.
  • Sunshine.

Effects of LSD (Acid)

When people are under the influence of LSD, they are said to be tripping or on a trip. An LSD trip is made up of perceptual distortions, intensified emotions that wax and wane, and attention and motivation impairments.1

A person typically is aware that what they’re experiencing is not an accurate representation of the objective world, however, they may have unusual thoughts or feelings, including magical thinking or even delusional ideas. With higher doses a person can lose bodily awareness and seemingly experience an alternate reality.3

LSD effects can vary widely within the same individual assessed on different occasions or even at different times during the same occasion.3 Effects can also vary from person-to-person and can be impacted by:4

  • How large a dose the person has taken.
  • How frequently LSD is taken.
  • A person’s expectations and mood when taking LSD.

Some of the physical signs and symptoms associated with LSD use include:2

  • Dilated pupils.
  • Dizziness.
  • Increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Tremors.

Risks & Dangers of LSD

Though rare, there are long-term risks associated with using LSD, including:2

  • Ongoing visual disturbances.
  • Disorganized thinking.
  • Paranoia.
  • Mood swings.
  • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).

Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) can encompass a variety of changes in a person’s senses or perception, including:5

  • Hallucinations.
  • False perceptions of movement in your peripheral vision.
  • Flashes of color or light.
  • Other disturbances.

These false perceptions are sometimes referred to as “flashbacks” of the trip itself, and they may occur, or even reoccur, long after the initial experience with LSD is over.2 It is considered rare.4

Can You Overdose on LSD?

An LSD overdose can occur when the drug is taken in relatively high doses and may resemble what is termed a “bad trip.”6 Adverse reactions to high doses of LSD are rarely fatal.4 Symptoms of a bad trip can include psychological effects, like:1,4

  • Fear.
  • Anxiety.
  • Panic.
  • Confusion.

These experiences can be traumatic and may have long-lasting effects, including mood and anxiety symptoms, and sometimes a person may experience flashbacks.7  

Similar to any illicitly manufactured drug, LSD can be mixed with dangerous contaminants, such as fentanyl, which can result in a fatal opioid overdose.4

Is LSD (Acid) Addictive?

LSD and other classic hallucinogens do not trigger compulsive drug-taking and are not considered to be addictive.8

Despite this, LSD use can be problematic for some people, in which case clinicians might diagnose them with what’s known as a hallucinogen use disorder. Someone with a hallucinogen use disorder is unable to stop using hallucinogens like LSD despite experiencing significant consequences in various life domains such as family, social, occupation, etc.5

Only a healthcare professional can diagnose and treat hallucinogen use disorder, so if you believe that you or a loved one may be struggling with repeatedly misusing LSD, reach out to your care provider for an assessment.

Can You Withdraw From LSD?

There is no evidence to suggest a clinically significant withdrawal syndrome from LSD and other classic hallucinogens. However, about 10% of hallucinogen users report symptoms of fatigue, irritability, and an inability to feel pleasure after stopping LSD use.9

Treating Hallucinogen Use Disorder in Texas

Evidence-based treatment for hallucinogen use disorder is available at Greenhouse Treatment Center. Whether you are seeking inpatient rehab near Dallas for LSD misuse, or outpatient, sober living, and aftercare options, Greenhouse has several types of rehab available. Treatment plans are customized to each person’s needs to ensure you have the right level of support for recovery.

You may be wondering about using insurance to pay for rehab or what other options are available to cover the cost of treatment. Greenhouse has admissions navigators available 24/7 for a free, private phone consultation. Contact us today to start the admissions process.

If you’d like to quickly check your insurance benefits for rehab, simply complete our secure now.

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