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Long-Term Effects Of LSD

Long-Term Physical and Psychological Effects of LSD, Dangers, Cronic Conditions, Side Effects, LSD Detox & Addiction Treatment

What Is LSD?

LSD is a psychedelic drug that can cause hallucinations, delusions, and drastic behavioral changes. Although the substance is not physically addictive, LSD can cause several long-term health problems, psychological dependence, or death. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), first synthesized in 1938, is a highly potent hallucinogen. 

It is synthetically made from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is so potent its doses tend to be in the microgram (mcg) range.  Its effects, often called a “trip,” can be stimulating, pleasurable, and mind-altering or lead to an unpleasant, sometimes terrifying experience called a “bad trip.”

LSD is a powerful synthetic hallucinogen. The psychedelic drug can cause visual hallucinations and change a person’s mood, emotions, and perception. Because it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, LSD is illegal in the United States. 

Long-Term Effects Of LSD
The long-term effects of LSD might clear up over time but they can persist for years.

It can damage the body, alter the mind and cause volatile behavior that threatens the safety of the LSD user and others. Chronic LSD use can cause long-term health problems such as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder. The disorder causes flashbacks to spontaneous visual distortions that may reoccur months to years after quitting using LSD.

An illegal drug with no accepted medical uses in the United States, D-lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is a hallucinogenic drug that alters perceptions and the senses. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) classifies it as one of the most powerful psychedelics, or mood-altering, chemicals that are abused. 

LSD is in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the most criminalized category for drugs. Schedule I drugs are considered to have a “high potential for abuse” and no currently accepted medical use; however, LSD has been used in many therapies and shows some success in treating depression and anxiety. There is even some evidence to suggest that LSD also has the potential to treat PTSD and addiction. Although LSD has been known to have some positive side effects, the drug affects everyone differently. In some cases, serious physical and psychological effects may occur.

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What Does LSD Do?

Scientists and researchers believe that LSD influences the receptors in your brain that deal with regulating serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is involved in controlling perceptual, behavioral, and regulatory systems. These include motor control, mood, hunger, sensory perception, sexual behavior, and body temperature.

When an individual takes LSD, their perception of reality can be profoundly distorted. They can experience hallucinations where they hear sounds, see images, and feel sensations that are not real but seem real at the time. LSD effects can be quite unpredictable, as it can cause an individual’s emotions to swing intensely and rapidly. This means that an LSD “trip” can transform from an enjoyable experience to an incredibly unpleasant experience very fast.

There has been some research that suggests that there might be therapeutic benefits to LSD, but legal restrictions have made it difficult to perform this research.

Common Side Effects of LSD Use

Some of the most common side effects of LSD that have been reported by researchers include:

  • Altered sense of time
  • Altered sense of self
  • Dramatic changes in feelings and sensations
  • Synesthesia and crossover senses
  • Feeling several different emotions at one time

Some individuals might panic when they experience some of these altered sensations and perceptions. It can lead them to experience feelings of despair, terrifying thoughts, fear of insanity, fear of losing control, and fear of death. When this occurs, it is referred to colloquially as a “bad trip.”

There are also some physical side effects of taking LSD. These include trouble sleeping, seizures, loss of appetite, nausea, and dry mouth.

If an individual has overdosed on LSD, they might experience psychosis, seizures, panic attacks, or delusions. If you believe that someone has overdosed on this drug, you’ll want to contact emergency services and attempt to keep them as calm as possible while you wait for help.

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Long-Term Physical Effects of LSD

Even though LSD is a potent drug that can cause intense experiences, it is not considered to be an addictive drug. However, there is evidence that the dramatic brain chemistry changes brought on by LSD can lead to long-term effects. These long-term changes might clear up over time but they can persist for years.

One condition is known as HPPD, or hallucinogen persisting perception disorder. Typically referred to as flashbacks, this is one a person who has previously taken LSD suddenly re-experiences the sensations or feelings of an earlier trip. This might include visual trails coming off light sources of halos around lights.

In rare instances, LSD can trigger something known as serotonin syndrome. This is most common in individuals who are already prescribed prescription psychiatric medications. Seratonin syndrome symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Fever or high body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of coordination
  • Rapid changes in blood pressure

For people who are predisposed to psychosis, LSD can trigger drug-induced psychosis. On its own, LSD won’t cause psychosis, but it’s important to learn about your family’s medical history to understand the risks. There are always associated risks when taking recreational drugs.

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Long-Term Psychological Effects Of LSD

  • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD): This condition can be caused by several hallucinogens, but it is most closely associated with LSD. HPPD is usually called flashbacks when the individual suddenly re-experiences feelings or sensations from a previous LSD high. This can include halos around lights or visual trails coming off light sources. Sometimes, new visual imagery occurs during a flashback, but the experience typically involves emotional sensations with some visual or auditory changes. HPPD flashbacks are usually harmless, but sometimes, they can cause emotional distress. People with pre-existing mental health disorders like bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or psychotic disorders like schizophrenia may suffer a recurrence of effects associated with that condition. There is no specific medical treatment for HPPD. Flashbacks are typically rare, although they can be disturbing when they occur randomly. Most people do not feel that they need treatment, but on occasion, flashbacks may be frequent enough to cause anxiety about the condition. Treating secondary psychological effects is usually how physicians and therapists approach HPPD. Klonopin, a benzodiazepine, or Lamictal, an anti-seizure medicine, is sometimes prescribed in extreme HPPD cases.HPPD is typically considered irreversible, although it may clear up on its own over several years. Many people who abuse LSD do not develop HPPD, but for those who do, it may be a chronic condition.
Long-Term Effects of LSD
The HPPD is one of the long-term effects of LSD.
  • Serotonin syndrome: Rarely, LSD can trigger serotonin syndrome because this drug floods the brain with neurotransmitters, mostly dopamine and serotonin. This condition is most likely in people who already take prescription psychiatric medications, particularly antidepressants, which change the balance of neurotransmitters to ease mood problems.
  • Drug-induced psychosis: LSD will not cause psychosis, but for people who are predisposed to this type of mental illness, the condition may be triggered by any potent hallucinogen, including LSD. It is important to understand one’s family history as part of the risk associated with abusing drugs, including hallucinogens, which may be promoted anecdotally through popular culture as “safe.” There is no such thing as safe substance abuse.

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LSD Dependence

Although LSD is considered to be a non-addictive drug, people can become addicted to the sights, sounds, and revelations they experience while “tripping.” Users can develop both tolerance and psychological dependence on Psychedelics like LSD. There have been documented cases of prolonged, intense use causing negative side effects such as paranoia or psychosis.

LSD Withdrawal Timeline

In general, the LSD timeline for withdrawal as well as overall usage can look something like this:

  • Within about 10 minutes of ingesting the drug, the user may start to feel some effects, such as a sense of euphoria.
  • Around 45 to 90 minutes after consuming LSD, the person may start to experience physical symptoms. These can include a rapid heart rate, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Around an hour after ingesting LSD, visual hallucinations begin. Many people say they see colorful dots and pixelated visuals at this point.
  • Around 90 minutes after taking the drug, these effects intensify.
  • The peak of hallucinations is around three hours after taking LSD.
  • The user will often start to experience reality again after about five hours, and the LSD effects should be fading after about 10 hours.
  • After around 16 hours, the drug effects should be entirely gone.
  • After this point, flashbacks and other emotional disturbances can occur for days, weeks, months, or even years. 

LSD Detox

Often, people will find that they’ve become frustrated with their life as a result of their LSD use. They feel like LSD has taken over their lives and become their sole focus. Many people will start to feel as if they can’t function socially without LSD, and they always crave the experience they get from using it. They may also feel like they’re moving toward feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, depression, or even paranoia as the result of long-term and frequent use. For these reasons, they may decide medical detox and treatment for LSD are the right options for them. At a medical detox center, a team of highly trained professionals shows patients how to detox from LSD safely.

The LSD detox protocol should be highly individualized, as the effects of the drug are unique for everyone. A detox center can help patients cope with the withdrawal symptoms they’re experiencing from their LSD use. Many patients will enter an LSD detox center while they’re still feeling the effects of the drug, so the medical team will work to stabilize the person mentally and physically.

Long-Term Effects of LSD
At a medical detox center, a team of highly trained professionals shows patients how to detox from LSD safely.

For people experiencing a bad trip or persistent effects of LSD abuse, detox could include administering anxiety medication to alleviate feelings like terror and panic. There may also be the need to administer antipsychotic tranquilizers during medical detox, but this is only in very serious situations where a person could potentially harm themselves or others.

Once the initial effects of LSD withdrawal are dealt with and symptoms are effectively managed, the patient would transition to rehab treatment programs to help them stop using LSD altogether. This can include cognitive-behavioral therapy for addiction and a combination of individual and group therapy. Through these, the patient will learn about various coping mechanisms that can help in social situations and everyday life.

Reclaim Your Life From The Long-Term Effects of LSD

LSD abuse is a condition that can cause major health, social, and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this with a professional and safe treatment that can help to prevent the long-term effects of LSD. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

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