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The acid culture, glorified in the ‘60s, continues to have new converts today. The powerful psychedelic drug can occasionally send people into fits of hysteria or make returning to reality difficult. Addiction to LSD, though rare, requires proper intervention and a potential stay in rehab.

  • Drug Name LSD
  • Addiction Liability Moderate
  • Scientific Name Lysergic acid diethylamide
  • Street Names Acid, Cid, Lucy, L, Doses, Tabs
  • How It's Used Swallowed
  • Side Effects Nausea, Dizziness, Fever, Tremors, Sleeplessness, Hallucinations
  • Psychological Dependence Moderate
  • Physical Dependence Low

What Is LSD?

LSD is a synthetic hallucinogen manufactured from lysergic acid and other chemical compounds. This clear, odorless drug is often sold in tablet, powder, crystal or gelatin form. It is also added to sugar cubes and absorbent paper covered with colorful designs or artwork.

Acid came to the forefront of the drug culture in the 1960s. Its mind-expanding potential was well-documented by college professors and scientists.

People continue to experiment with the drug to this day. You may encounter the substance around school, at teen parties or in live music events such as music festivals.

LSD users often talk about “tripping,” a word describing the psychedelic effects that can cause hallucinations, intense anxiety and a distorted sense of time.

LSD strips

Changes in Behavior Could Be a Sign of LSD Use

Someone abusing acid will typically exhibit changes in their mood and behavior. Taking LSD can throw off your sense of self and your ability to manage emotions. Regular LSD users may show signs of depression, anxiety or problems in their personal lives. Violent behavior, a distorted perception of time, and noticeable fatigue are also commonly reported symptoms.

Someone taking LSD may exhibit unusual behavior. The drug generally causes people to take on new hobbies and prioritize places or people that facilitate their acid habit. It’s important to identify these changes and investigate the potential role that drugs may be playing in a loved one’s life.

Tremors, Paranoia and Other Effects of LSD

The unpredictable nature of acid makes it a force to be reckoned with. For every positive acid experience, there could be a distressing and traumatic one.

An acid trip can last up to 12 hours.

Though LSD lacks the addictive properties of many narcotics, it occasionally sends people into a downward spiral of drug abuse. LSD addiction develops in much the same way as marijuana or crack addiction. By abusing LSD, you risk psychosis and a loss of reality. You also can do permanent damage to your brain.

The effects of an acid trip vary based on the purity, the amount taken and the body chemistry of the person taking it. A trip on LSD takes between 30 and 90 minutes to kick in, and these effects can last up to 12 hours. Tolerance builds quickly, so an attempt to trip again immediately after the first dose requires an increased in the amount of the drug.

LSD users have reported various psychedelic effects associated with the drug, such as visual hallucinations, intensified sensory perceptions, and a feeling of heightened understanding. Many people claim to have a spiritual or religious experience while tripping.

A number of physical effects go along with a hit of acid. These include:

Though rare, LSD use could cause death. People with heart problems may suffer heart attack or stroke. The highest risk of injury or death comes from entering into dangerous situations while under the drug’s influence.

Bad Trips

An LSD trip is not always a positive experience. Your judgment can be severely impaired if you experience a “bad trip.”

The intensity and volatility of a bad trip sends users into a state of mind that can cause them to endanger themselves and those around them. Bad trips on LSD have resulted in suicides and homicides, in addition to other extreme acts.

Characteristics of a bad trip can include:

It’s difficult to predict how LSD will affect an individual. Chances of a bad trip increase drastically if done in uncomfortable surroundings, in large crowds of people, or during times of anger or sadness. Someone experiencing a severe bad trip may be uncontrollable and intervention may be needed to prevent LSD users from hurting themselves or others.

Managing LSD Abuse

Hallucinogen intoxication generally is managed by placing the individual in a safe, quiet environment under direct supervision to ensure the intoxicated person does not become violent.

A low dose of a short- or intermediate-acting benzodiazepine may control anxiety and sedate the person. Antidepressant therapy may be needed for those who exhibit chronic depressive symptoms after using these drugs.

Individuals taking hallucinogens should undergo psychiatric and cognitive assessments before receiving a treatment referral.

A residential rehab facility can assist people with LSD addiction in overcoming their substance abuse problems. Here they can engage with people dealing with similar issues, interact with therapists or counselors, and receive the personalized attention that they may need.

Anyone battling a substance habit, or on the recovery path, can also seek community support. Self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous encourage individuals to stay active, network with people in similar situations and learn the tools needed to maintain sobriety.

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