LSD Effects

Hallucinations are a common side effect of LSD use. But the effects of acid also include mood swings, rapid heartbeat and a distorted sense of time. A bad trip can cause intense anxiety and paranoia.
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LSD is a synthetic psychedelic drug that affects the body and mind. Most often abused by young adults, this odorless substance causes hallucinations that can produce pleasurable or adverse reactions. These drug-induced experiences are known as “trips.”

The side effects of LSD may harm a person’s well-being. The drug can cause distressing short-term health problems and a host of long-term complications. Understanding the health risks associated with acid can help people avoid the dangers of the drug.

Short-Term Effects of LSD

Hallucinations are a trademark characteristic of an acid trip. People high on LSD often experience intense flashes of light, geometric shapes or completely new images. These distortions in reality can occur when a person’s eyes are open or closed.

Psychological effects of LSD include:
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Distorted sense of time and body perception
  • Sensitivity to sounds, smells and other sensations
  • Blending of the senses (synesthesia)
  • Heightened sense of understanding and identity
  • Mystical or religious experiences

LSD also produces distressing physical problems, including:
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Palpitations
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heartbeat

Everybody reacts differently to LSD. Reactions depend on the dosage, a person’s surroundings and his or her mood, expectations and health. Acid use can be particularly harmful during pregnancy. It may result in miscarriage or premature labor.

Mixing LSD and alcohol can also be dangerous. LSD makes the effects of alcohol less noticeable, which can increase the risks of alcohol poisoning.

Street LSD may be laced with more potent substances such as phencyclidine, also known as PCP. This addictive hallucinogen can lead to significant health complications, especially when mixed with LSD.

It is possible to overdose on LSD. Symptoms of an LSD overdose include violent or hazardous behavior, psychotic episodes and seizures. An overdose requires immediate medical attention.

Bad Trips

People use acid for its euphoric properties. But taking large doses of the drug can produce traumatic emotional reactions, also known as bad trips. Characteristics of a bad trip include intense anxiety or paranoia, rapid mood swings and depressive episodes that last several hours.

Extreme agitation caused by LSD can lead to violent or risky behaviors. In some cases, people can experience panic attacks or attempt to flee from their hallucinations. This can result in injuries, accidental death or suicide.

Long-Term Effects of LSD

LSD does not cause addiction, a brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior. However, regular acid use can lead to long-term health problems.

For example, repetitive LSD use can cause persistent psychosis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, persistent psychosis is associated with visual and mood disturbances, disorganized thinking and paranoia.

People with no history of psychological disorders can develop persistent psychosis after repeated LSD use. They lose the ability to think rationally, communicate with others and recognize reality. These psychological disturbances can linger for years.

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)

Long-term LSD abuse can cause hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, a condition characterized by repeated, spontaneous distortions in reality similar to those caused by acid. People with HPPD may experience visual disturbances, such as halos or false motions in peripheral vision, months or years after they last took LSD.

LSD also produces distressing physical problems, including:
  • Flashes of color
  • Images within images
  • Lingering outlines of images
  • Geometric patterns

The disorder can occur in people who take a range of psychedelic drugs, including MDMA and psilocybin. While it is often associated with prolonged hallucinogen use, HPPD has occurred in people after their first experience with hallucinogens.

Seeking Help for LSD Abuse

LSD is not addictive, but abusing the drug can cause significant health consequences. Treatment options are available for people who need assistance to quit.

Therapy is an effective treatment option for people who abuse LSD. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy helps people recognize and address the underlying causes of their substance abuse problems.

Professional rehab facilities offer a variety of therapies and cater treatment plans around an individual’s specific needs.

Treatment plans for LSD abuse could include regular participation in individual or group therapy. Those experiencing psychosis may be treated with antidepressant or antipsychotic medications.

LSD is a dangerous and illegal drug. Just one trip could cause a life-changing negative experience. If you regularly use acid, consider talking to a mental health professional or seeking treatment. If you have intense physical or emotional reactions after using LSD, contact 911.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Matt Gonzales
Content Writer,
Matt Gonzales is a writer and researcher for He graduated with a degree in journalism from East Carolina University and began his professional writing career in 2011. Matt covers the latest drug trends and shares inspirational stories of people who have overcome addiction. Certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in health literacy, Matt leverages his experience in addiction research to provide hope to those struggling with substance use disorders.

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