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LSD Addiction

When someone takes LSD repeatedly, they build up a tolerance to the drug- meaning they have to take progressively larger amounts to get the same effect they’re used to. Because of the unpredictability of a person’s reaction to LSD this is dangerous. LSD addiction is really a misnomer- while the user will build up a tolerance, LSD isn’t addictive in the sense that drugs like heroin, cocaine, and alcohol are. Users don’t go to great lengths to get it, and many either reduce their usage or stop completely on their own. However, in 2007, over 20,000 first time drug users got their start by using LSD.

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Even though someone cannot be truly addicted to LSD, the symptoms and effects from its chronic use can continue for a long time after use is stopped. These symptoms can include:

  • Continuing distorted perception of the way things look and sound (also known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder or “flashbacks”).

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Memory loss

  • Shorter attention span

  • Trouble forming coherent thoughts

  • Schizophrenia

  • Suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts

To treat an LSD addiction, first the underlying cause must be determined. Those that seek help for an LSD addiction need to figure out what’s causing their symptoms. They may appear to be completely psychotic, or have high anxiety or a panic attack, or have self-inflicted injuries. LSD addiction is never fatal, but people have died as a result of the effects (hallucinations, panic attacks, and paranoia) that come with LSD use. Depending on what symptoms the LSD addict is displaying, LSD addiction can be mistaken for:

  • Psychosis

  • Heatstroke

  • Schizophrenia

  • Use of other illicit drugs

  • Infection

  • Central nervous system issues

Testing can detect LSD in the addict’s urine for almost two days after a dose of between 200 and 400 milligrams, although most people take much less than that. An LSD overdose can result in respiratory malfunction or arrest, issues with blood clotting, excessively high body temperature, and even coma. A “bad trip” is usually detected far too late for the LSD addict to have their stomach pumped, unless they’ve also been taking other substances. LSD overdoses are usually treated by placing the LSD addict in a dark and quiet room, and reassuring them of who and where they are. A person with an LSD addiction should not be left alone, and if they cannot be calmed down, a sedative may be given to them.

If you think that you or a friend or family member is addicted to LSD, there are programs in almost every state that will be able to help. It is relatively easy to stop using LSD, but the effects from repeated use can remain with the addict for the rest of their life. Those that are addicted to LSD should seek medical help.

While a person with an LSD addiction may not need the same kind of detoxification and rehab that a person with a cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine addiction may require, they will often need long-term help and counseling to help them regain their grip on reality.

Drug Enforcement Agnecy (DEA) – http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/index.htm
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) – http://www.samhsa.gov/
National Institue of Health (NIH) – http://www.nih.gov/

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