Lysergic acid diethylamide is a powerful psychedelic drug that can cause serious and long-lasting mental health disorders, including addiction. Known more commonly as acid or LSD, the effects of the drug most notably include visual hallucinations and profound temporary changes in sensory perception. Although LSD does not produce physical addiction as many other drugs do, chronic abuse has been definitively linked to certain psychoses, and the high users experience is psychologically addictive.
The History of LSD
Chemist Albert Hofmann discovered LSD in 1938 after he synthesized the compound from a grain fungus. Hofmann later learned the psychoactive component of LSD loses potency when exposed to air, UV rays and chlorine solutions, but it can last indefinitely when stored properly. Sandoz Laboratories introduced the drug in 1947 under the brand name Delysid for use in psychiatric settings. Just like many dangerous drugs, it appeared at first to be promising.
As the 20th century progressed the Central Intelligence Agency decided to examine the effects of LSD for mind control and chemical warfare purposes in the 1950s. The CIA tested LSD on young soldier and student volunteers as part of the MKUltra program. During the next decade LSD rose to prominence, fueled by the counterculture movement led by Dr. Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey and other proponents of psychedelic drugs.
The 1960s counterculture movement reexamined the roles of gender, race and authority as they related to American society and success. The rapidly occurring, LSD-fueled cultural changes led the federal government to ban import of the drug in 1965. Drug companies stopped testing the drug promptly and ignored it until 2009, when more testing began.
How LSD Affects the Brain and Body
LSD is a strong psychedelic drug that causes intense physiological and emotional reactions. Pure LSD has no odor, taste or color, and users typically ingest the drug through a blotter paper or sugar cube. People who desire a faster and stronger high can inject it as well.
The brain builds up tolerance against LSD quickly, and this tolerance usually extends to similar psychedelics such as magic mushrooms and mescaline. Just as tolerance builds quickly, however, it also diminishes quickly, and a person who abuses LSD can resume heavy use after just a few days.
The individual who uses LSD will notice more than hallucinations and an altered sense of perception. Nausea, changes in body temperature, jaw clenching, weakness, congestion, insomnia and shakiness often occur. Changes in appetite, sweating, dilated pupils and an increase in heart rate and saliva production are also common.
LSD produces intense psychological effects that can cause euphoria — or terror — for up to 14 hours. Users report noting an altered sense of time, awareness, senses and emotions. People who have a bad trip may experience frightening hallucinations and intense anxiety for the duration of the drug’s effects. It is impossible to know which will occur. Because the drug is nearly always made under illicit circumstances, people who take the drug never know what toxins they are putting in their bodies.
The Consequences of Abusing LSD
People who abuse psychedelic drugs demonstrate particular signs and symptoms of abuse and addiction. Addiction is defined as the inability to control how much or how frequently drug use occurs. People who struggle with addiction can’t quit using, even when lifestyle consequences become obvious. Addiction nearly always starts with casual or occasional abuse, but it can lead to destroyed relationships, damaged reputation, depression, lost motivation and depleted finances.
People who are addicted to LSD and who suffer from a preexisting disorder such as depression or schizophrenia are at a much higher risk of worsening their psychological health, which can have extremely dangerous consequences. Some evidence suggests that using LSD even one time can permanently alter perception. Users also report experiencing flashbacks long after the psychoactive effects have worn off.
Most serious of all consequences is Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, which has been compared to post-traumatic stress disorder. During HPPD, persisting visual hallucinations cause significant anxiety or impairment. The results of one small study that examined the brainwaves of people who suffer from HPPD found EEG abnormalities.
At 12 Keys Rehab we understand the everyday challenges that people who are addicted to LSD face. Our experienced and compassionate staff is well qualified to treat a broad spectrum of issues associated with substance abuse.
From the early days of sobriety to discovering how living sober can be fun and fulfilling, 12 Keys Rehab helps people get control over the issues that lead to addiction. Our small, community-oriented recovery center is a supportive and comfortable place to rebuild a life spun out of control by drug abuse. We see miracles every day at 12 Keys — and now we want to see yours.
During the first few days of treatment our medical detox staff will help you or your loved one relax, sleep soundly and eat delicious, healthy meals. During this time we will perform a comprehensive evaluation that takes into account physical, psychological and spiritual health. The results of this evaluation will be the framework of your personalized treatment plan, which we will continue to modify throughout your care to ensure it meets your evolving needs. Because we only enroll a limited number of clients at one time and we maintain a large and qualified staff, we can provide more one-to-one therapy than most other rehabs in the field.
Our rehabilitation program includes a blend of evidence-based therapies and the spiritual healing offered by 12 Step care. Our clients learn how to manage drug cravings as well as how to avoid the triggers that precede abuse. They also rebuild the relationships that matter most and take steps to move their lives in a more satisfying, productive direction. When inpatient care ends, our clients continue to receive support with their comprehensive aftercare plan. This support is key to lifelong sobriety.
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If you or someone you love is using LSD, it is time to get help. Everyone deserves a drug-free lifestyle, and you do too. Walk your path to freedom, starting today.
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