LSD is a popular drug often used in the club and rave scene, and because of the unpredictability of its effects, no two people have the same experience either physically or psychologically while under its influence. The best thing you can do at this moment if you’re addicted to LSD is get as much information about it as possible and know that you’re not alone.
12 Keys Rehab is ready to help you learn about your addiction, how it came about, and how you can beat the negative cycle that is making your life seem out of control. We have a caring and empathetic staff who can guide you safely into regaining control of your life — mind, body and spirit. So let’s take a look at LSD and how it’s taken over your life.
LSD, which stands for lysergic acid diethylamide, came about in 1938. It’s a very strong hallucinogen found in a fungus called ergot, which you find growing on rye and other types of grains. It’s classified as a Schedule I hallucinogen.
The official names for LSD include Delysid — which is a brand name — lysergic acid diethylamide, and LSD 25. Just about everyone refers to it as LSD.
There are over 80 street names for LSD, with the most common being:
- Battery Acid
- Brown Acid
- Contact Lenses
- Looney Tunes
- Electric Kool-Aid
- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
- Purple Haze
- Yellow Sunshine
How LSD affects you is very unpredictable and depends on how much you take, what mood you’re in, your personality, and the type of situation you’re in when you use the drug. You feel the effects typically within 40 minutes after you take it, and the trip or experience you feel on it lasts up to 12 hours.
What are the Different Forms of LSD?
Currently, there are no approved medical uses for the drug. It’s used mainly recreationally and for spiritual purposes.
Poly drug use is common with LSD with following drugs in particularly being combined:
Many users will drink alcohol while they’re using LSD since they actually complement one another. LSD is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. Drinking alcohol seems to mellow any adverse effects of the drug such as when people have a bad trip.
A “bad trip” occurs when your experience is not the typical pleasant visions and thoughts, but rather fear and panic. People who experience these bad trips drink alcohol because it takes the edge off of a bad blotter experience. Strangely, LSD also takes away the “drunkenness” of alcohol and other effects. People have reported that once they took the drug, their drunken feeling disappeared.
The problem with this is that because you don’t feel drunk, you feel as though you can drink as much as you want. This can lead to increased nausea, vomiting and risk of alcohol poisoning, as well as various other negative gastrointestinal effects.
When you take Ecstasy (MDMA) with LSD, it intensifies your visual and auditory hallucinations. This is why so many people combine the two drugs when they go to music festivals and raves.
This combination of acid and MDMA is known as candy flipping. They both affect your serotonin levels, which makes one amplify the other. Taking both together provides a more potent effect than one of them alone.
It’s said that marijuana dulls the “coming-up” effect you get from LSD and also heightens your peak experience. Some also report that when you start “coming down” from LSD, cannabis brings the effect back. Cannabis also intensifies your visuals. However, if you’re not a regular smoker, it can also cause anxiety.
When you smoke cannabis while on acid, it eliminates the control you have over your feelings, thoughts and behaviors, leaving you in a state of vulnerability and keeping you from making good decisions. You put yourself at risk because you don’t worry or care about your safety.
This is another popular drug that people often like to combine with LSD. It’s said to be a mellower, smoother experience that lasts longer when you take the two drugs together. Although many users like the combination, others find it unpleasant with harsh somatic effects.
This drug alone is a very powerful stimulant of your central nervous system. Still, many people abuse it with blotter. Both are abused commonly at party and rave settings.
LSD Addiction and Abuse Key Statistics
LSD is considered the most potent hallucinogen around and has been classified as such. Today, an LSD dose is nowhere near what it was back in the 1960s. Educated, white males between the ages of 18 and 22 years old are the most common users of LSD.
Each year since 1975, researchers from Monitoring the Future Study (MTF) have conducted a survey nationwide to around 17,000 high school seniors to measure beliefs and attitudes of drug abuse and to determine drug use trends. Out of the 2010 high school senior class, 2.4 percent of the seniors admitted to having used LSD at least once in their lifetimes.
National Household Survey on Drug Abuse data showed an estimate of around 20 million Americans ages 12 and older also used LSD a minimum of one time in their life.
LSD was classified as a Schedule 1 drug in 1967, and was banned and made illegal internationally and in the U.S. with no acceptable form of medical use.
Common Demographics of an LSD Addict
LSD use seems to be the most prevalent in young adults ages 12 and older. As mentioned above, it’s usually abused by white, educated males between the ages of 18 and 22 years of age. This abuse is rising.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 1.3 percent of surveyed eighth graders, 3.0 percent of tenth graders, and 4.3 percent of twelfth graders abused LSD at some point in their lifetime.
It’s teenagers and young adults who seem to use acid the most, with more than 4.5 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 using the drug at least once in their lifetime.
In other studies, over 18 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 years old claim they can easily get their hands on LSD.
Reasons So Many People Like LSD
Usually, it’s out of curiosity that people try blotter. It might be that their peers are using it and they try it to spend more time with them or fit in. Their peers tell them of its pleasant hallucinations and intense colors, and they decide to give it a try.
If, when they do try it, they have a good trip their first time and enjoy the hallucinations instead of fearing them, they might use the drug again to re-live this pleasant experience. Many LSD users do not know every trip is different, and therefore they cannot predict before taking the drug, if they will have a good experience.
While some may try the drug to experience the positive altered reality their peers have told them about, others use it to get away from their peers. Perhaps they’re dealing with negative things in their lives, they’re feeling bored, or simply don’t want to feel like themselves any more.
Different Forms of Use for LSD
There are a number of different forms of the drug including:
- Tablet, or microdots
- Sugar cubes
- Gelatin squares, or window panes
- Blotter paper, or LSD-soaked paper with artwork or colorful designs
Acid is a chemical and is very powerful. Therefore, taking too much of it can become very dangerous. Even small quantities of LSD are active, and because it comes in small pieces of paper or tiny tablets, it’s hard to assess each dose individually.
When you take too much LSD, it can leave you feeling alienated and dissociated. But it can also cause problems such as:
- Respiratory Arrest
- Autonomic instability
- Bleeding disorders
It can also lead to behavioral toxicity where your perception is altered and you fail to realize or appreciate a dangerous situation or environment that can cause you to injure yourself.
In some cases, the delusions and hallucinations can become so intense, they can scare you and cause you to experience extreme fear and panic. The problem is LSD doesn’t always come with the spectacular, pleasant effects that you might think of. Your mood and state of mind at the time you take the drug have a big effect on how you’ll experience it. And while you’re under the influence of the drug, what you see can actually cause you feelings of trauma.
Another common experience with acid is flashbacks. These are where you experience certain aspects of a trip you had once even when you’re not currently taking the drug at that moment. Usually, these flashbacks occur in people who have abused the drug multiple times. Flashbacks can occur even years after your last dose, leaving you in need of help in order to overcome the psychological effects.
How LSD Affects Your Brain
This drug is mind-altering. It acts on your central nervous system and brain and alters your behavior, mood and how you relate to everything around you. It acts on your serotonin, which is a chemical in your brain that controls your mood, behavior, thinking and senses.
Because LSD is a hallucinogen, it causes hallucinations. You hear, see and feel things that aren’t really there, but rather are created in your own mind. The amount you take and the way that your brain responds to the drug determines whether you have a “good” or “bad” trip.
When you’re experiencing a good trip, it can cause you to feel:
- A rush, joy or euphoria
- Less inhibition — like being drunk
- As if you have superhuman strength
- Disconnected from reality, or floating
When you’re experiencing a bad trip, it can cause you to:
- Have scary and terrifying thoughts
- Experience multiple emotions at once
- Have distorted senses, perceive altered object sizes and shapes or see sounds and hear colors
- Uncontrollable fear that was once easy to handle, such as feelings of doom and gloom or wanting to harm others or yourself
Because your experience on blotter can be so unpredictable, you just don’t know whether you’ll have a good or bad trip when you take it, and this can be dangerous.
Is LSD Addictive?
Since acid doesn’t produce the typical cravings that come with a physical addiction, it’s not considered a drug that is highly addictive. An LSD addictive person’s dependence is primarily psychological, and they can stop using LSD when they want to without many physical LSD symptoms of withdrawal.
But, even though blotter might not cause you to have physical cravings, you can still associate the drug with certain circumstances or people, which can create a habit of using it when you’re in social settings. This can cause problems with quitting, since you might be required to stop associating with the people you‘re used to using LSD with in order for you to break your habit.
You can also build up a tolerance to the drug, which means you’ll have to take more of the drug to get the same effect from it. However, increasing your dose can be risky, since higher doses do tend to come with bad side effects, as we’ll talk about later in this article.
What Is an Acid High Like?
Tripping on acid is a long process where you generally trip for anywhere from eight to 12 hours. In some cases, you can trip even longer. You lose your perception of time when on the drug, and this can make the experience seem longer than it really is. In some cases, you might feel as though you’ll never come down from the drug. Some users enjoy this feeling, while others find it unsettling, leading to more somber thoughts and lower moods.
If you abuse LSD, you might find its unpredictability fun, where you can explore the unknown and embrace its effects. You might become excited not knowing what you’ll experience next. Or you might become frightened with the unpredictability because of the perceptual distortions it provides.
During an LSD high, you’re likely to experience:
Visual Distortions and Hallucinations. There are multiple visual distortions you can experience, such as seeing forms that take on swirling patterns or some that appear geometric, changing in shape and size. You might begin noticing static objects starting to move around. For example, you might see your walls begin to appear like they are breathing.
The hallucinations you have are not real, and you’re see things that aren’t really there. These come and go quickly, and you can experience hallucinations of any sense, from hearing and smelling to feeling and tasting.
Changes in Your Thought Processes. LSD can change how you feel about yourself, other people or the entire world, either positively or negatively. The way you’re affected can be very unpredictable.
A good way to explain the way you feel about yourself while on the drug is to imagine your ego breaking down, or you losing a sense of self. You can have a temporary or permanent shift in your beliefs and what’s important to you.
In some cases, this is a good thing, since you might find inner strength, understand other people better or feel more spiritual. In other cases, however, it has a more negative effect in that you feel like your life has no meaning, people are fools or the world is cruel. Any one of these effects can leave you feeling depressed or alienated.
Understanding the LSD Signs of Addiction
You’ll observe various LSD signs when you or your loved one is high on the drug and is forming an addiction. First, they’ll be going through what is known as a “psychedelic experience,” where they think that they see different shapes moving or people appearing warped.
The trip you or your loved one is experiencing can be a good or bad experience and depends on a number of factors, including:
- Dose strength
- State of mind
- Previous experiences
- Physical environment
You or your loved one may show one or more of these characteristics:
- State of euphoria
- Loss or increase of appetite
- Dilated pupils
- Distorted perceptions
- Increased heart rate
When you come down from an LSD trip, it happens gradually, as your body’s filtering out the drug. You won’t experience the typical crash that many drugs produce, but rather your perceptions of things will return to normal gradually.
LSD Addiction Symptoms You Might Experience
When you abuse LSD, it can come with multiple consequences. You’ll experience short- and long-term consequences that are caused by physical and emotional side effects. The symptoms you experience when abusing acid are similar to other psychedelics and hallucinogens.
Some LSD addiction symptoms might include:
- Altered perception
- Impulsive behavior
- Rapid heart rate
- Raised blood pressure, or hypertension
- Quick emotional changes and mood shifts
- Dry mouth
- Decreased appetite
- Increased sweating, or diaphoresis
- Increase in body temperature
Normally, these side effects go away after you come down from your high. Others, however, can continue long after you have stopped using LSD, as is the case with flashbacks.
Your Loved One’s LSD Drug Addiction Experience
When your loved one is abusing blotter, it can be difficult for them to just stop using it altogether despite negative lifestyle consequences because of their addiction. Their LSD use may have started out casually where they only used once in awhile, but then progressed to where it is now, damaging their reputation, destroying their relationships, depleting their finances and causing them to struggle with depression and have a lack of motivation.
Just like any other drug, they build up a tolerance to LSD. It gets to the point where taking the same dose of the drug a day after they have already used gives them a diminished effect. This leads them to have to take a bigger dose just to get the same effect. And, since acid is a drug that is very unpredictable, this can be dangerous.
Even though they likely started using the drug out of curiosity, it doesn’t take long for things to get out of control. The thought of being able to drift out of reality probably appeared harmless to them, but that is far from the truth. It only takes one bad trip to make them anxious and paranoid. They may even fear what they are experiencing.
Furthermore, your loved one will begin withdrawing from important and long-held relationships and begin making new shallow friendships with other LSD users. As their close relationships with friends and family begin to fray, they end up choosing between feeling lonely and depressed and simply going on another acid trip.
What Types of Permanent Damage Does LSD Addiction Cause?
Abusing acid can come with intense and dangerous psychological side effects. Building up a tolerance to the drug is dangerous alone, since a higher dose of the drug can cause more negatively intense side effects. In fact, it only takes a 0.2 to one mg dose to cause life-threatening toxicity in humans causing:
- Overheating or hyperthermia
- Sudden heart failure or cardiovascular collapse
- Impaired judgement that leads to severe injury or death
To date, there isn’t solid evidence that LSD causes brain damage, but you can still get symptoms that could cause damage to your brain down the road. Since the drug alters your central nervous system, even when you stop using acid, you can still experience these effects.
The drug can permanently damage how your body feels and how you experience your own senses. Although this in itself isn’t necessarily brain damage, it can still alter your mind permanently. In some cases, people have actually died from the drug because the trip they experienced was so intense and frightening that they committed suicide to get away from the feeling. Others have jumped off high-rise buildings thinking they could fly.
Acid Withdrawal Symptoms
As mentioned, you don’t necessarily go through intense physical withdrawal symptoms like other illicit drugs when you stop using LSD, and a user can technically stop taking acid at any time. But there are some mild physical symptoms you can experience as well as long-term psychiatric symptoms you may go through long after stopping the drug, such as visual disturbances and hallucinations. These repeated hallucinations are referred to as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) or what you might know as flashbacks.
If you’ve been using the drug long-term, you could also experience depression, anxiety or irritability if you no longer have access to it.
As LSD filters out of your body, you could experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Muscle spasms
- High blood pressure
- Loss of coordination
- Rapid heart rate
- Zombie-like state
- Fear of going insane
- Hostile, violent or aggressive behavior
- Frank psychosis
- Long-term psychosis
LSD addiction therapy for withdrawals involves treating your psychosis and stabilizing any physiological processes. You might have to be sedated if you’re displaying aggressive or hostile behavior.
Stages of Acid Withdrawal
LSD has a half-life of around 5.1 hours. This is how long it takes your body to eliminate 50 percent of the drug. In other words, your body removes half of the dose you took in a little over five hours. There are different factors that can change this, however, such as how much of the drug you took, your psychological and physical health, your weight and height, your mood when you ingested the drug, your environment, and your current tolerance level.
As far as stages of acid withdrawal, for many people, the withdrawal period once they stopped using the drug is around three to four days.
What If You Have a Dual Diagnosis?
There are various co-occurring disorders that could be underlying your LSD addiction. And because the drug isn’t physically addictive, LSD rehab can get a little tricky. Treatment for LSD addiction not only has to include treating your dependence on the drug, but it also includes finding and treating the underlying causes of use. Without knowing it, you could have started abusing acid because of a behavioral or mental disorder you were unaware of that made you self-medicate to feel better.
Some types of co-occurring disorders that often exist with blotter addiction include:
Your LSD recovery can get complicated if you have an underlying mood disorder unless you get help from 12 Keys Rehab for LSD. A dual diagnosis is an intricate process that needs to be handled by our team of professionals. You may have formed an addiction to LSD or other drugs because you already suffer with some type of mental disorder such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Personality disorders
- Panic attacks
- Body dysmorphic disorder
If you’re struggling with any of these disorders, you might turn to LSD subconsciously to self-medicate. The problem is, LSD can’t treat these conditions. You might feel like it does since it masks the symptoms temporarily, but eventually the disorder resurfaces, and now your addiction will become unmanageable.
If you’ve been using acid frequently, you could begin experiencing episodes of persistent psychosis that alter your perceptions severely, and this disorder can last for years after you stop using the drug.
Psychosis is a disorder where you dissociate yourself from the real world. You can experience:
- False beliefs or delusions
Your psychosis episodes can be similar to symptoms of borderline personality disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia or other mental conditions.
Even after you stop using the drug, your psychosis can produce:
- Dramatic mood swings
- Thought patterns that are radically disorganized
- Perceived reality distortions
Of course, not everybody who takes LSD will end up with persistent psychosis, and it’s not guaranteed that you will either, but there is still that risk.
At 12 Keys Rehab, we have a dual diagnosis program that will deal with not just your LSD addiction, but also your co-occurring disorder as well. Once we get a handle on your underlying condition, we then begin your holistic drug therapy and counseling. You’ll learn techniques to manage your condition as well as your recovery from LSD.
Helping Your Loved One Through LSD Addiction Recovery
Your loved one is going through a lot. Being addicted to LSD is causing them to make bad decisions that are ultimately affecting their life negatively. The good news is we can help your loved one by providing them with LSD addiction treatment that will clean them up, eliminate the drug from their body and give them the tools they need to start rebuilding their life again.
Your loved one needs to learn the reason why they have a psychological need to take acid in the first place. You should also get an understanding of the underlying cause for their addiction. Once you’ve gained knowledge about their addiction and learned our treatment options for them, it’s time to sit down with them and discuss their addiction.
It’s understandable if you feel intimidated by the thought of having to approach your loved one about their addiction, but the conversation you have with them doesn’t need to be confrontational. Just convey the facts you’ve gathered from reading this guide and stay calm while you share with them what you have been observing about their behaviors.
You want to be as specific and direct as possible so they can clearly see what their behavior has been like. Stay compassionate and non-judgmental when you approach them, but remember the goal of your conversation with them is to help them understand how their LSD use is impacting their life and your relationship with them in a negative way and that they need to get treatment. Let them know you’ll be there supporting them every step of the way.
Once they have successfully completed our LSD addiction treatment program, you can also support them in staying clean and encourage them to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They need to understand they will have to give up certain circumstances and people they associate with their former drug use.
Why You Shouldn’t Quit LSD Without Assistance
Whatever you call it — blotter, acid or LSD — it is a strong hallucinogen that is manufactured and marketed as an illegal street drug. Because it’s so potent, even smaller doses can affect your sensory perception for the long term and impair your level of functioning. Stopping your acid abuse can be difficult.
Since using LSD can also lead to other drug abuse, and the possibility of having an underlying condition is very real, there is a higher risk of having potential complications when you quit that could require treatment. You might require certain medication, and you’ll definitely need therapy and counseling. You’ll have to manage any serious problems connected to your co-occurring mental disorder — if you have one — as well as other factors that you shouldn’t face alone.
Safely Detoxing From LSD
When you enter LSD rehab centers, your first step is usually detox. During this time, our 12 Keys Rehab staff will use different therapies and medications to make your detox as comfortable as possible. You’ll be supervised 24/7 to ensure your symptoms are being treated adequately.
You could begin experiencing flashbacks, depression, anxiety and intense hallucinations. It could be difficult to stay focused and concentrate. You might require medical assistance to mediate certain symptoms during your detox stage. All of this needs to be supervised to avoid or treat any complications.
Once you finish your detox, we will begin your comprehensive therapy that starts with addressing the underlying cause of your LSD addiction. We tailor your treatment plan for your specific situation.
How We Treat Your Acid Addiction
Coming to our 12 Keys Rehab program is ultimately your decision. If you decide that you want a better way of life and you would be happier and healthier if you stopped taking the drug, our professional treatment will benefit you.
Your first few days here with us will consist of you relaxing, sleeping and eating healthy, delicious meals while the drugs are safely cleansed from your body. We will perform a thorough evaluation of your psychological, physical and spiritual health.
Your treatment will never be exactly the same as another individual since we never take a cookie-cutter approach. The treatment we provide to you is based on your personal situation and will be dependent on the results of your evaluation. As you evolve in your recovery, we modify your treatment to ensure you continue to receive the appropriate care for your needs.
We provide a combination of spiritual healing, evidence-based, and holistic therapies and our 12 Step Model. We teach you how to manage any cravings you have — physical or psychological — and how to avoid triggers that commonly cause you to abuse the drug.
We involve your family and friends if you’d like so you can rebuild your relationships with them and gradually move into a more productive, satisfying life. When you have finished your stay with us, we also offer continued aftercare support as well to help you avoid relapse.
If you’re finally ready to get the help you deserve, contact us today or speak to one of our intake counselors over the phone. We look forward to helping you achieve lifelong recovery.