LSD Drug Facts | A Center for Addiction Recovery

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Information provided below is courtesy of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

LSD Overview

LSD Addiction TreatmentLSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), first synthesized in 1938, is an extremely potent hallucinogen. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD is produced in crystalline form and then mixed with excipients, or diluted as a liquid for production in ingestible forms. It is odorless, colorless and has a slightly bitter taste. LSD is sold in tablet form (usually small tablets known as Microdots), on Sugar Cubes, in thin squares of gelatin (commonly referred to as Window Panes), and most commonly, as blotter paper (sheets of absorbent paper soaked in or impregnated with LSD, covered with colorful designs or artwork, and perforated into one-quarter inch square, individual dosage units).

LSD Signs of Abuse

Under the influence of LSD, the ability to make sensible judgments and see common dangers is impaired, making the user susceptible to personal injury, which can be fatal. After an LSD trip, the user may suffer acute anxiety or depression, and may also experience flashbacks, which are recurrences of the effects of LSD days or even months after taking the last dose. A flashback occurs suddenly, often without warning, usually in people who use hallucinogens chronically or have an underlying personality problem. Healthy people who use LSD occasionally may also have flashbacks. Bad trips and flashbacks are only part of the risks of LSD use. LSD users may also manifest relatively long-lasting psychoses, such as schizophrenia or severe depression.

LSD produces tolerance, so some users who take the drug repeatedly must take progressively higher doses to achieve the state of intoxication that they had previously achieved. This is an extremely dangerous practice, given the unpredictability of the drug.

Effects of LSD Abuse

The effects of LSD are unpredictable. Usually, the first effects of the drug are felt 30 to 90 minutes after taking it. The user may experience extreme changes in mood, feel several different emotions at once, or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in large enough doses, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. The physical effects include dilated pupils; higher body temperature and sweating; nausea and loss of appetite; increased blood sugar, heart rate and blood pressure; sleeplessness; dry mouth and tremors. The user may also suffer impaired depth and time perception, with distorted perception of the size and shape of objects, movements, color, sound, touch and own body image. Sensations may seem to "cross over," giving the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic. Some LSD users also experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death. An experience with LSD is referred to as a "trip" and acute adverse reactions as a "bad trip". These experiences are long, with the effects of higher doses lasting for 10 to 12 hours.

LSD Withdrawal Symptoms

As the symptoms of LSD withdrawal are mainly psychological, detox and other traditional treatment methods are unnecessary. However, the symptoms of LSD are still dangerous and weigh heavily on users. Depression, anxiety, flashbacks and other symptoms greatly interfere with a user's wellbeing. This can be overwhelming, stressful and even frightening, and may people into despair. In hopes to find relief, recovering addicts may relapse, try other drugs or develop self-destructive and suicidal behaviors. To avoid the serious psychological consequences withdrawal, seek professional treatment.

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