LSD Abuse, its Symptoms, Effects and Rehab

Lysergic acid diethylamide or commonly called as LSD is one of the most broadly known hallucinogenic drug. Due to the effect of hallucinogenic drugs a person sees vibrant images, hear weird sounds, and feel unrealistic sensations that actually don’t exist. Originally LSD was invented accidentally in 1938 when the scientist was searching to find medical usefulness of ergot fungus. LSD is usually available in the form of dots, acid, microdot, or blotter. Generally LSD is either taken directly into the mouth or licked off from blotter paper. Sometimes liquid or gelatin form can be put inside the eyes. LSD consumption starts showing its effect between 30 and 40 minutes once the drug is taken and lasts for 12 hours. Experience of LSD intake is referred to as trip. The effects of LSD consumption are totally unpredictable but based on the intake amount, person’s mood or personality and condition when the drug is taken.

Signs and Symptoms of LSD Abuse

What is LSD?

LSD or Lysergic acid diethylamide is a colorless and odorless mildly bitter taste strong hallucinogenic or mood-altering drug obtained from lysergic acid which is a semi-synthetic chemical compound derived from a specific species of a fungus called ergot which grows on rye grains. It is easily available in form of colored tablets, capsules, chewing tablets, square thin piece of gelatin or clear liquid or soaked with sugar cubes. It is sold in blotted paper or acidic dot form. The users of LSD simply swallow, chew or just keep the drug tablets or capsules below the tongue in order to ingest this drug. LSD is not used legally for medical treatment purpose and thus the use of this drug is absolutely illegal.

Signs and Symptoms of LSD Abuse

LSD users when on high usually show various signs and symptoms of LSD abuse like seeing moving shapes, shivering, etc. However, all these signs and symptoms vary from one person to another and the experiences can also be good or bad based on factors like situations, state of mind or mood, strength of dose taken and physical surrounding. All these symptoms vary from mild to severe and common signs of LSD abuse are enlisted below.

  • Euphoria
  • Hallucination of vivid color and images.
  • Blurred vision with dilated pupil.
  • Increased body temperature and high blood pressure.
  • Chills or excessive sweating.
  • Upsurge or loss of hunger.
  • Personality changes with distorted sensitivities.
  • Dry mouth or excess salivation.
  • Muscle weakness or tingling of toes and fingers.
  • Shivering or shaking.
  • Nausea, dizziness and convulsions.
  • Panic attack combined with anxiety, confusion, paranoia, psychosis or disorientation.
  • Incapable of doing complicated tasks, such as operating any machines, reading or writing, driving, etc.
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Flashbacks
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme feelings of emotions like fear, happiness or depression.

Warning Signs of LSD Abuse

Regardless of age of the LSD user, it is most crucial to be conscious about the warning signs of LSD abuse. As LSD users don’t show any physical signs normally, unless they intake the trip in front of you, but still it is necessary to be aware of some of these alerting signs of LSD abuse.

  • Circuitous Speech: Speech of LSD user is usually slurred and thus very much complicated to understand. He may ramble in his speech, i.e., to speak incoherent sentences and express some illogical ideas in a twisted manner. Sometimes, they speak of nonsense words or meaningless sentences.
  • Mood Altering: LSD users can experience severe mood swings from mild to extreme emotional flow ranging from fear to happiness or depression in rapid succession.
  • Amplified Anxiety: This is common among LSD users at the time of high or bad trip. They may get extreme panic attack together with confusion or severe depression for unjustified reasons. Paranoia is also noticed in some cases.
  • Irrational Behavior: As this LSD drug results in hallucinations, thus users may exhibit dangerous or unpredictable irrational behavior. In hallucination conditions, he may feel completely out of himself or of his true sense and can create any consequences even criminal activities. In this state, he remains completely unaware of his actions.
  • Perplexity: Someone LSD users experience complete perplexity, that is he finds it difficult to understand in which place he is, feels confused in identifying friends and family and even it becomes difficult to identify his own personal things.
  • Expanded Pupils: LSD users can even experience with blurred vision and dilated pupils. Their vision sometimes is sensitive to powerful lights and the eyes appear red in color.

Effects of LSD Abuse

LSD users may encounter both good and unpleasant experiences after taking the trip. The effect of the LSD trip usually lasts for 6-12 hours of time and starts showing within 30-90 minutes of time after the intake of the drug. Some of the short-term effects of LSD abuse include:

  • Increase in heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
  • Nausea, salivation or dry mouth and no appetite at all.
  • Problem in sleeping.
  • Panic attacks with excess sweating.
  • Experience mixed senses like hearing of weird sounds, can see glowing images, may feel spiritual sensations, etc.
  • Feeling of complete detachment from surrounding or self or feel totally relaxed.
  • Intensified sensation with uncoordinated movements.

One must note that more than 400 mcg of LSD dose may be dangerous and cause life-threatening toxicity. Long-term chronic LSD effects lead to perceptible tolerance.

The other long-term effects include:

  • Feeling of malaise or depression leading to dysphoria.
  • Overheating of body or hyperthermia.
  • Sudden heart attack or cardiovascular collapse.
  • Suicidal thoughts due to excessive depression.
  • Loss of memory and weight.
  • Problem in speech.
  • Miscarriage or birth defect.
  • Fatal hepatic failure.
  • Insistent Psychosis: Continuous mental problem associated with complete dissociation from the real existing world characterized by:
    • Visual problem
    • Repetitive psychotic episodes
    • Disordered thoughts in radical pattern
    • Dramatically altering mood
    • Hallucinations and false belief or delusions.
  • HPPD or Flashbacks: This is actually a drug experience in severe stage and occurs without any warning after a few days or years of drug usage and persists daily. This condition is also called HPPD or hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder. In this flashback or HPPD condition, users may experience excessive hallucination with severe visual difficulty and can see non-living object is moving or dead person is standing in front of them.
    • Relapsing or recurrent physical effect.
    • Sometime may lead to severe injury or even death at the time of overdose or intoxication.

Treatment and Rehabilitation for LSD Abuse

As there are significant LSD withdrawal symptoms therefore treatment for LSD abuse is completely different than treatment of other drugs. The treatments include:

  • Medications: Following are some prescribed medication that helps to manage LSD abuse symptoms.
    • Clonidine: This is generally used for reducing high blood pressure and HPPD in LSD users.
    • Clonazepam: This is used for treating convulsions and anxiety disorders associated with LSD use.
    • Risperidone or Olanzapine: These atypical antipsychotic medicines are used for treating mood disorders and hallucination symptoms.
    • Naltrexone: This drug inhibits the activity of opioids and is often used for treating opioid, LSD or alcohol dependence.
    • Lamotrigine: This mood-stabilizing drug is used to treat HPPD symptoms.
  • Behavioral Therapy to Treat LSD Abuse: This treatment can be done locally or under medical observation. According to this therapy, LSD users should first decide to stop abusing the drug and then identify the drug as most dangerous one. They should also participate in other various activities in order to relax or for recreation.
  • Counseling for LSD Abuse Treatment: This therapeutic procedure is really very helpful for LSD users to overcome depression or any mental illness in order to get rid of LSD. This procedure also involves finding out the actual cause of using LSD and thus eliminate that.

Rehabilitation can include getting admitted to rehabilitation centre for regular monitoring by mental health professionals, complete withdrawal from the drug, behavioral modifications, attending support group sessions, medications and psychotherapy which helps in managing withdrawal symptoms, substance dependency and relapse.

Coping with LSD Abuse and its Dependency and Withdrawal Symptoms

Gaining enough knowledge about your addiction, learning coping strategies to refrain from further drug abuse and rejuvenate your self-esteem helps to completely come out from the grip of drugs like LSD and thus you may able to live a better lifestyle by following daily habits mentioned below:

  • Stay Active: Try to be active don’t spend time sitting ideal. Start your day with regular exercise, yoga or meditation.
  • Eat at Regular Intervals: Whenever you feel hungry eat healthy food. Also try fresh fruit juice daily which helps in detoxification of the body.
  • Focus on Work: Involve more in work by doing which you feel happier.
  • Increase Social Interaction: Making good companies also make your life better. Try to find out some good and honest friends and spend time more with them.
  • Try to Join New Supportive Groups: Join your rehab center support groups or other support NGOs group to help people to recover from any kind of addictions.
  • Develop Different Interests: Involve yourself in hobbies like painting or gardening. Spend more time with friends and families and enjoy the time.


LSD, being a hallucinogenic drug, is highly dangerous. One must be aware of the adverse effects of the drug and hence avoid its consumption in all possible cases. However, if addiction has developed already, a person must seek help immediately before the adverse long-term effects crop-in. A family member must be aware of the warning signs to identify abuse of the drug since this drug is actively used by adolescents. The drug is very dangerous as even a 50mcg dosage is capable enough to produce intense hallucinations and higher doses are capable of producing severe bouts of depression including suicidal thoughts and also sudden heart attack and death. Rehabilitation program must be abided by and followed rigorously to live a health life.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 6, 2018

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