LSD Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox

What can become addictive about LSD is the experience habitual users obtain from the drug. This is a phenomenon that’s known as a behavioral addiction. There is are no typical LSD withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking the drug.

More About LSD Abuse

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a strange kind of drug. It’s extremely potent and the effects are longer-lasting than many experiences with illicit drugs, but there’s a low risk of becoming physically addicted to LSD. Users usually don’t exhibit the same cravings and drug-seeking habits as traditional substance abusers.

How People Become Addicted to LSD

People react differently to an LSD high. It can even affect the same person differently with each experience, depending on the environment and mood they’re in when they use the drug. While being addicted to LSD isn’t the same in relation to other addictions, users who’ve had pleasurable experiences while tripping on LSD can crave a repeat of those feelings.

Behavioral addictions are often a symptom of underlying issues.

Many drug treatment programs provide a therapeutic environment that helps participants identify and come to terms with past traumas and other triggering events or emotions. The first step is to remove all drugs and alcohol from the system through detox and continued abstinence. This allows the brain and body to return to normal function. Through individual sessions with an addiction therapist and group support, substance abusers are able to obtain feedback that’s both objective and provided from a viewpoint of shared experience. The goal is to provide those in crisis with the tools necessary to handle stress and life events without leaning on the crutch of habitual drug use.

Drug Dependence and LSD Tolerance

One of the dangers of long-term LSD use is developing a tolerance for the drug. There’s no standard formulation or dosage for Lysergic acid diethylamide, but habitual users require larger amounts of LSD to gain the same experience from use to use. This increases the odds of developing a behavioral addiction to taking acid in addition to temporary emotional or psychiatric problems that can occur as a side effect of ongoing LSD abuse. There’s also a higher risk of accidental injury or death due to the alternative reality and hallucinations associated with high doses of LSD.

LSD Withdrawal Symptoms

LSD withdrawal symptoms are less about feeling physical symptoms like body ache or nausea and more about psychological symptoms. Habitual users can sometimes experience depression or mood swings when stopping the drug, and normal serotonin levels may be affected due to long-term or heavy use. Those who have bad experiences with hallucinogenic drugs can also develop panic disorder, recurring anxiety attacks, drug-induced psychosis, or mild forms of PTSD. If these symptoms interfere with normal function at work, school, or home, medical or psychiatric intervention and treatment may be necessary.

Frequent LSD abuse may mask additional addictive behaviors or symptoms. LSD use is often accompanied by other drugs like marijuana and alcohol. Those dealing with multiple drug abuse or addiction issues may need supervised detox to deal with withdrawal from those drugs.

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How to Handle a Bad Trip

While abusers who aren’t undergoing withdrawal from other substances don’t necessarily need LSD detox, there are situations that might require medical supervision. Occasionally, LSD users have a negative experience while they’re high on acid. This is known as “having a bad trip”. It’s common with high dosages, but it can happen if the user is in an already agitated mood, has an underlying personality or mental health issues, or is in a negative or chaotic environment while tripping on LSD.

Bad trips are frightening, and they can have lingering effects even after the drug has completely metabolized from the system. There is no known lethal dosage of Lysergic acid diethylamide, but there are approximately 5,000 emergency room visits related to LSD use each year. These are usually related to the symptoms of overdose or injuries incurred while under the influence.

The symptoms of a bad acid trip are:

  • Increased sense of panic
  • Irrational behavior
  • Risky or self-harming behavior
  • Violence or threats of violence
  • Paranoia

These sensations can be frightening for the individual and anyone who’s close to them at the time. There is no way to neutralize the effects of LSD once it is taken, but there are several things that can be done in an attempt to diffuse the situation. Professional intervention could be necessary if the behavior becomes harmful or life-threatening.

  1. Determine that the person has taken LSD, and find out what other substances may be involved.
  2. Move the person to a safe place away from dangers like high traffic areas, bodies of water, or ledges.
  3. Make sure that there’s no access to weapons or other objects the person can use to harm themselves or others.
  4. Assure the person that they’re safe and that the experience is only temporary.
  5. Make sure that someone is with the person at all times until the effects of the drug have worn off.
  6. Do whatever is necessary to protect the physical safety of the person experiencing a bad trip and bystanders.
  7. Get professional help if the situation becomes unsafe or unmanageable.

Does LSD Require Detox?

While the majority of the substance dissipates from the brain within the first 90 minutes of dropping acid, the effects of Lysergic acid diethylamide remain for up to 24 hours with high dosages. There can also be mild flashbacks for several days after the main effects wear off. Although some medications can lessen the anxiety, there is no way to perform LSD detox once the drug enters the brain, and no way to stop an acid trip once the drug takes effect. What is important is the environment surrounding the user at the time of taking the drug and aftercare once they “come down” from its effects.

As a non-addictive substance, LSD users don’t experience the typical symptoms or need the same medical oversight as other substances with high abuse potential. Treatment can often be performed on an outpatient basis unless there are concurrent addictions or mental health problems that require a more secure program structure. The most important factor is dealing with the mindset that makes substance use such an attractive option.

LSD Detox Time

The effects of lysergic acid diethylamide begin within 60 – 90 minutes after it has been ingested. They peak after about four to six hours, and an acid trip lasts for up to 12 hours; the effects although mild, can last for up to five days. Since nothing can stop an acid trip once it begins, LSD detox consists of keeping the person hydrated while waiting for the active phase of intoxication to abate and abstaining from further use.

Finding Help to Conquer Substance Use Disorder

Any type of compulsive behavior can become addictive. Those who are vulnerable to substance use disorder are prone to risk-taking behavior in general. In order to conquer these impulses, it’s necessary to determine the root cause of addictive behavior.

A number of factors make one at risk for substance abuse and addiction. These include:

  • Family or personal history of substance abuse
  • Poverty
  • Lack of support systems
  • High-stress occupations
  • Unemployment
  • Instability in work, home, or relationships
  • History of mental illness or undiagnosed mental illness
  • Peer or social pressure

Successful substance abuse treatment can help in other areas of life where stress and pressure increase the temptation toward escapism. If you or someone close to use is struggling with substance use disorder, help is available through a number of private and public treatment programs.