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Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a hallucinogen and one of the most powerful mood-changing chemicals. It is a clear or white odorless material sold in the form of pills, capsules and liquid. A dangerous drug mostly abused by young people, LSD produces delusions and hallucinations. A user may encounter frightening experiences, leading to panic.

Classified as a Schedule I drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), LSD is a strong psychoactive medication that is used as a mind-altering substance among many partygoers. It is known by various other names like Acid, Sugar Cubes, Trips, Dots, Blotter and Yellow Sunshine. The substance is often abused by teenagers and young adults at raves, dance parties and music festivals, leading to addiction. A chemically manufactured drug, LSD can be particularly dangerous due to its unpredictable effects.

The psychedelic club drug belongs to the same class of other popular club drugs, such as gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as ecstasy and ketamine, respectively.

LSD: then and now

LSD is synthesized from a naturally occurring substance known as d-lysergic acid amide, which is commonly found in grains like rye, and in seeds of morning glories and Hawaiian baby wood rose. The drug was first synthesized in 1938 by Swiss biochemist Albert Hofmann, but its hallucinogenic properties were not discovered until 1943, when Hofmann accidentally ingested the substance and experienced hallucinations. In the 1950s and 1960s, LSD was used as an experimental treatment for depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), sexual dysfunction and autism. In the 1960s, LSD was part of a psychedelic revolution and as a result, the drug was banned by federal government in 1966 for any recreational or medical treatment purpose.

LSD usually comes in various pill forms and tastes slightly bitter. The minimum effective dose to produce an acute hallucinating state is approximately 25 micrograms. The drug is primarily responsible for producing pseudohallucinations and hallucinations without altering memory and orientation. Pseudohallucinations are illusions derived from actual true experiences, which include synesthesia. Synesthesia is a crossover of senses, such as feeling colors or sounds evoked by a visual image. The most common hallucination experienced by an LCD user is a visual one. Some users may use the drug to experience intense spiritual and out-of-body experiences.

Not generally thought to be physically addictive, LSD abuse leads to psychological addiction, with users craving for an increased dose to experience a high. Those who usually get addicted are addictive to other drugs as well. Though LSD is not physically addictive, it does create a tolerance with the user taking more of it to experience similar effects. This can heighten the risk of death.

Effects of LSD

The way LSD use affects an individual varies from person to person. Here are some of the acute and common effects of LSD ingestion:

  • Feeling of inner tension often relieved by laughing or crying
  • Multiple and simultaneous occurrence of emotions like joy, rage, terror or panic
  • Religiosity and a feeling of oneness with the universe
  • Possible distorted perception of the passage of time
  • Possible magnification or distortion of sounds
  • Moving patterns of bright colors on people and objects
  • Halos around objects
  • Difficulties expressing thoughts
  • Depersonalization
  • Panic attack
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Self-aggression
  • Sweating
  • Drowsiness
  • Hypertension
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Papillary dilatation
  • Tremors

Massive overdoses of LSD can result in respiratory arrest, hyperthermia, autonomic instability and bleeding disorders. LSD is also known to cause serotonin syndrome when taken with agents containing serotonin, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin syndrome can result in high body temperature, hypertension, agitation, increased reflexes and tremors.

Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) can also occur due to spontaneous, repeated or continuous recurrences of sensory distortions or hallucinations long after initial use with LSD. These symptoms can occur within weeks, months or even years after use, even when brain scans show normal brain structures.

Treatment for LSD addiction

Though the drug does not produce immediate addiction, the effects can last for longer periods of time. A comprehensive treatment for LSD addiction involves medically assisted detoxification treatment followed by counseling sessions or behavioral therapies.

Although there is no specific treatment for LSD or LSD detox, recovering from its addiction can often require professional help. A detox program at certified LSD detox centers helps get rid of the substance and manage the withdrawal symptoms. Post a successful detox, patients undergo various other treatment modalities to work through any existing feelings of denial.

 Why choose Sovereign Health

A leading addiction treatment center, Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego, offers top-notch LSD addiction treatment to youth aged 12 or older. At Sovereign Health, our expert staff comprising licensed clinicians and psychotherapists are trained in treating teens with substance use disorders. Our addiction treatment programs are tailored to fit the specific psychological and pharmacological needs of each patient, maximizing the chances of a quick and lasting recovery.

We take a medically informed approach to treat addiction-related disorders and offer our patients evidence-based and experiential treatments that are highly specialized to meet the adolescent’s needs. Included in these plans are traditional treatments such as family therapy. Parents and siblings are important figures in a young person’s life and may need treatment for mental health problems as well. Experiential therapies such as equine therapy and yoga also work to provide recreational outlets to drug abuse and other dysfunctional activities.

Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego is licensed by the California Department of Social Services and accredited by The Joint Commission to provide adolescent treatment for substance abuse in addition to treatment for mental illness, eating disorders (female only) and co-occurring disorders. If you are interested in learning more about Sovereign Health’s adolescent programs or LSD detox treatment, call our admissions team at our 24/7 helpline number. You can even chat online with a representative for further assistance.

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