Lysergic acid diethylamide – best known as LSD or acid – is a psychedelic hallucinogen that profoundly alters the mind for about 12 hours per hit. The drug’s effects can include the following:
- Vivid and sometimes horrifying hallucinations
- Panic attacks, anxiety and paranoia
- Cognitive malfunction akin to brain damage
- Spikes in heart rate and blood pressure levels
- Loss of touch with the consensus reality
- The acceleration of a mental health disorder
- Involuntary recurrent memories, called flashbacks[i]
An LSD trip increases the risk of a serious accident, including a dangerous interaction with antidepressants or lithium. These risks multiply if people them use on a regular basis. For this reason, it is important to watch for signs and paraphernalia that suggest a loved one might abuse LSD.
Signs of LSD Use
There is less paraphernalia associated with LSD than with marijuana and crack-cocaine, but people generally use methods that might stand out. These include the following ways:
- Blotted paper – Each dose is a perforated paper square (about 1/4 inch) dipped in or applied with liquid LSD. The small papers often include an artistic image or coloring.
- Sugar cubes – It is worth questioning why someone has a bag of sugar cubes outside the kitchen. Sugar cubes were the original delivery system and remain in use today.
- Gelatin – Like sugar, people typically do not have small packages of colored gelatin in random places. Gelatin is another popular delivery method of LSD.
- Tablets – The multi-purpose use of tablets make them a less-telling sign, but watch for orange tablets and tiny microdots as they have distinct histories in LSD use.[ii]
LSD users often show interest in the 1960s counterculture where the drug rose to prominence. This could manifest in the idolization of LSD-users like Timothy Leary, Hunter S. Thompson and Albert Hoffmann.
LSD Behavior Help
What LSD use lacks in identifiable paraphernalia, it makes up for in the users’ strange behavior. Signs that someone is tripping on this drug include the following problems:
- Rambling speech and disorientation
- Dissociative state with difficulty communicating
- Significant body temperature changes (hot or cold)
- Dilated pupils and a racing heartbeat
- Chills, tremors or palpitations
- Erratic behavior and mood swings
Behavioral signs between trips are far more subjective, but many LSD users regularly suffer depression.
Treatment for LSD Abuse
While the drug is dangerous, it is not physically addictive. Detox is generally unnecessary if it is the only drug someone abuses, but proper rehab is important to break behavioral patterns and screen for mental health issues. Treatment includes the following aspects:
- Integrated care for depression, anxiety, mania and other mood disorders
- Counseling to determine what psychological reasons initiated use
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to empower a positive perspective
- Identify personal drug-use triggers and how to combat them
Treatment also includes aftercare support, local peer groups and ongoing mental health care.
LSD Abuse Help
Do you have questions about signs of LSD use or how to stage an intervention for a loved one? Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now to speak with someone who can help. Our counselors can discuss warning signs, provide information on rehab facilities and check health insurance policies for treatment benefits. Whether it is you or a loved one abusing LSD, we are here to help.