Lysergic acid diethylamide – best known as LSD or acid – is a psychedelic hallucinogen that profoundly alters the mind for about 12 hours per experience (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 flashbacks1
An LSD trip also increases the risk of serious accident or injury, including dangerous interactions with antidepressants or lithium. These risks multiply for those who the drug use on a regular basis. Watching for signs of LSD use and the drug paraphernalia that goes with it is the best way to protect your loved one from injury or accidental overdose.
There is less paraphernalia associated with LSD than with marijuana and crack-cocaine, and not all drugs come with paraphernalia for use. But for drugs like LSD, the tools needed to use are unmistakable.
- 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 in a location other than 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.2
LSD users also tend to show interest in the 1960s counterculture where use of the drug rose to prominence. The idolization of LSD-users like Timothy Leary, Hunter S. Thompson and Albert Hoffmann is another indication that LSD use might be a problem.
Signs of LSD Use
What LSD use lacks in identifiable paraphernalia, it makes up for in a user’s unusual behavior. Signs that someone is in the middle of an LSD trip include the following:
- 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
Signs of LSD use between actual trips are far more subjective, but many LSD users regularly suffer depression, mood swings and a preoccupation with getting and using the drug.
Treatment for LSD Abuse
While the drug is dangerous, it is not physically addictive in the same manner as other drugs. 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.
Proper treatment for LSD abuse also includes quality aftercare including support groups and ongoing mental health care.
Finding Help for LSD Abuse
If you or a loved one struggle with LSD abuse we are here for you. Call our toll-free, 24-hour helpline, 424-387-3118, to speak with an admissions coordinator about available treatment options. We can discuss warning signs, provide information on rehab facilities and check health insurance policies for treatment benefits. You are not alone. Call us now.
1 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “How Do Hallucinogens (LSD, Psilocybin, Peyote, DMT, and Ayahuasca) Affect the Brain and Body?” National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, Feb. 2015.
2 “LSD: Effects, Hazards & Extent of Use.” Drugs.com, Oct. 2018.
3 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, Jan. 2018.