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How to Stop Abusing LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or “acid”) was developed in the early part of the 20th century. Scientists hoped it could be used as medication to increase circulation. Instead they found LSD to be a hallucinogen that causes the user to see things that are not there or to perceive things more intensely than usual. Psychiatrists were next to try to find a role for the drug. The Foundation for a Drug-Free World[1] explains, “Because of its similarity to a chemical present in the brain and its similarity in effects to certain aspects of psychosis, LSD was used in experiments by psychiatrists through the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.” There were some promising studies and results, but the drug was deemed overall medically useless and potentially dangerous. LSD was written off by the medical community. Instead it found a place in the counter-culture movement of the 1960s. When controlled medical experimentation ended, recreational use and abuse began. Since then scientists, individuals and the recovery community have become more interested in ending LSD abuse than in its origins.

Woman and overdosed man

Why End LSD Abuse?

LSD is not a harmless drug. It does not produce the same chemical addiction as “harder” drugs such as opiates. This leads many to think of it as purely recreational, yet LSD abuse has consequences. This drug’s promise of “escape” can lead to psychological addiction. Avoidance becomes a serious problem. Regular users often have trouble with self-esteem, workplace performance and attendance, relationships, finances and the law. Powerful hallucinations can cause long-term or even permanent changes to normal psychological health. Conditions such as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) can develop after even a single use. The New Yorker[2] explains this disorder: “A chronic and debilitating condition, H.P.P.D. warps the perceptual faculties: the external senses are marred by a constellation of mostly visual distortions, while the internal ones are paralyzed by a concoction of dissociative symptoms, panic attacks, and depression.” An individual is left with potentially permanent distortion in external and internal perception. When you stop abusing LSD, you end the risk of developing HPPD. If you already experience HPPD, ending LSD abuse can lead to fewer or no symptoms. Avoiding or addressing HPPD isn’t the only reason to stop abusing LSD. LSD trips can last from a few hours to over 12 hours. While some trips are perceived as positive or pleasant, others are dark or even terrifying. Many people have engaged in risky or even fatal behaviors while on either good or bad trips.

LSD tolerance develops quickly. Dosage will have to be increased regularly to continue experiencing the drug’s effects. This contributes to symptoms of addiction such as preoccupation with finding the drug. Depression and anxiety can develop when the drug is not in use. Mood swings are a common aspect of any psychological addiction. Loss of motivation and an inability to handle normal life pressures and struggles result from LSD abuse as well. There are many reasons to stop abusing LSD. Recognize the reasons that are motivating you to change, or help a loved one find this motivation. Next, take steps to make a change.

Professional LSD Addiction Treatment

Psychological addiction does not end on its own. LSD creates profound changes in how the brain functions and responds. It leaves users unable to step away from the drug without external support and guidance. Ending LSD abuse begins with reaching out for help. This help takes many forms. You may be worried about a loved one. In this case an interventionist can provide the best guidance. He or she will assess the situation and help you determine the best methods for approaching your loved one. They will help you begin a caring, compassionate conversation about substance abuse and options for recovery. The next step is treatment. Choose a program that emphasizes integrated treatment. LSD abuse recovery requires psychological support and understanding. Patients should be screened for co-occurring mental health issues, as these are often the cause of, exacerbated by or develop as a result of LSD use. LSD users often experience anxiety and depression. Leaving underlying issues untreated makes individuals likely to return to LSD use when life or emotions become difficult. There is no one right or wrong method for stopping LSD use and treating psychological addiction. The American Psychological Association[3] explains that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, motivational interviewing and contingency management are all proven treatment methods. These methods are effective, but that does not mean they are right for every person at every time. They explain, “Different methods can…be effective for different populations, and at different times in the treatment process.” Professional treatment providers regularly assess and adjust a treatment plan. A good treatment program is flexible, evidence-based and integrated.

How to Find a Good Treatment Program

Call our helpline. Our admissions coordinators are here 24 hours a day to connect you to interventionists, professionals and programs. We can answer any and all questions you have about LSD and addiction. No concern is too big or too small. We will help you begin the recovery journey today.

[1] “LSD: A Short History.” The Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Web. 27 Jul 2016.

[2] “A Trip That Doesn’t End.” The New Yorker. 17 May 2013. Web. 27 Jul 2016.

[3] “Breaking Free from Addiction.” American Psychological Association. Jun 2013. Web. 27 Jul 2016.

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