The Difference Between Being Drunk and Being High on LSD

Young man drinking beer

LSD is a psychedelic drug that is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals available. This drug is sold in the following forms:

  • Tablet
  • Capsule
  • Liquid
  • Blotter paper

Although LSD most commonly is ingested, it can also be sniffed and injected.[i]

LSD is a semi-synthetic drug made from a fungus, called ergot, which is found on common grains, including rye.[ii]LSD interrupts the interaction between nerve cells and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes positive feelings. This interaction triggers an altered state that begins within the first hour or two of taking the drug and can last up to 12 hours. While under the influence of LSD, people often experience hallucinations and see profound distortions of reality, such as seeing, hearing and feeling things that do not exist. Users even report an experience, called cross-over sensations, in which they may see sounds or hear colors. Other side effects of LSD abuse include the following issues:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Feelings of despair
  • Sense of terror
  • Intense fear of losing control
  • Fear of insanity

Physical effects include the following problems:

  • Raised body temperature
  • Elevated heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Low appetite[iii]

People who abuse LSD can also suffer from flashbacks, a recurrence of the drug experience. Flashbacks happen without warning long after the chemical has left the individual’s system. Some experts believe that damage from LSD abuse causes the brain to misfire and to send incorrect signals, which results in a flashback. Other people think that LSD changes brain functioning, and it lingers in some part of the brain or body long term.

Although use is not widespread, any abuse of the hallucinogen is dangerous. With LSD use, each high—or trip—is different and, therefore, unpredictable. Sometimes users experience a bad trip in which their hallucinations mimic their greatest fears. In these situations, users are made to believe that they are in a terrifying experience and are unable to be convinced that what they are experiencing is not real. Because of this, many users act out irrationally and become a threat to themselves and others. It is important to seek help quickly to maximize chances of recovery and to protect your physical and mental health.

Alcohol vs. LSD: A Comparison of Highs

Getting drunk, which is also referred to as intoxication or inebriation, is a physiological state induced by drinking alcohol. It occurs when the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream is greater than the amount that can be metabolized by the liver.

Symptoms of alcohol intoxication include the following issues:

  • Euphoria
  • Flushed skin
  • Lowered social inhibition

Signs of intoxication caused by larger doses of alcohol include the following problems:

  • Poor balance
  • Impaired muscle control
  • Diminished decision-making ability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The reason many people become addicted to alcohol is because they enjoy the effects of being drunk, but drinking for the feeling alcohol creates may be an early warning sign of alcoholism, a progressive illness that is easier to treat in earlier stages. The best way to stay safe and to avoid the negative consequences of alcoholism is to seek professional counsel.

Recovery from LSD Abuse

If you or someone you love struggles with LSD use, you are not alone. Admissions coordinators at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can guide you to wellness. You never have to go back to a life of addiction, so call now to start your recovery today.


[i] http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/drug-facts/lsd

[ii] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens

[iii] https://www.drugs.com/illicit/lsd.html


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