LSD first become popular in the 1960s. Hippie culture dominated, and individuals were encouraged to “tune in, drop out.” In response the government regulated the drug. Concerned individuals villainized the substance. Government and public alike made assumptions about the drug and who used it. Changing social and political culture led to a decline in LSD’s popularity or at least its visibility in the media and pop culture. Misconceptions and assumptions remained in place.
Now we are facing a resurgence in LSD’s popularity. Hippie fashion and culture are trending once again, but it is not only the young and fashionable or older and disaffected who use LSD and are at risk for addiction. Medical Daily reveals, “About 32 million Americans have used any psychedelic drugs at least once in their lifetimes— about 17 percent of all American adults between the ages of 21 and 64.” The adults using LSD aren’t just baby boomers and college-aged experimenters. Medical Daily continues, “Lifetime psychedelic drug use among baby boomers aged 50 to 64 was on par with that of younger adults aged 21 to 25, about 15 percent. The highest rate was among adults aged 30 to 34- over 20 percent.” LSD use is as common now as it was in the 60s. LSD addiction is not a problem of the past. Individuals of all ages and cultures are at risk for LSD addiction.
Addiction Risk Factors
Access to a drug is the first risk factor for any addiction. Addiction cannot develop if a person never uses a substance. Individuals were once limited to the drugs they could get from friends, family members or other local sources. The Internet and “dark web” now make accessing any substance possible. This broadens the range of who is at risk for LSD addiction.
Gender influences drugs used and the results they have on users. Medical Daily reveals, “Men were more likely to have used psychedelics than women, regardless of age categories.” This puts men at greater risk for LSD addiction. They are also at greater risk for physical consequences of drug use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, “Illicit drug use is more likely to result in emergency department visits or overdose deaths for men than for women.” Addiction treatment for men may have to take physical health into greater consideration. Men with health complications related to LSD and other substance use should look for integrated treatment programs that include regular medical supervision. Women may have other treatment and recovery needs. NIDA continues, “Women are just as likely as men to become addicted. In addition, women may be more susceptible to craving and relapse.” Treatment for women may need to focus on relapse prevention skills and on building a strong support system. Both men and women are at risk for LSD and other addictions. Treatment should recognize the difference gender can play in how patients experience addiction and recovery.
Mental health predicts who uses substances like LSD and who becomes addicted. Preexisting mental health issues strongly influence choice of substance and risk for addiction. The National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI) shares, “A person experiencing a mental health condition may turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication to improve the troubling mental health symptoms they experience.” LSD offers a temporary escape from reality. Individuals may seek out its changes in perception and mood. Current studies show the potential for LSD use in the treatment of mental health issues. This may also influence decisions to use the drug at home. Promising results occur in controlled situations with medical supervision and guidance. Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and bipolar disorder require specific, professional care. There are no cures for these concerns, but therapy and medication can make symptoms manageable. Self-medication with LSD is not a long-term solution. NAMI explains, “Drugs and alcohol only make the symptoms of mental health conditions worse.” Individuals with minor or undiagnosed mental health issues often find themselves facing a Dual Diagnosis of addiction and a mental health disorder. Integrated treatment becomes necessary. Therapy needs to address mental health and addiction and to recognize the relationship between the two. Mental health will always be a risk factor for LSD and other addiction. Treatment can mean relief from all co-occurring disorders.
End the Risk of LSD Addiction
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 http://www.medicaldaily.com/psychedelic-drug-use-united-states-common-now-1960s-generation-245218. “Psychedelic Drug Use in United States as Common Now as in 1960s Generation.” Medical Daily. 23 Apr 2013. Web. 20 Sep 2016.
 https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/substance-use-in-women/sex-gender-differences-in-substance-use. “”Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Use.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Jul 2015. Web. 20 Sep 2016.
 http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Dual-Diagnosis. “Dual Diagnosis.” National Alliance on Mental Illness. Web. 20 Sep 2016.