LSD is a street drug taken for its mind altering effects. Illegal since the 60’s, it is notorious for causing hallucinations, delusions and unusual sensory experiences. Users roll the dice as to whether their acid trip will be pleasurable or terrifying.
Furthermore, flashbacks (trip-like reoccurrences) can revisit the user at any time – even after just one spontaneous, experimental dose – though more likely with routine LSD use.
Since illicit “street” drugs are not regulated, their resulting effects are particularly unpredictable. So, mixed with LSD, the outcome is even more uncertain – very possibly causing overdose or death.1
Drug Cocktails Will Likely Amplify LSD’s Effects
Many people who try LSD worry about mixing LSD with alcohol or other drugs, as the resulting effects can be so random. While very little research exists on LSD interactions with other substances, some studies suggest that mixing LSD with alcohol or other drugs increases your chance of having a “bad trip” –or worse, a fatal reaction.
Another possible impact is unconsciousness, which could also lead to a life-threatening accident. Even if alcohol simply intensifies a horrific trip, this scenario may incite you to put yourself or others in harm’s way.1
Mixing Drugs Can Really Mess with Users’ Emotions
All human beings instinctively seek to satisfy basic needs, like obtaining food, water, shelter, and sexual gratification.
- If the drive is not fulfilled: the person experiences frustration, anxiety, irritability and/or anger.
- If the drive is fulfilled: the person experiences a reward – manifested in feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and well-being.
Each“drive state” is located in a specific part of the brain. These are connected to the brain’s pleasurecenters. When a drive is satisfied, brain chemicals or neurotransmitters – such as dopamine,endorphin, norepenephrine and serotonin – are released in the message centers of the brain. This causes the person to experience pleasure.
Repeated introduction of alcohol and other drugs into the human neurological system triggers a release of dopamine, serotonin or endorphin in the pleasure centers of the brain. This release upsets the brain’s ability to naturally release and replenish its chemical reservoirs.
When an attempt is made to abstain from routinely used drugs, the neurological damage caused by this receptor insensitivity leads the user to experience sobriety as a real “downer”. Without the artificially induced pleasure and stimulation, a profound inability to experience pleasure through normal means may result. This can lead to unfulfilled instinctive drives, resulting in increased dysphoria, anxiety, anger, frustration and craving.2
Alcohol Is Frequently Part of the Polydrug Scene
Polydrug use (the use of various substances either simultaneously or sequentially) is reportedly increasing in the U.S. and around the world. The most frequent substance combination is that of alcohol and various illegal drugs.3Mixing LSD with alcohol can result in an increased sedative effect, prolonged drug effects in the body, increased risk of harmful side effects, and organ-destroying toxic chemicals.
The introduction of alcohol to the brain deteriorates reasoning, judgment and self-control, so mixing it with LSD could lead to serious harm or a lethal overdose,not to mention bizarre, uninhibited and, very possibly, dangerous conduct. Considerable research suggests that alcohol is a “gateway” drug – drawing people into use of other drugs, like LSD – due to its dulling effect on a person’s rational thought processes and consideration of consequences.2
Serotonin Syndrome Can Result from Chemical Cocktail
Some types of antidepressants increase the risk of serotonin syndrome when combined with other drugs, like LSD, that also increase the levels of serotonin.
“Serotonin syndrome” can be a life-threatening condition. It occurs when the brain is overloaded with a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) called serotonin (a chemical that makes us feel happy). It can be hard to recognize it developing. Much the same effects can result from taking drugs that increase serotonin levels. These include sweating, excitement, tremors and a rapid heartbeat.
More serious symptoms – such as coma, seizures, shaking or shivering, fever or overheating, and confusion – require immediate medical attention.4
First Aid Action to Take if Possible Drug Overdose
Drug emergencies are not always easy to identify. If you think someone has overdosed, or if you think someone is having withdrawal, give first aid and seek medical help. Try to find out what drug the person has taken. If possible, collect all drug containers and any remaining drug samples or the person’s vomit. Head to a hospital with whatever can be gathered.
If overdose is suspected, call the local emergency number (911 or other). The local poison center can be reached directly, as well, by calling the national 24/7 toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222).5
Why Do People Want to Mix Drugs?
There are several reasons people might choose to mix drugs, including:
- An attempt to increase the effect of another drug or to ‘bring on’ its desired effects.
- An attempt to reduce the negative effects of a drug, usually when ‘coming down’ from that drug.
- To use a substitute for the drug they really wanted to find.
- It seemed like a good idea at the time. Sometimes people will mix drugs when they are already high, aren’t thinking straight or if people around them are mixing drugs.4
LSD Abuse and Addiction Help: Just a Phone Call Away
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1“Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/hallucinogens-dissociative-drugs/what-are-effects-common-dissociative-drugs-brain-body , (February 2015).
2“The Interrelationship Between the Use of Alcohol and Other Drugs”, Issues Paper Series, American University, https://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles1/bja/178940.txt .
3 “World Drug Report”, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/WDR2012/WDR_2012_web_small.pdf .
4“Polydrug Use: What You Need to Know about Mixing Drugs”, Dept. of Health, Australian Government, https://comorbidity.edu.au/sites/default/files/Polydrug%20Use.pdf .
5 “Drug Use First Aid”, MedLine Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000016.htm .