It’s easy to associate LSD with psychedelic images of the 1960s counterculture, but harder to understand the many physical complications brought by the drug. Weight issues and nutritional problems are common to LSD use, because the powerful hallucinogenic drug disrupts the neurotransmitters that control hunger. People who use the drug lose their appetites. Serious consequences of going without food include problems with thinking and concentrating as well as health problems due to nutritional deficits.
Lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as LSD or acid, is a synthetic hallucinogenic drug that distorts a person’s perception of reality. While LSD is not a physically addictive drug, users develop a psychological dependency on it. This dependency creates many negative side effects, including appetite loss, sleep problems, strong mood shifts and sensory abnormalities.
How Does LSD Affect Eating Habits?
LSD affects a person’s appetite and eating habits in several ways. First, the drug alters the body’s natural level of serotonin, which controls many important bodily functions: appetite, sleep, sexual desire and mood. Disrupting serotonin also may lead to mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anger. Such mental health issues also affect a person’s appetite, possibly leading a person to dramatically control eating habits and believe it’s normal to eat less.
Another way LSD affects eating is through behavior changes. When feeding a psychological addiction, a person’s top priority becomes finding LSD, instead of eating, sleeping or otherwise leading a healthy life.Heavy LSD users tend to neglect proper rest and healthy habits. This drug-seeking behavior on its own or combined with side effects like diarrhea and vomiting results in dehydration, weight loss and a lack of essential nutrients to sustain the body. LSD use also exacerbates any mental health problems, so a person with depression experiences more severe symptoms. All of these factors negatively affect a person’s appetite by motivating him to eat more or less than a healthy amount of food.
In addition to LSD’s appetite suppressing qualities, the drug also causes binge eating. After a “trip,” users may eat a variety of unhealthy foods, including processed foods devoid of nutrients. Memory loss also contributes to weight loss or weight gain. An LSD user may not remember whether or not he or she has already eaten, leading the user to skip meals or eat more than he or she usually does. Any of these factors can lead to malnutrition and even cardiac arrest and death if left unchecked.1
Other LSD Dangers
Besides malnutrition and dehydration, there are other serious risks of consistent LSD use. Tolerance to the drug builds quickly, causing users to increase their doses to maintain consistent effects. Because the drug causes a distorted perception of reality, users can easily present a danger to themselves and others. LSD can cause users to be reckless and, in extreme cases, suicidal. There is also a risk of permanent psychological damage, especially among users who are unstable.
People who use LSD may experience flashbacks, or sudden hallucinations and other mood disturbances, that occur days or more than a year after using the drug. In rare cases, people who use hallucinogens may develop hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD). This disorder disrupts a person’s senses and thinking even when drugs are not in his system. HPPD may continue for months and disrupt a person’s day-to-day life. LSD also may bring on persistent psychosis, which creates visual distortions, paranoia, mood changes and disorganized thinking.1
There are also uncomfortable physical symptoms associated with LSD use. The drug brings on increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, excessive sweating and dry mouth.People getting off the drug may experience mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, restlessness and reduced sex drive. Reactions to LSD differ from person to person, making the drug all the more unpredictable.1,4
Help for LSD Addiction
If you are struggling with a psychological addiction to LSD and are ready to take a step toward recovery, call our toll-free helpline to speak with our admissions coordinators about your professional treatment options. We are available 24 hours a day to get you started on achieving long-lasting recovery. Please call today.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What are hallucinogens? Drug Facts. Retrieved Aug. 22, 2016 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens.
 National Centre for Eating Disorders. (2012). The Effects of Under-Eating. Retrieved Aug. 22, 2016 from http://eating-disorders.org.uk/information/the-effects-of-under-eating/.
Bouchez, Colette. (2011). Serotonin: 9 Questions and Answers. WebMD Feature. Retrieved Aug. 22, 2016 from http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/serotonin.
 Davis, Kathleen. (2015). What is lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)? Effects and hazards of LSD. Medical News Today. Retrieved Aug. 22, 2016 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295966.php.