D-lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD to give it its street name, is possibly one of the best known mood altering hallucinogenic drugs on the ‘market’ today. Ironically, it has a pretty ‘natural’ evolution- it was derived from lysergic acid found in a fungus that commonly grows on rye and other grains. They even suspect that it is what was behind the werewolf phenomena in European early history!
The Drug Enforcement Agency considers LSD a Schedule 1 drug, which means there’s no medicinal use and it’s illegal to make, sell or possess. It’s heavily penalised under law. Yet it’s estimated around 9.4 percent of the population over 12 have abused LSD.
Of course, as a street drug, you can give no real guarantee what LSD will look like, but it can be tablet form, gelatine square, capsules or a liquid [often absorbed into paper ornamented with cartoons]
Street drugs are often consumed to ‘escape’- and what better way to facilitate this then altering mood and perception? LSD gives visual hallucinations and a distorted sense of time and self. No two people will have the same experience on the drug, in fact it’s possible that the same person will have vastly different experiences on each ‘trip’, and it can take 12 hours to wear off/ Moods and feeling swing rapidly during the trip, and some experiences can be very bad as well as euphoric. Users will sometimes be able to ‘see’ sound and ‘hear’ colour due to a malfunctioning of sensation.
We’re not entirely sure why this occurs, or how LSD specifically works on the brain. It’s possible that the drug works on serotonin receptors. Serotonin is best known as the ‘feel good’ hormone, although the neurotransmitter actually assists with emotional regulation and sensory perception as well. It also has effects on sleep, muscle control, appetite and even sexuality.
So far, LSD probably sounds ill-advised, but not outright dangerous, right? The answer is far from it.
‘Bad’ trips are as likely as ‘good’ ones, meaning users will be trapped for that 12 hour period in a nightmare of their own making. Feelings can include insanity, loss of control, fear and despair.
LSD can cause paranoia and panic, which combined with the impulsivity the drug brings, is a desperately poor combination. It can disturb sleep and leave the addict with numbness of limbs, jaw-clenching, a rapid heart rate and nausea. They often lose their appetite and suffer a dry mouth and inappropriate sweats. Tremors, dizziness and chills are common. Breathing can become irregular, accompanied by weakness despite elevated blood pressure and body temperature. Users are at high risk of accidents due to impaired judgment and perception.
Underlying mental health issues will be exacerbated by the use of LSD, although it doesn’t cause mental health issues directly. It is to be noted that genetics, environmental factors and your previous drug ‘experiences’ are thought to determine whether or not you have a ‘good’ trip.
This long acting drug has an equally long ‘dismount’ period, and can cause symptoms for up to 24 hours. Users need to be safe, soothed and reassured until the drug is out of their system, preferably somewhere quiet and secure. It will not be life threatening unless mixed with alcohol and other, more potent drugs. Do remember that underlying mental health disorders will be affected, however. It’s common for drugs like LSD to be used as ‘self-help’ for otherwise untreated mental issues, to help users cope better with life.
Evidence-based therapy is a good approach to take to assist with LSD addiction. Psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy] helps the user identify the emotional, environmental and social triggers that lead to their self-harming behaviour/ Coping tools and strategies to manage their environment are then developed together with their recovery team.
SLO Recovery Centers offers a safe, secure facility with counselling, therapy techniques and recreational options for those seeking help here. After our detailed admissions process, we are able to determine the exact nature of care needed by in-patients and help them help themselves to recovery. Contact us today if you or a loved one wishes to begin the process of recovery with our help.