Long-Term Effects of LSD: What Does LSD Do? Common Side Effects, Long-Term Effects on the Brain and Body & Treatment
Long-Term Effects of LSD: What Is LSD?
LSD is a psychedelic drug that can cause hallucinations, delusions, and drastic behavioral changes. Although the substance is not physically addictive, LSD can cause several long-term health problems, psychological dependence, or death. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), first synthesized in 1938, is a highly potent hallucinogen.
It is synthetically made from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is so potent its doses tend to be in the microgram (mcg) range. Its effects, often called a “trip,” can be stimulating, pleasurable, and mind-altering or lead to an unpleasant, sometimes terrifying experience called a “bad trip.”
LSD is a powerful synthetic hallucinogen. The psychedelic drug can cause visual hallucinations and change a person’s mood, emotions, and perception. Because it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, LSD is illegal in the United States.
It can damage the body, alter the mind and cause volatile behavior that threatens the safety of the LSD user and others. Chronic LSD use can cause long-term health problems such as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder. The disorder causes flashbacks to spontaneous visual distortions that may reoccur months to years after quitting using LSD.
An illegal drug with no accepted medical uses in the United States, D-lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is a hallucinogenic drug that alters perceptions and the senses. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) classifies it as one of the most powerful psychedelics, or mood-altering, chemicals that are abused.
LSD is in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the most criminalized category for drugs. Schedule I drugs are considered to have a “high potential for abuse” and no currently accepted medical use; however, LSD has been used in many therapies and shows some success in treating depression and anxiety. There is even some evidence to suggest that LSD also has the potential to treat PTSD and addiction. Although LSD has been known to have some positive side effects, the drug affects everyone differently. In some cases, serious physical and psychological effects may occur.
Long-Term Effects of LSD: What Does LSD Do?
Scientists and researchers believe that LSD influences the receptors in your brain that deal with regulating serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is involved in controlling perceptual, behavioral, and regulatory systems. These include motor control, mood, hunger, sensory perception, sexual behavior, and body temperature.
When an individual takes LSD, their perception of reality can be profoundly distorted. They can experience hallucinations where they hear sounds, see images, and feel sensations that are not real but seem real at the time.
Long-Term effects of LSD can be quite unpredictable, as it can cause an individual’s emotions to swing intensely and rapidly. This means that an LSD “trip” can transform from a pleasant experience to an incredibly unpleasant experience very fast. There has been some research that suggests that there might be therapeutic benefits to LSD, but legal restrictions have made it difficult to perform this research.
Long-Term Effects of LSD: Common Side Effects of LSD Use
Long-Term Effects of LSD: Some of the most common and dramatic side effects that have been reported by researchers include:
- Altered sense of time
- Altered sense of self
- Dramatic changes in feelings and sensations
- Synesthesia and crossover senses
- Feeling several different emotions at one time
Some individuals might panic when they experience some of these altered sensations and perceptions. It can lead them to experience feelings of despair, terrifying thoughts, fear of insanity, fear of losing control, and fear of death. When this occurs, it is referred to colloquially as a “bad trip.”
There are also some physical side effects of taking LSD. These include trouble sleeping, seizures, loss of appetite, nausea, and dry mouth. If an individual has overdosed on LSD, they might experience psychosis, seizures, panic attacks, or delusions. If you believe that someone has overdosed on this drug, you’ll want to contact emergency services and attempt to keep them as calm as possible while you wait for help.
Long-Term Effects of LSD on the Body and Brain
Even though LSD is a potent drug that can cause intense experiences, it is not considered to be an addictive drug. However, there is evidence that dramatic brain chemistry changes can cause Long-Term Effects of LSD. These long-term effects of LSD changes might clear up over time but they can persist for years.
One condition is known as HPPD, or hallucinogen persisting perception disorder. Typically referred to as flashbacks, this is one a person who has previously taken LSD suddenly re-experiences the sensations or feelings of an earlier trip. This might include visual trails coming off light sources of halos around lights.
In rare instances, LSD can trigger something known as serotonin syndrome. This is most common in individuals who are already prescribed prescription psychiatric medications. Seratonin syndrome symptoms include:
- Restlessness or agitation
- Vomiting or nausea
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Fever or high body temperature
- Loss of coordination
- Rapid changes in blood pressure
For people who are predisposed to psychosis, LSD can trigger drug-induced psychosis. On its own, LSD won’t cause psychosis, but it’s important to learn about your family’s medical history to understand the risks. There are always associated risks when taking recreational drugs.
Long-Term Effects of LSD on the Brain
After the initial effects of LSD begin to subside, the user may suffer from acute anxiety or depression. Many users also experience flashbacks, the recurrences of effects associated with LSD many days or months after taking the last dose. Flashbacks typically follow a short-term, reversible, and benign course. The reemergence of visual images is typically accompanied by pleasant feelings, and there is usually no significant concern, distress, or impairment in the individual experiencing a flashback.
Unlike flashbacks, a condition called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) has a much more sinister effect on LSD users. Although similar to flashbacks in that it occurs well after the cessation of LSD use, HPPD is a dangerous and frightening disorder that follows a long-term and irreversible course. The impairment associated with HPPD can be so severe that many individuals are unable to adapt to living with these long-lasting recurrent “trips,” and many need constant treatment to overcome the pervasive symptoms associated with this condition, more research is needed to determine how likely this case is.
Flashbacks and HPPD are only some of the risks associated with LSD or acid abuse. Users are also at risk of developing long-lasting drug-induced psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. When LSD binds to the 5-HT2A serotonin receptors it produces symptoms that are similar to the hallucinations experienced by people diagnosed with schizophrenia. And the fact that drugs used to treat schizophrenia can block the hallucinogenic effects of LSD further supports a connection between LSD and schizophrenia.
Long-Term Effects of LSD: Treatment For LSD Use
Once a decision is made to obtain treatment, there are several steps to take.
- Speak to a healthcare provider to help direct you to reliable sources of help and monitor your progress.
- Talk therapy (behavioral counseling) and group counseling may be an option to help you understand your behaviors and why you continue to use LSD.
- Keep your appointments and follow your provider’s treatment plan. Consider including trusted family or friends in your treatment plan.
- Take care of yourself: Exercise, eat healthfully and control your stress level. Surround yourself with supportive people.
- Medical therapy may be needed to treat symptoms due to drug use, such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia.
- Work to find new hobbies and interests that will take your mind off of drug use. Consider a volunteer opportunity.
- Each day makes an effort to stay away from people who abuse drugs, even if they are former friends.
Reclaim Your Life From the Long-Term Effects of LSD
LSD abuse is a condition that can cause major health, social, and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up California can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this with a professional and safe treatment that can help to prevent the long-term effects of LSD. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
 We Level Up Treatment Center – Is LSD Addictive