Panic and Anxiety: The Lasting Effects of LSD

LSD, known as “acid,” is an illegal hallucinogen that can cause a variety of physical and psychological side effects.  According to NIDA, some of the lasting effects of LSD can be long-term. For example, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) can cause a person to occasionally experience recurring distortions in reality, even when the drug is not present in their system.  These flashbacks or hallucinations may be mistaken for neurological disorders instead of an LSD panic attack syndrome.  The condition can also lead to chronic paranoia and drastic mood changes.

Since the drug became popular in the 1960s, evidence has consistently shown that LSD has the potential to cause physical and mental harm to its users.  Some of the most common dangerous lasting effects of LSD are increased anxiety, panic, and paranoia.  This level of stress differs from the usual anxiety most of us experience from time to time.  When LSD is present in the body, anxiety is exacerbated to a panic level that can cause the person to overreact and bring physical harm to themselves or others.

Physical Side Effects of LSD

Similar to other hallucinogens, LSD works on specific areas of the brain and body.  The serotonin receptors in the brain are responsible for the body’s response to danger.  Serotonin activates the sympathetic nervous system, giving the person a “fight or flight” reaction.  LSD over-stimulates these receptors, causing the following effects:

  • High blood pressure, rapid heart rate
  • Profuse perspiration elevated temperature
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Inability to sleep
  • Poor appetite
  • Tremors, weakness

As with other illicit drugs, there is also the potential for LSD overdose.  In most cases, the most obvious sign of an LSD overdose is the experience of a “bad trip,” but some dangerous effects can occur.  Here’s what to look for if you suspect someone has taken a massive overdose:

  • Extremely elevated body temperature
  • Shallow breathing
  • Vomiting, gastric bleeding

These symptoms indicate a medical emergency.  You should call 911 immediately.

Emotional Lasting Effects of LSD

These effects of LSD can become what is known as a “bad trip” if the person takes more massive doses than expected.  If an individual is prone to psychiatric disorders or psychosis, they are at a higher risk of causing harm to themselves or others and suffering from the lasting effects of LSD.  Some of these emotional bad trip effects can include:

  • Feeling detached from reality
  • Aggression, violence
  • Severe anxiety, panic attacks
  • Unpredictable emotions
  • Paranoia, hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts

Because of the possibly dangerous or addictive additives in LSD, a person is at risk for having reactions such as schizophrenia, acute mania, depression, or permanent psychosis, just to name a few of the lasting effects of LSD.

Is LSD Addictive?

Repeated use of LSD can cause a person to need more of the drug to achieve the desired effects.  When the tolerance levels continue to build, dangerously high amounts of the drug are required.  This behavior can cause adverse health effects that last longer.  Addiction is defined as, “persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.”  So, in this respect, LSD could be considered addictive.

LSD doesn’t cause the typical withdrawal symptoms experienced with abstinence from other drugs.  Even chronic, long-term users don’t usually notice any physical withdrawals.  But, some of the psychological effects on perceptions, thoughts, and moods can cause distress and lead to decreased functioning.  This distress often leads to self-medicating with more LSD.

What is LSD Microdosing?

When a person feels that their prescription anxiety drug is not working, the new fad is to engage in LSD microdosing.  Usually, this involves taking small doses (about ten micrograms) of LSD over several days. With this low dose, there is no chance of experiencing a bad trip or hallucinations.  Users claim that it does help with their ability to concentrate and improves their creativity and mental clarity.  It is often compared to the effects of Adderall or Ritalin.

There have been no clinical tests to determine if this is a safe or effective approach to treating anxiety.  This practice should not be taken lightly as it can lead to severe side-effects. Furthermore, it is not recommended for anyone who has a history of substance abuse problems.

Treating Anxiety and LSD Addiction

It’s not unusual for drug abuse and anxiety issues to co-exist.  This is known as a dual-diagnosis disorder.  When a person is struggling with both issues simultaneously, the best course of action is to seek professional treatment.  Unless both disorders are addressed, the chance of lasting recovery is unlikely.  The first step in treatment will be detox. In this process, the person’s body is cleansed of all traces of the drug.

When detox is complete, the next step involves rehab.  During the time in rehab, the individual learns skills for managing their anxiety and gains the confidence to function in life without the need for addictive substances.  Without this multi-faceted approach to treatment, the person is likely to relapse.  Some of the valuable activities and classes available in a professional rehab include:

  • Group and Individual Counseling
  • Life Skills Training
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Communication Skills
  • Anger Management
  • Music and Art Therapy
  • Nutritional Guidance
  • Exercise and Fitness
  • GED Preparation
  • Financial Planning
  • Parenting Classes
  • Faith-based Therapy
  • Self-Help Programs
  • SMART Recovery

Each of these groups helps a recovering addict regain self-esteem and build a foundation for a drug-free lifestyle.  Also, interacting with others who are experiencing the same issues can have a healing effect and help the person see that they aren’t alone in this struggle.

After detox and rehab are complete, an aftercare program is recommended.  It is best to have a plan selected before leaving rehab.  This way, there will be someone available to talk or to help if things get a little difficult.  An aftercare program can be helpful also by assisting with arrangements such as transportation, job interviews, safe housing, childcare, and more.  Many recovering addicts who decline an aftercare program often relapse within three months of leaving rehab.

If you are struggling with LSD abuse and want to get your life back on track, call us today at About Addiction.  One of our representatives is available to answer your questions.  We can help you find a treatment program that is right for your needs.  Don’t struggle with the lasting effects of LSD abuse. Get help now!