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  • The Short- & Long-Term Effects Of LSD

    The Short- & Long-Term Effects Of LSD

    Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is a hallucinogen. It can cause people to see, hear, and feel things that aren’t there, also known as hallucinations. Street names for LSD include “blotters,” “purple haze,” and “acid.”

    Among psychedelic drugs, LSD has seen some of the most use in religious, spiritual, and social circles. Taking LSD can cause other short- and long-term side effects.

    Short-Term Effects Of LSD

    LSD affects the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls mood, happiness, perception, and hunger. LSD has both physiological and psychological effects.

    Taking LSD is known as “tripping.” It often comes in tablets, pills, or soaked in pieces of paper. A “good trip” can cause a person to hallucinate, see and hear things more intensely, or have a spiritual experience.

    Even on a good trip, however, LSD can cause:

    • increased heart rate
    • increased blood pressure and body temperature
    • sweating
    • perceptual changes
    • changes in appetite

    LSD is a strong hallucinogen. Its effects can last for up to 12 hours, even in small doses.

    Bad Trips

    A “bad trip” can happen if large amounts of LSD are taken. However, a bad trip can happen even in very small doses (known as microdosing), making bad trips unpredictable. Bad trips can be scary, unpleasant, and even traumatizing.

    A person on a bad trip may experience:

    • synesthesia (“feeling color,” “seeing sounds”)
    • panic attacks
    • unpleasant thoughts and emotions
    • disturbing perceptions

    Long-Term Effects Of LSD

    Unlike other well-known illegal substances, hallucinogenic drugs like LSD do not cause physical dependence. However, drug use of LSD can still cause long-term side effects in rare cases. These effects may last even after only one use.

    Persistent Psychosis

    LSD can cause a number of mental health issues. Paranoia, mood swings, and disorganized thinking can happen even when not taking LSD. Persistent psychosis can wear down on a person’s well-being over time.

    Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)

    Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) happens when a person experiences flashbacks to past trips. They may hallucinate or see visual disturbances when not on the drug. HPPD can last anywhere between a few days to over a year after the last use.

    Are There Legal Uses For LSD?

    LSD is an illegal, restricted substance in the United States. However, there have been recent pushes to approve LSD as a treatment for alcoholism, depression, anxiety, and other disorders. 

    Some psychiatrists believe that LSD’s relationship with serotonin can help reduce symptoms of these health problems. LSD’s low potential for addiction and dependence may make it a relatively safe treatment option. 

    However, LSD is still illegal as of this writing, and further clinical research is needed.

    Treating Hallucinogen & Psychedelic Drug Abuse

    LSD is one of the strongest, classic hallucinogens available. Taking LSD in any form is a form of substance abuse. Other types of hallucinogens may cause similar effects, but affect the body differently.

    To learn more about our substance abuse treatment programs, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Davis Sugar, M.D.
    on July 11, 2022
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