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LSD Withdrawal Symptoms: Are There Any?

LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) also known as “acid” is a drug that is commonly used to experience unique psychological effects. It is a psychedelic substance that when taken can lead a person to experience an altered perception of reality. For example, the person may think differently, see “visuals” with eyes closed or open, and they may have a unique spiritual experience. Many people utilize LSD without any problems, but some experience adverse reactions such as paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations.

In most cases, LSD is non-addictive and has an extremely low dependency rating. It is considered non-toxic when taken at low doses. With that said, not all people experience positive effects from taking this particular drug. Additionally, it is thought that many people who use it for an extended period of time may build up a tolerance and experience withdrawal symptoms. During the withdrawal, a person may experience some minor psychological effects as a result of withdrawing from the drug.

Factors that influence LSD withdrawal include

Most people will not experience much of a withdrawal when they stop taking LSD. This is due to the fact that there are not any physical discontinuation symptoms associated with the drug. A great majority of individuals that use LSD do not use it every single day. Therefore most people do not build up a big enough tolerance to experience withdrawal symptoms.

1. Time Span

How long have you been using LSD? What is the frequency of your usage? If you have been tripping on acid every single day over an extended period of time, you are going to have a lot more difficult time with the withdrawal. Consistent long-term use of the drug is not well studied or documented and therefore no one knows exactly whether you could experience permanent psychological changes.

2. Dosage (80 ug – 250 ug)

How much LSD do you typically take? Generally the greater the dosage you have been taking, the more difficult it will be to withdraw from. When you take a higher dose of any drug, your brain gets accustomed to functioning with influence from the substance. Most people get LSD tabs at around 100 ug and take one tab. However, there are likely users that take significantly more than just 100 ug. Taking an increasingly high dose with each use will likely result in a more difficult psychological withdrawal.

3. Individual Physiology

When withdrawing from any drug, individual physiology plays a huge role in determining how quickly you recover. Someone with anxiety may fear as though their brain is permanently screwed up as a result of LSD and it may trigger panic, which in itself can lead to an array of symptoms. Additionally you may have someone who uses the drug every single day and doesn’t experience any psychological effects upon withdrawal. Most frequent users will notice that they experience some minor psychological symptoms as they come to grips with quitting.

LSD Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

It should be noted that most people who use LSD do not experience any major withdrawal symptoms. At lower doses the drug is pretty well tolerated and there are no physical symptoms associated with the withdrawal process. Only when a person uses the drug frequently and at high doses will they build up a tolerance and experience some psychological withdrawal symptoms.  The most common symptom for people to experience when quitting LSD is that of “flashbacks.”

  • Anxiety: Some people experience anxiety because they are afraid that they killed brain cells or permanently altered their thinking. In most cases, people will return to normal as long as they can just relax. If you are freaking out about your LSD experience, the best thing you can do for yourself is to chill out.
  • Concentration problems: Many people stop taking LSD and have problems concentrating. It really isn’t known how the brain is affected by the LSD trip that you experienced. If you are tripping every day on this stuff, it may take a week or two after quitting before you regain normal focus.
  • Confusion: Following the usage of this particular drug, you may become confused. You may have difficulties with memory retrieval and cognition for a few days. Understand that not everyone will experience confusion, but some people do after they “trip.”
  • Depersonalization: Frequent LSD usage can alter one’s perception of reality. Anyone that uses a lot of psychedelic drugs can have a difficult time transitioning between the reality of the “trip” and that while not under the influence. This may lead to a person feeling depersonalized for awhile, but this should eventually go away.
  • Depression: Some people have an emotional reaction to quitting the drug. Although it is non-addicting, some people note changed emotional processing and other “feelings” that come up. If certain feelings come up while using LSD, it may cause a person to feel depressed.
  • Fear of going crazy: Some people believe that this drug could induce mental problems such as schizophrenia. This is merely a theory and in most cases, there is no direct link between LSD causing a person to develop this condition. If you are afraid that you are going crazy during withdrawal, the best thing you can do for yourself is try to relax.
  • Flashbacks: A person may experience episodic flashbacks in which they experience visuals and emotions associated with previous LSD usage. These can develop after just a single time using LSD. Most people experience a flashback when they use the drug, but can also experience them during the withdrawal process.
  • Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder: Another term to describe flashbacks is “HPPD” (Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder) – this involves a person experiencing hallucinations months and/or years after their LSD usage. Fortunately these typically do not last longer than a few weeks for most people that experience them.
  • Mood swings: You may experience mood swings more frequently during withdrawal than you did prior to using this drug. If these are severe, just know that they should subside. Most people return to being emotionally stable relatively quickly after they use LSD.
  • Psychosis: A person may experience similar symptoms to that of schizophrenia. In other words, they may experience hallucinations (e.g. hear voices or see things), have delusions (e.g. think someone is out to get them) and other visions. There is some evidence suggesting that LSD and schizophrenia may be related. Some have hypothesized that frequent use of LSD could trigger symptoms among susceptible individuals.
  • Suicidal thoughts: If someone has been using LSD frequently for an extended period of time and has built up a high tolerance, they may experience suicidal thinking. This is a pretty rare symptom to experience, but everyone reacts differently to the drug.

Note: It is known that LSD stays in your system for up to 29 hours after your final dose.  That said, withdrawal symptoms may be experienced prior to complete excretion.

How long does LSD withdrawal last? Not very long.

There is no set time-frame for LSD withdrawal. Most people that use this drug do not notice any withdrawal effects. In other words, as soon as a person comes down from their psychedelic “trip” everything reverts back to normal. With that said, everyone reacts differently to the drug that is LSD. For certain people they may experience an array of schizophrenia-esque symptoms with hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions being extremely prominent.

Others may become increasingly spiritual, while others may just do something crazy. During the withdrawal, it does take certain people awhile to return to how they were before they used the drug. A person who used LSD pretty frequently for a long period of time may take months before they feel completely recovered to “normal” again. It is important to understand that not everyone reacts the same to this particular substance and therefore withdrawal cannot be generalized.

If you are experiencing a lot of psychological symptoms that are making you uncomfortable, there are some steps you can take to speed up recovery. You may want to consider seeing a therapist to talk about what’s going on or even something as simple as posting your experience in a forum and getting feedback. Fortunately LSD is not very addicting and not linked to any crazy discontinuation syndrome. Therefore for most individuals, there is no “withdrawal” just a “comedown” from the “trip.”

References:

  • http://www.erowid.org/archive/rhodium/pdf/hppd.review.pdf

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