LSD is a synthetic, hallucinogenic drug that causes what users often refer to as a “trip” because of the unusual sensory experiences it produces. LSD can profoundly alter a person’s sense of reality, and many users find the sensations it elicits to be exciting, enjoyable, and even potentially therapeutic.1 The effects of the drug are unpredictable, however, and can lead people to feel extremely anxious, frightened, or totally out of control
This page will provide more insight into LSD, if it’s addictive, its effects, signs of LSD abuse, how LSD addiction is treated, and whether you can use your insurance plan to obtain LSD addiction treatment and rehab.
Is LSD Addictive?
LSD is a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.2,3 So does LSD have the potential to be addictive?
People who use LSD may develop tolerance to the drug. Tolerance to LSD is different than with other drugs more commonly associated with substance abuse and addiction. Typically, people who develop a tolerance to a drug will take increasingly larger amounts of the drug to achieve the same desired results they once did. Drug tolerance usually develops with regular drug use over time and can lead a person to develop drug dependence and, ultimately, addiction.1,4
Tolerance to LSD, however, develops very rapidly, so taking more and more LSD does not help the user overcome the tolerance to achieve the desired high.1 Additionally, strong hallucinations and the potential for negative reactions, along with the inconsistency in experience from one usage to the next, often prompt people to take LSD only sporadically and recover to full sobriety in between trips.
For these reasons, LSD users don’t typically develop the compulsive, drug-seeking behaviors that characterize addiction.1,4 Although LSD is not considered physically addictive, frequent use can put people at greater risk for bad trips, dangerous situations, encounters with law enforcement, and health complications. Just because the drug isn’t considered addictive in the traditional sense shouldn’t stop you from seeking help for yourself or a loved one for whom LSD has become a problem.
Checking Your Insurance Benefits
If you are looking for LSD addiction treatment, it can feel overwhelming As you consider your options, knowing exactly what your insurance plan covers can give you peace of mind while you or your loved one is in rehab. You can do the work of getting and staying sober without worrying about unexpected costs or financial struggles. For more information on what your insurance plan covers, call AAC at , click here, or fill out the form below.
What is LSD?
LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide) is a potent, man-made hallucinogen manufactured from a lysergic acid compound found on the ergot fungus.4 In its various forms, LSD is also known as:2
- Purple haze.
- Electric Kool-Aid.
- Sugar cubes.
- Yellow Sunshine.
People typically use LSD orally, either in liquid form, capsules, or tablets. The most common form is small squares of paper soaked in LSD.2
What are the Signs and Symptoms of LSD Addiction?
LSD users typically feel the drug’s effects within 30–90 minutes after ingesting it, experiencing sensory changes and alterations in smells, sights, and sounds that can last up to 12 hours. While on an LSD trip, someone may feel disconnected from their body and physical reality. In addition, users can lose all concept of what’s real and take physical risks, such as driving a car or jumping from high places, without understanding the danger involved.1,4
The psychedelic effects of LSD include:1,2,4
- Visual hallucinations such as flashes of light, colors, shapes, or complete distortions of reality.
- Intensified sensations of sounds or smells.
- Distorted sense of time.
- A subjective greater understanding of the universe.
- Feelings of having a mystical or religious experience.
- Feeling a disconnect between mind and body.
- Synesthesia, or the blending of senses (being able to “hear colors” or “see music”).
Users typically experience some physical side effects of LSD, which can include:1,2,4
- Enlarged pupils.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Rapid emotional swings.
- Distortion of the ability to recognize reality, think rationally, or communicate.
- Raised heart rate and body temperature.
- Loss of appetite.
What are the Health Risks of LSD Abuse?
Not everyone experiences an LSD trip the same way. While some people report experiencing pleasant sensory effects and a sense of euphoria, others have frightening hallucinations that make them feel panicked and disoriented. This is what is sometimes referred to as a bad trip.
A bad trip on LSD may result in:1,4
- Extreme anxiety.
- Intense mood swings.
- Feeling a loss of identity or of disappearing into nothingness.
These frightening effects can lead users to participate in violent or dangerous behaviors, including self-mutilation, suicide, or homicide.1
Perhaps the best-known consequence of LSD is the potential for a bad trip, but in certain rare cases, the effects of a bad trip can trigger prolonged psychiatric reactions and episodes of psychosis.5
Another documented side effect of LSD is Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), better known as flashbacks.4 Some users have reported experiencing LSD flashbacks years after their last drug use. With HPPD, a person spontaneously sees sensory disturbances reminiscent of those experienced while on an LSD trip.4 For some, flashbacks can be intense and frequent enough to affect daily functioning.4
Other long-term side effects of LSD use can include:1
- Sleep disturbances.
- Mental and emotional instability.
Because LSD raises blood pressure, heart rate, and disrupts other body functions, users with conditions such as cardiovascular disease may experience severe complications from LSD use.5 However, most accidental deaths associated with LSD use are the result of hallucinations that lead to panic attacks and feelings of terror.5 There have been reports of people who commit suicide, mutilate themselves, attack others, or perform dangerous activities because they do not understand their physical limitations.1,4
How Do I Get Help for LSD Addiction?
While it can be difficult to overcome an addiction to hallucinogens it can be effectively managed.6,7 There is not one type of facility or program that is suitable for everyone.6 Addiction treatment should address both your substance abuse and the various ways it has negatively impacted your life, including physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally.6,7
There are various types of treatment options available to address the wide range of needs that people experience.8 Programs typically provide an individualized treatment plan that is tailored to your unique needs. They often use a combination of different techniques to address your addiction and how it has affected you.8
These can include:6-8
- Residential treatment, where you live at a facility, and receive care and/or support around the clock. This is a structured setting with counseling, support, and a strong emphasis on peer and social interactions.
- Inpatient treatment typically involves a shorter stay at a facility—often around 4 weeks —with around-the-clock monitoring and care, intense group therapy, and individual counseling.
- Outpatient treatment offers less intensive group and individual counseling while you live at home. This type of care allows you to work, attend school, and participate in daily life while learning how to adjust to stressors and receiving the support of peers and staff.
- Behavioral therapy in a group, individual, and/or family settings is highly effective for treating addiction to hallucinogens, dissociative drugs, and other substances. These techniques can help you learn how to stay sober, improve your relationships with others, cope with stress in healthy ways, and participate in positive activities.
- Treatment for co-occurring disorders, which addresses mental health disorders at the same time as a substance use disorder, is generally more effective than treating these issues separately. Therapy, medications, and other supportive services are commonly utilized in this type of treatment.
If you are seeking LSD treatment in the United States, you have a wide array of options including private rehab facilities, state-run treatment facilities, and local treatment programs.
There are also support groups that can help you as you work toward becoming sober and maintaining that sobriety. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a mutual support group that offers people the opportunity to use peer bond, sponsor relationships, and self-expression to work toward sobriety. There are also non-12-step programs available that offer alternatives to NA.
Where Can I Learn More about Treating LSD Addiction?
For more information about LSD abuse and addiction treatment, you may want to reach out to your doctor. Or you can contact one of our admissions navigators at for the information and support you are looking for as you look for LSD abuse treatment.
There are various treatment programs and strategies available for LSD addiction, so don’t give up if the first program you check out doesn’t meet your individual needs. To learn more about LSD addiction treatment, click here.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2015). Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs Research Report: How Do Hallucinogens (LSD, Psilocybin, Peyote, DMT, and Ayahuasca) Affect the Brain and Body?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Commonly Used Drug Charts: LSD.
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.). Drug Scheduling.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Hallucinogens DrugFacts.
- Das, S., Barnwal, P., Ramasamy, A., Sen, S., Mondal, S. (2016). Lysergic acid diethylamide: A drug of ‘use’? Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. 6(3):214–228.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (Third edition).
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). The National Institute on Drug Abuse media guide.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). DrugFacts: Treatment approaches for drug addiction.