How LSD Addiction Works

Is LSD Physically Addictive?

LSD is not physically addictive—as such, LSD usage does not result in withdrawal symptoms. With repeated use it is possible for you to develop a psychological dependence to the habitual effects of LSD.

What Causes LSD Addiction?

With repeated uses, it is possible to develop a short-term tolerance to LSD. Frequent users will find that they will have to take more LSD than usual if they have “tripped on acid” in the last 72 hours—which can result in taking double or triple the initial dose. Repeatedly increasing the dose can reinforce a psychological addiction on LSD. Psychological addiction can also occur when LSD users turn to tripping as a means of escaping stressors, emotional pain, or low self image. After a while, long-term or heavy LSD users no longer feel they can function without frequent use of the drug to induce further escapes from reality.

LSD is an incredibly powerful molecule. Measured in millionths of a gram, even an infinitesimal amount of LSD creates significant changes in the brain’s chemical make-up. When LSD enters the brain, it creates an instant flood of the neurotransmitter known as serotonin—the chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure, as well as processing of mood and perception. As reality distorts during an LSD trip, LSD users experience a sense of relaxation and pleasure from artificially-released serotonin. This can leave users feeling depressed after the effects of LSD wear off, as the brain contends with a short-term deficiency of the neurotransmitter. This can cause frequent users to re-dose in order to prevent the come-down and prolong seemingly positive effects of the psychedelic.

What Are the Signs of LSD Addiction?

The powerful changes LSD addiction causes to the brain can trigger a host of problems.  For those who have latent emotional or mental issues, the intense effects of repeated LSD experiences can turn a latent issue active. One sign of LSD addiction are users becoming paranoid, schizophrenic, or delusional. Once expressed, these psychological issues can create repetitive a break from reality. Even in healthy individuals, the “come-down” phase of an LSD trip can result in depression, anxiety, or fear. In fact, after the effects of LSD wear off, users sometimes face flashbacks—even from negative or “bad” trips. People who frequently use LSD may experience Hallucinogen Persisting Perceptive Disorder (HPPD)—resulting in increased flashbacks, panic attacks, phobias and residual and persistent visualizations.

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