LSD Addiction and Tolerance

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is hallucinogenic drug that can lead to LSD addiction and tolerance. This article discusses short-term and long-term effects of LSD use. Keep reading to learn how LSD addiction is treated and what drug treatment options are available.


LSD is the acronym for Lysergic acid diethylamide, termed an hallucinogenic drug, which means that it causes hallucinations, the apparent experience of things that are not real. Adverse effects reported as early as 1966 led to the restriction of LSD use by the Federal government in 1967. As a result, LSD is now a Schedule I controlled substance, a drug for which, in the United States, there is no medical use that is currently accepted and which has a high potential to be abused. Schedule I drugs are illegal to possess, sell, or use. This article gives an overview of LSD and its short-term and long-term effects on users.

Short-Term Effects of LSD Use

The most obvious effects of LSD use are the delusions and hallucinations that occur with use. A delusion is a belief in something that is not true, but different than having false information, making a mistake in computation, or seeing an optical illusion. A delusion is a belief held with conviction even in the face of evidence to the contrary or patent impossibility. An example of a delusion would be thinking one was a horned toad, believing that one had superhuman powers, or being convinced that cockroaches implanted with listening devices were following one everywhere. These examples all are of delusions that are bizarre. One could also have a delusion that was perfectly possible, but simply untrue.

A hallucination is often thought of as a visual phenomenon, but it can actually be involve any of the senses, or multiple senses. Whether LSD use results in delusions, hallucinations, or both, the experience may be positive or negative, depending on the content.

LSD addiction and tolerance are debates but short-term effects that can occur include signs that are physically discernible. Increases in anxiety, blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and pupil dilation are likely. Sleeplessness and appetite loss are also common. Profuse sweating, a dry mouth, and tremors are all possible.

Long-Term Effects of LSD Use

Although one of the most potent of the hallucinogenic drugs, LSD is - unlike PCP, for example - not physically addictive. This means that using LSD one time or more does not necessarily lead to constant thinking about it or a compulsion to continue using it. In fact, most users choose to decrease or stop using LSD as time passes. People can still become psychologically addicted to LSD, in the same way that they can become addicted to any other substance or activity that fulfills a psychological need for them.

On the other hand, lsd tolerance is a characteristic physical response. Tolerance refers to a decreased response to the same amount of drug. The typical response is for the user to increase the amount of LSD used, with progressively higher doses being taken to achieve a state of intoxication. Cross-tolerance has been noted between LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs. LSD addiction and tolerance can go hand in hand. The more LSD is used, the more the body build up a tolerance to it.

Other important long-term effects have also been noted. Uncontrolled flashbacks to the drug experience can persist for more than a year. Severe repetitive flashbacks may be diagnosed as a condition called hallucinogen-induced persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD). Acid flashbacks can cause significant impairment in a person’s ability to function normally.

Treatment for LSD Addiction and Tolerance

Treatment for psychological addiction to LSD will differ from treatment for physical drug addiction because there is no withdrawal period. Rather, it will bear similarities to treatment for other addictions to substances, activities, or experiences that are not, in and of themselves, addictive. Behavioral-cognitive therapy is often employed.

If one accepts that there is no valid use for LSD, the treatment for LSD tolerance is to stop using LSD. For HPPD, on the other hand, therapy and treatment with pharmacological agents has proved helpful in some cases. However, research into HPPD and its treatment are ongoing.


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