LSD Long Term Use and Effects

This article discusses LSD long term use and effects including tolerance, acid flashbacks, mental and psychological effects and more...Keep reading for indirect consequences of long term LSD use and treatment options for the long term LSD effects.


LSD, or lysergic acid diethlyamide, is a potent man-made hallucinogenic drug, which alters the mood and perceptions of users and causes them to see, hear, and feel things that are not real. Though the initial effects of using the drug usually wear off within 12 hours, LSD can have serious long term effects that may impact users for the rest of their lives.

LSD long term use and effects of such use vary depending on the person and the situation. Some users enjoy the experience, but others have "bad trips," which cause fear and paranoia. A person who has previously enjoyed LSD may have a bad trip if they use it again or in a different situation. This means that the more a person uses LSD, the more likely he or she is to have a bad trip at some point.

Though LSD doesn't cause physical addiction, users may continue to seek it out to get the effects of the drug. Some users can become psychologically dependent on LSD, where they feel like the need the drug to function or to handle life, especially if they use it often or over a long period of time. LSD long term use and effects can be very serious.

Long term effects of LSD use can occur in anyone who uses LSD, though heavy users, or those who use the drug over a longer period of time, are more likely to experience long term effects.

LSD long term use and effects include:

  • Tolerance, which causes a person to take more of the drug, which can lead to life-threatening overdoses
  • Acid flashbacks, or hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, an uncontrolled event where the person experiences the effects of LSD use again without taking the drug
  • Damage to vision
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of ability to communicate
  • Reduced ability to reason and think rationally
  • Delusions
  • Difficulty recognizing reality
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings

In addition to the direct long-term effects of LSD use, users may experience indirect consequences of using the drug, such as:

  • Not learning skills to cope with stresses and challenges in life
  • Problems in relationships with others
  • Lack of success in school, work, and other pursuits in life
  • Sexual assault
  • STDs and unwanted pregnancy due to having unprotected sex
  • Violent actions, such as attacking other people, often resulting from delusions occurring while taking the drug
  • Criminal charges as a result of the drug use or actions taken while on the drug
  • Accidents - hurting oneself or others while on a trip, such as by trying to fly, driving under the influence, or not recognizing other dangers while using the drug
  • Pregnancy complications if used while pregnant

Treatment for long term LSD effects

LSD is not physically addictive, so users don't need help with physical withdrawal from LSD, but if they are psychologically addicted they will need therapy and a support system to overcome their psychological need or cravings for the drug.

There is no cure for the flashbacks that users may experience after LSD use. Other psychological problems that develop as a result of long-term LSD use, such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, or trouble coping with everyday situations should be evaluated and treated by a doctor or therapist.


US Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA, "Tips for Teens: The Truth About Hallucinogens" [online]

Alberta Health Services, "The ABCs - LSD" [online]

US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, "LSD" [online]

National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA Notes Volume 16 Number 2, "Information on LSD, PCP, and Related Drugs Available in New Research Report" [online]

City of Greenwood, Indiana, Greenwood Recovery Court, "LSD" [online]

Related Article: LSD & Acid Overview >>