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What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of LSD?

lsd addiction treatment

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that has been known to create dramatic alterations in a person’s perception and state of consciousness. It has been used by many to explore spiritual and recreational experiences, and its use has been growing in popularity in recent years. While it is important to understand the potential benefits of taking LSD, it is also important to understand the potential long-term side effects of taking this drug. In this article, we will outline the potential long-term effects of LSD use, from both physical and mental perspectives. We’ll explain the potential risks involved and discuss ways to mitigate them. Finally, we’ll provide resources for those struggling with the long-term side effects of LSD use.

What is LSD?

Definition  LSD is an extremely potent hallucinogenic drug derived from ergot fungus. It is typically taken orally in the form of “blotter paper” or liquid suspended in sugar cubes, but can also be taken in pill form or injected. The effects of LSD typically last for 8-12 hours and include hallucinations, altered perceptions of reality, increased energy, altered mood, and impaired judgment.

History of LSD

LSD was first synthesized in 1938 by Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann and was initially used to treat psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. However, it quickly became a popular recreational drug due to its powerful psychological effects. After its popularity peaked during the 1960s and 1970s, LSD use decreased significantly due to increased awareness of its potential dangers and more effective law enforcement measures.

Short-Term Effects of LSD

Psychological Effects

The psychological effects of LSD typically begin within 30-90 minutes after ingestion and last for up to 12 hours. These include feelings of euphoria, a distorted sense of space and time, intense emotions (both positive and negative), creativity enhancement, enhanced sensory perception (colors seem brighter, music sounds better), and impaired judgment.

Physical Effects

The physical effects of LSD include dilated pupils, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, tremors, dry mouth, loss of appetite, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities.

Long-Term Effects of LSD

Psychological Effects

The long-term psychological effects of LSD are not well understood since there have been few studies on the topic due to the difficulty of studying humans using psychedelic drugs over long periods. Research suggests that long-term use can lead to persistent changes in perception as well as mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), paranoia, panic attacks, flashbacks (experiencing past trips while sober), and difficulty concentrating or sleeping problems. Some users may also develop a tolerance for the drug over time which can lead to overuse or “abuse” status if not managed correctly.

Physical Effects

The long-term physical effects of LSD are not well understood either but research suggests that long-term use can lead to vision impairment (including blurred or double vision) as well as reduced coordination and slowed reflexes which can impair driving abilities and increase the risk for accidents or injury. Long-term use may also result in increased sensitivity to light (photophobia) as well as impaired memory function or cognitive functions such as problem-solving or decision-making skills due to decreased brain plasticity or “neuronal flexibility” since psychedelics interfere with chemical pathways in the brain that help us learn new things daily. The good news is that these deficits appear reversible once usage stops for some time.

Treatment for LSD Abuse


For those suffering from an addiction disorder due to frequent LSD use, there are several options available for detoxification. This includes an inpatient program that involves hospitalization or an outpatient program that focuses on education about addiction as well as individual counseling sessions. During these programs, users will gradually learn how to reduce their dosage over time until they no longer feel a need for the drug. It is important to note however that these programs are not meant to replace professional medical treatment if one is required.  

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies have been successfully used to treat addiction-related disorders such as substance abuse disorder due to frequent LSD usage. This type of therapy enables users to identify their addiction triggers which will help them avoid them while implementing healthy lifestyle changes such as avoiding situations that may provoke cravings for the drug. Behavioral therapies also focus on developing coping skills that will help users manage stress without resorting back to substance use.


For those suffering from severe depression or anxiety disorders caused by long-term use, there are several medications available that can help relieve symptoms. These include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, hypnotics, sleep aids, muscle relaxants, and antipsychotics, among others depending on one’s specific needs. It is important for one who is considering taking any type of medication for their condition to speak with their doctor first about potential side effects before starting on any treatment plan.

Risks of Long-Term LSD Abuse

Physical Health Consequences The risks associated with long-term use include visual impairment, reduced coordination, slowed reflexes, increased sensitivity to light ( photophobia ), lack of appetite, insomnia, increased heart rate & blood pressure, tremors, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting, among others. Long-term users should be aware that physical health consequences are serious risks & should speak with their doctor if they think they may have experienced any adverse health effects due to prolonged usage.

Mental Health Consequences

Long-term users may experience difficulty concentrating & problems with memory function due to decreased brain plasticity caused by psychedelics interfering with chemical pathways in the brain used for learning and decision-making skills. Additionally, mood swings & persistent changes in perception may be experienced along with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, OCD, panic attacks, and paranoia if not managed correctly. Those suffering from mental health disorders should seek professional medical advice if such symptoms occur after long-term usage.

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