Lysergic acid diethylamide (or LSD) is a man-made drug known for causing strong and persistent hallucinations. While the drug is very capable of causing long-lasting mental health challenges, it’s not closely associated with a traditional withdrawal syndrome.
While you might not feel symptoms like nausea, muscle aches, or sweating if you quit abusing LSD, you may experience psychological symptoms that could raise relapse risks.
Keep reading to find out what LSD withdrawal typically looks like and how it’s treated.
What Is LSD Withdrawal?
Researchers say LSD isn’t traditionally addictive. It doesn’t cause compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, as cocaine and heroin do. It also doesn’t cause severe withdrawal symptoms within your body.
But people who abuse LSD often can develop a psychological dependence on the drug.
LSD is associated with almost mystical powers. Some people believe using the drug gives them a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. They may believe that they simply can’t live without the drug. Or they may believe the drug somehow makes them better than they would be without it.
Psychological addiction like this is powerful, and symptoms are often strongest in the days or weeks after people quit drug use. We call this period of adaptation withdrawal.
What Are Common LSD Withdrawal Symptoms?
LSD rarely causes physical signs during withdrawal. The drug is powerful, but people don’t experience flu-like symptoms when they quit.
Psychological withdrawal symptoms are often present, and they can be strong. Those symptoms can include the following:
People experiencing withdrawal often have powerful drug cravings. They may believe using the drug will make them feel better, and they could relapse to make the discomfort stop.
Factors That Determine Withdrawal Intensity
Why do some people have strong withdrawal symptoms and others don’t? Researchers aren’t entirely sure, but there are some common issues shared among people who have very strong reactions to quitting use of certain drugs.
Your withdrawal intensity could be longer or shorter depending on the following factors:
- How long you took LSD
- How much you took each time
- Your overall health
- Any co-occurring mental health issues
- Your age
- Other drugs you used with LSD
Your history of addiction can play a role too. People who have tried to quit and failed repeatedly often have stronger symptoms with each attempt.
How Long Does LSD Withdrawal Last?
Psychological withdrawal symptoms are variable, and they can last longer or shorter times depending on people’s metabolism. In general, most people find they feel better within a few days.
A typical LSD withdrawal timeline looks like this:
- Day 1: The person stops using LSD.
- Day 2: Symptoms begin to worsen and strengthen.
- Day 3: Symptoms peak in intensity.
- Day 4: Symptoms begin to lessen.
- Week 2: Long-term recovery begins.
Note that this is a typical timeline. Your schedule may be longer or shorter than this one.
How to Detox From LSD
The best way to detox from LSD is to get started. Detox is a normal and natural process that ends with healing your brain cells. If you’re hoping to stop using LSD and get sober, detox starts the process.
It’s very difficult to get healthy and avoid your relapse risks. It’s never wise to move through detox alone, as you may relapse back to drug misuse before the process is complete. Always ask for help from a professional, so you can get well.
With medical detox, you’ll be supervised throughout the withdrawal process. This not only ensures that you stay safe, but it also ensures that you make it through detox without relapsing. If you have continual support and little opportunity to relapse, you’re much more likely to succeed.
Get Help for LSD Addiction
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved medications to treat LSD addiction, but other therapies are tried and proven.
Teams use psychotherapy to help people understand why they started using LSD. These same techniques can help people react and respond to their relapse triggers without returning to drug use.
If you’re struggling with LSD addiction, consider enrolling in a comprehensive treatment program. Here, you can get the help you need to change your life permanently.
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- A Rare Case of Physical Dependence With Psychedelic LSD - A Case Report. (March 2019). Journal of Substance Use.