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Good Trips, Bad Trips – LSD is Not a Way to Travel

LSD played a major role in the counterculture of the 1960s. It was very popular among the ‘hippie’ groups. They felt that it created a spiritual experience and one which helped them get in touch with  their inner self, others, and the environment. This is when many people first heard of the drug and ‘good trips’ and ‘bad trips.’ This is what users called their experience after taking the drug, and most of them knew about and dreaded the day they would have another bad trip which consists of “feelings vague anxiety and alienation to profoundly disturbing states of unrelieved , terror, ultimate entrapment, or cosmic annihilation.”

The truth is, however, that LSD was first discovered in Switzerland in 1938 by a research chemist named Albert Hofmann. He underwent the first ‘trip’ from acid by accident while working in his lab in 1943. In the 1950s and 1960s doctors in the United States and United Kingdom tried the drug to help mentally ill patients. They thought this would help them recall thoughts and feelings that they had repressed for many years. This drug was also tried as a ‘truth drug’ by the military for interrogating the enemy troops; this was unsuccessful though. The early 1960s is when individuals started to experiment with it simply for pleasure.

What is LSD?

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, abbreviated as LSD, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug. It produces hallucinations in the user, visual and audio. This is a Class A, Schedule I drug. This means that it is not licensed for any medical use and it is illegal to possess or supply. It is manufactured from Lysergic Acid which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on grains like rye. Actually, rye is the main source for Lysergic Acid.

The drug is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. This makes it very popular as a club drug today because someone can slip it into a drink or food without the intended victim knowing. LSD is not addictive and does not cause brain damage. Most of the time, it is administered orally by way of a sugar cube, blotter paper, or gelatin.

Some street names are:

  • Acid
  • L
  • Tabs
  • Blotter
  • Rainbows
  • Lucy
  • Trips
  • Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • Boomers
  • Yellow Sunshine
  • Hippie
  • California Sunshine
  • Loony Toons

Effects of the Drug – Like Being Your Own Horror Show

Effects from taking LSD usually begin about 30 minutes after ingesting the drug. These effects can last up to 20 hours. Usually individuals do not overdose on LSD, but deaths do occur from the dangerous activities undertaken while under the effects of the drug.

People experience psychological effects such as:

  • Altered thinking
  • Altered sense of time
  • Closed and open-eye visuals
  • Spiritual experiences
  • Radiant colors
  • Stationary objects appearing to have motion

There are many other psychological effects associated with LSD. Individuals experience many different effects, some of which can be very frightening such as delusions, paranoia, and anxiety.

Some of the physical effects of LSD include:

  • Elevated blood sugar
  • Reduced or increased appetite
  • Weakness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Numbness
  • Jaw clenching
  • Nausea
  • Hypothermia or hyperthermia (either)
  • Tremors
  • Goosebumps

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that more than 200,000 people use LSD for the first time each year. Most people only experiment with LSD and never develop an actual addiction to the drug.

LSD Risks

There are many risks associated with LSD use. Many users experience flashbacks. This happens many times without warning, and a long time after taking the drug. Users also may develop severe depression or long-term psychosis. An individual can end up out of touch with reality for the rest of their life after using LSD. There is a condition called Hallucinogen-Induced Persisting Perceptual Disorder (HPPD). This is a result of people having flashbacks which occur over and over. This disorder is common in LSD users.

Users of LSD develop a tolerance to the drug over time because it accumulates in the body. Once users develop a tolerance, they must take more of the drug to obtain their ‘high.’ This increases their chances of a bad trip.

When Do You Ask For Help?

As previously mentioned, abusers of LSD do not normally develop a physical addiction to the drug. However, they can develop a psychological addiction to LSD. They may want more than need to have the drug. When this is the case, the individual needs to have professional help to learn to live without the drug use. Even though people don’t get physically addicted to LSD, it still can ruin their lives.

When an individual is using LSD regularly, they cannot maintain a job, family responsibilities, or school work, just as with any other drug. It doesn’t matter how severe the addiction, if drug use interferes with everyday tasks and responsibilities, it is time to seek help.

There are different types of rehabilitation available today, but the one that shows most success is an inpatient drug treatment center. Inpatient treatment is the same as residential treatment, which means that the individual lives at the center while undergoing treatment. This is a major benefit of inpatient treatment because the client is supervised 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In the case of LSD abuse, if the client were to have flashbacks from a bad trip and need assistance, trained personnel would be there to render services to the client.

Also, the patient is taken away from their usual environment where drugs are readily available should they choose to use again. They are in safe, calm surroundings where they can focus on recovery instead of when they are going to go and get high. While in the residential treatment center, the client has a counselor assigned to him/her for one-on-one sessions. They also have group sessions where they meet with their peers and can discuss their experiences with drugs and offer support and encouragement to one another.

Almost all inpatient treatment centers offer aftercare services for their clients. Once the client graduates and leaves the facility, the center will continue to offer counseling and other services ensure that the client remain sober and living a healthy, productive life.

Sources:

  1. http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/lsd/lsd.shtml
  2. http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/lsd.html
  3. http://www.drugscope.org.uk/resources/drugsearch/drugsearchpages/lsd
  4. http://www.lsdaddiction.us/content/lsd-statistics.html
  5. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens-lsd-peyote-psilocybin-pcp
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