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While heroin, methamphetamine and crack addictions get the most attention, LSD addictions do exist and are just as dangerous as any drug or alcohol addiction. Synergy Recovery Center offers comprehensive LSD treatment in Bakersfield, CA involving individual and group counseling. If you or someone you know is addicted to LSD, call us today for immediate help at 661-878-9930.
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Referred to on the street as “acid,” “microdot” or “window pane,” LSD use surged in popularity during the 60s, declined during the 80s and experienced renewed popularity in the 1990s due to the popularity of raves. A hallucinatory drug that distorts all sensory perceptions, LSD is thought to have no medicinal value and is illegal to make or sell in the United States.
The effects of taking LSD tablets, capsules or “blotters” (small squares of paper that have been saturated with liquid LSD) include:
Research into the long-term effects of LSD use indicates that users have the potential for experiencing repeated psychotic episodes and hallucinogenic “flashbacks” that mimic an actual LSD “trip.” As a result of LSD’s enduring effects, abusers will need to enter outpatient LSD addiction treatment in Bakersfield, CA to defeat their addiction.
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Made in the laboratory by Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann over 70 years ago, LSD is derived from a chemical called ergotamine, which is found in a type of fungus called ergot. Hofmann experimented with taking LSD and soon discovered its potent, psychoactive properties.
Renamed Delysid in 1947 and marketed as a commercial medication for psychiatric disorders, LSD came under scrutiny by the CIA during the 1950s as a possible chemical warfare or mind-control agent. The CIA-led program called Project MK Ultra gave LSD to students and service members as part of numerous experiments with the drug. LSD remained legal to use in the 1960s, thanks to its appeal to the counterculture, until the passage of the 1968 Staggers-Dodd Bill. This bill, which amended the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, made it a federal offense for anyone to to possess or sell LSD.
Today, LSD is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance according to the Controlled Substances Act. A Schedule I substance is considered to have a high risk for abuse or addiction. Penalties for selling or possessing LSD may include one year in prison and a fine of $1,000. U.S. citizens getting caught multiple times possessing, selling or making LSD could see their prison time raised to three or four years instead of one year.
LSD is structurally similar to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates our moods, emotions, appetite, sleep and visual processing of images received by our retinas. In fact, LSD seems to be better at stimulating serotonin receptors than true serotonin. By forcing the release of extra serotonin in the brain, LSD brings about unusual changes in the way we hear, see, smell and interpret tactile sensations. LSD-induced hallucinations are thought to occur when excessive amounts of serotonin amplify perceptions beyond the point of being recognizable by the LSD user.
Additionally, LSD appears to provoke regions of the brain into communicating with each other that normally do not interact. Researchers think this may support the generation of new brain cell connections that previously did not exist, an occurrence increasing the intensity of sensory input and “cross talk” of unrelated brain areas. Neurologists say this explanation of what LSD does to the brain may clarify why people “tripping” on LSD “hear” colors, “taste” sounds and perceive things that are not really there.
Physical indications that someone may be high on LSD resemble signs of an amphetamine high. They include:
While the physical effects of LSD use are usually not serious, the psychological and emotional effects can be harmful to the user and others in their vicinity. The user’s state of mind can shift rapidly and without warning. People high on LSD may feel calm and serene one minute, and terrified and panic-stricken the next. They may start raging about something unreal and become even angrier when others deny their hallucination exists. Extreme fear can even compel LSD users to run blindly into a busy street or jump off rooftops to escape imagined dangers.
The length of LSD “trips” vary among users, depending on the potency of the LSD, amount the user took and whether the user already had mental health problems. All clients seeking LSD addiction treatment in Bakersfield, CA at Synergy Recovery Center are given a complete psychological evaluation to determine if they have any undiagnosed psychiatric issues contributing to their addiction.
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LSD users will develop a tolerance to the drug’s effects if they take LSD consistently. In fact, a cross-tolerance to psilocybin (psychoactive mushrooms) and mescaline has been demonstrated to occur in LSD addicts. Although deaths from overdosing on LSD are rare, users taking too much LSD may need supportive care that includes endotracheal intubation, administration of benzodiazepines and intravenous introduction of vasodilators or anticoagulants to reduce high blood pressure.
Although LSD is not physically addictive, it can be psychologically addictive if users always experience “good” trips that make them feel happy, euphoric and pleasantly out-of-touch with reality. When a person feels exceptionally euphoric all the time, the brain releases large amounts of chemicals that promote and support these desirable sensations. As the brain grows accustomed to having access to these “feel-good” chemicals, it starts craving more and more of them. In response to powerful cravings for LSD, the addict continues taking LSD to appease the brain and prevent unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawing from an LSD addiction presents mostly psychological symptoms resembling stimulant withdrawal symptoms. In addition to depression, anxiety, restlessness and feeling disoriented, addicts abstaining from LSD may also experience a strange phenomenon called “flashbacks.”
Medically referred to as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, flashbacks resemble an LSD trip that occurs randomly when the user is not taking LSD. Heavy LSD users who have used LSD for a long time have reported flashbacks happening to them years after taking their last trip. Most flashbacks last less than 30 minutes and consist of visual hallucinations involving vivid colors, geometric shapes floating in their peripheral vision and auras surrounding people and objects.
Neurologists do not know what causes flashbacks, but conclude from ongoing research that flashbacks emerge in response to specific “triggers,” such as stress, fatigue or anxiety. Some ex-LSD addicts report flashbacks happening when they see something that reminds them of a particularly “bad” trip they once had. However, scientists do know that flashbacks are not the result of LSD being stored in the brain and later being re-released by the body.
Although no empirical evidence exists to support the idea that LSD abuse or addiction permanently alters brain structure or functioning, validated reports of flashbacks indicate LSD does exert some long-term effects that, while not directly harmful to a person’s physical well-being, may disrupt or reduce a person’s emotional quality of life.
Recurring flashbacks may also contribute to a diagnosis of depression, panic disorder or even post-traumatic stress disorder if flashbacks are severe enough and do not respond to anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications.
We approach an LSD addiction just like any other addiction — that is, with compassion, empathy and a personalized addiction program designed to address a client’s unique needs. Recovery from an LSD addiction at Synergy begins with an intake evaluation of a client’s mental and physical health.
Clients then begin intense psychotherapy with caring addiction counselors who involve the client in a series of in-depth discussions regarding why the client began using LSD, how addiction is a disease and not a choice and ways a client can avoid relapsing in the future. If undiagnosed mental health issues are discovered during intake and ongoing treatment, we will also provide all of the necessary referrals.
Synergy’s LSD addiction rehab center in Bakersfield, CA has aftercare recovery programs such as group support meetings and 12-step programs to help clients maintain their sobriety following completion of their LSD addiction program.
We also offer intensive outpatient treatment for long-term LSD addicts that includes classroom-style education about addiction, counseling sessions and appointments with our staff of addiction therapists and doctors.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an LSD addiction, please call our center today at 661-878-9930 to speak to someone who can help you or a loved one start down the road to recovery.