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LSD Withdrawal and Detox

Written by Jonathan Strum

& Medically Reviewed by Dr. Bonnie Bullock, PHD

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Last Updated - 03/10/2022

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Updated 03/10/2022

Key Takeaways

  • LSD withdrawal and detox is more psychological than physical, but it can still be as challenging as physical withdrawal
  • LSD use can have long-term effects on a person’s brain and ability to function
  • People can develop tolerance to LSD and other hallucinogens
  • There are multiple options for detoxing from LSD
  • The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health offers comprehensive care and numerous detox options for LSD addiction

It is possible to experience withdrawal from LSD, a hallucinogenic drug. Learn more about the typical symptoms of LSD withdrawal as well as different options for detoxing from this drug.

LSD (acid) withdrawal effects are different than those seen with withdrawal from drugs like opioids or benzodiazepines. The severity of LSD withdrawal is difficult to predict, as this drug’s withdrawal symptoms are more psychological than physical. However, psychological withdrawal can be just as mentally and physically challenging as physical withdrawal. Because of this, LSD detox can still be beneficial for some people — especially those who need frequent medical support.

LSD Withdrawal Symptoms

Though LSD is not considered a highly addictive drug, it is possible for some people to experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Many of these symptoms are forms of psychological distress rather than physical withdrawal symptoms. Namely, LSD can lead to anxiety during or after use.

Even worse, LSD and psychosis are linked. Though extremely rare, an individual may experience persistent psychosis or hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPDD) after using LSD. Typical symptoms of persistent psychosis and HPDD include:

  • Persistent Psychosis and HPDD Symptoms
    Mental confusion Disordered or disorganized thinking Visual disturbances Paranoia Long-term mood changes Flashbacks occurring a few days or up to a year after taking LSD  

For individuals who developed a tolerance to LSD, psychological withdrawal symptoms may be even more intense and can lead to tolerance of other hallucinogens.

How Long Does LSD Stay in Your System?

While LSD’s half-life is approximately 5 hours, the effects can last nearly 12 hours or longer. The maximal concentration of LSD in a person’s body typically occurs about 1.5 hours after taking a single dose. LSD is difficult to detect in a person’s system after about 24 hours because the drug is mostly excreted as metabolites in the urine.

Some long-lasting effects of LSD may include:

  • LSD Long-Term Effects
    Social anxiety Development of depression or anxiety Changes in sleep patterns Thoughts of suicide Flashbacks Persistent psychosis Development of other mood disorders Depersonalization or derealization Problems with memory  

LSD Withdrawal Timeline

Acid withdrawal may be slightly different for each person. Though there is not an exact list of LSD withdrawal symptoms, there are still some potentially uncomfortable LSD comedown effects. Because LSD has an effect on brain chemistry and functioning, there are both physical and psychological effects associated with LSD use. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • LSD Side Effects
    Nausea and vomiting Fast heartbeat High blood pressure Sweating Anxiety or panic attacks Inability to sit still Higher body temperature Dry mouth Inability to normally function Drastic changes in perception  

Typical effects of LSD appear around an hour after ingesting LSD and may last for 12 hours. Psychological withdrawal can begin after the effects of LSD start to wear off, which is about eight hours after taking the drug. Since it takes about 24 hours before the drug is virtually undetectable in a person’s system, more severe psychological withdrawal is likely to occur at least a day after a person’s last dose.

Factors Affecting LSD Withdrawal

There are many factors that can affect psychological LSD withdrawal, including the LSD dosage and whether a person has developed a tolerance to LSD. For people who may be abusing LSD, factors affecting withdrawal can include:

  • LSD Withdrawal Factors
    A person’s height and weight A person’s age A person’s metabolism The function of a person’s liver The frequency of LSD usage The dose of LSD taken Co-occurring mental health conditions Polysubstance misuse  

LSD Detox

If a person has developed a tolerance to LSD or experiences frequent acid flashbacks, it may be time to think about detoxing. If a person just wants to feel supported and have help when detoxing from LSD, they can also opt for medical detox. For people who use LSD and have been diagnosed with a mental illness, seeking medical care at a facility is a good way to begin recovery.

Some potential hallucinogen detox options include:

  • Medical Detox
    A medical detox occurs at a medical facility under the supervision of trained medical professionals and addiction specialists. There are many medical drug detox options in Florida that offer counseling for the negative psychological symptoms associated with LSD use.  
  • Medication-Assisted Detox
    Medication-assisted detox is when a patient takes prescribed medication during the withdrawal and detoxification process. A person experiencing a negative reaction to LSD may be prescribed a sedative or benzodiazepine to alleviate anxiety, or they may be prescribed antipsychotic medications.  
  • Outpatient Detox
    Outpatient detox can be beneficial for people who have built up a tolerance to LSD and have decided that they need longer-term care. Outpatient detox at The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health involves counseling and therapy approaches to address the underlying causes of LSD addiction after the initial detox process.  

Finding a Detox Center

There are many detox and addiction treatment centers in South Florida. When looking for an LSD detox facility, people should:

  • Write a list of pros and cons for each detox facility
  • Assess long-term versus short-term goals
  • Weigh the importance of location, cost, and amenities Determine whether health insurance can help pay for LSD detox
  • See if the facility specializes in addiction to hallucinogens Assess how respectful, efficient and kind staff members are after a tour of the facility
  • See what types of alternative addiction therapies are offered, particularly for treating psychological addictions

View Sources

Dolder, P., et al. “Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in Healthy Subjects.” Clinical Pharmacokinetics, October 2017. Accessed October 28, 2019.

Klette, K.L., et al. “Metabolism of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) to 2-Oxo-3-Hydroxy LSD (O-H-LSD)in Human Liver Microsomes and Cryopreserved Human Hepatocytes.” Oxford Academic, October 1, 2000. Accessed October 28, 2019.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What Are Hallucinogens?” April 2019. Accessed October 28, 2019.

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