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
Disordered or disorganized thinking
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
Development of depression or anxiety
Changes in sleep patterns
Thoughts of suicide
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
High blood pressure
Anxiety or panic attacks
Inability to sit still
Higher body temperature
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
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 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:
- Tips for Choosing a Detox Center
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
Key Points: Understanding LSD Withdrawal and Detox
Key points to remember about LSD withdrawal and detox include:
- 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
Do you or a loved one struggle with an addiction to hallucinogenic drugs or any other substance? If so, The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health can help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment plans and programs that can work well for your situation.
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.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.