According to Brown University, “Addiction to hallucinogens is rare, although poly-drug addicts (people who are addicted to several drugs) frequently abuse hallucinogens as well.” LSD is one of several hallucinogens that does not cause drug-seeking behavior at all on its own and is, therefore, considered to be non-addictive. In some instances, though, treatment may be necessary nevertheless.
Why Isn’t LSD Addictive?
LSD is not considered to be an addictive drug for several reasons:
- It does not cause drug-seeking behavior, partially because the drug’s effects have a long duration that keeps users from attempting to obtain it on a rapid basis.
- Tolerance to the drug develops very quickly so those who use it have no reason to use it repeatedly.
- The adverse effects that can come at any time during the use of the drug often “lead to erratic use of LSD,” according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research.
- The hallucinations created by the drug can be so powerful that they can cause users to abstain from it for a prolonged period of time in order to reorient themselves.
For these reasons, a person who uses LSD specifically will not participate in the kind of behavior that normally leads to addiction, nor does the drug cause the changes in the brain that lead to this issue as well. A person will, normally, not require treatment in order to stop LSD abuse alone; however, this does not mean treatment is completely unnecessary.
How Should LSD Abuse Be Treated?
Because the drug does not cause addiction in a traditional sense, different issues must be addressed when a frequent LSD abuser begins to attend treatment.
- It should be determined whether or not the person is abusing other dangerous or illicit drugs and if these substances have already caused an addiction syndrome. If this is true, the individual will likely be labeled as a poly-drug abuser, and any and all drugs they use (as well as other comorbid disorders) must be addressed in order for them to be treated successfully.
- The individual should also be checked for the other dangerous, long-term consequences of LSD abuse. Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (or HPPD) and persistent psychosis are two serious conditions that can be caused by LSD abuse. They were once thought to only be issues created by long-term abuse of the drug, but both have been found to frequently occur together and even in those with no history of mental illness and/or who have only abused hallucinogens a few times.
- The individual will require intensive therapeutic treatment as well as access to mood stabilizing medications, if necessary. Once every aspect of the individual’s condition is identified and treated appropriately, the patient can begin to heal.
The LSD abuse syndrome is treated very differently than those associated with other drugs of abuse, but normally, a person will not become addicted to LSD. However, their physical and mental state must be assessed and any other substance use disorders they are struggling with should also be treated in order for the individual to safely recover from their LSD use. If you have more questions about hallucinogens or want to find a rehab program near you, call 800-592-1193.
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