Acid Addiction Help & Treatment
Acid is one of the street names for lysergic acid diethylamide. It can also be referred to as lucy, stars, blotter, cheer, hawk, drop, dots, lightning flash, rainbows, paper mushrooms, liquid acid, L, flash, tab, trips, and various other nicknames.
Acid often presents as small paper squares featuring images, but it can also be sold in small pellets or in liquid form. When it comes in paper form, it often has the taste of paper, but liquid LSD is tasteless.
In terms of how acid is consumed, it is usually dropped onto food, drink, or the tongue when in liquid form. The pellets are swallowed.
Why is Acid Dangerous?
Acid is dangerous as it is a strong psychedelic drug. This means it can alter the user’s perception of reality and cause them to engage in risky behaviour as a result. Some users even experience powerful hallucinations that can drive them to behave dangerously.
When someone takes acid, the effects kick in quickly. It usually takes up to half an hour for the symptoms to show, and they can then last for a further 20 hours.
There are some long-term symptoms that occur as a result of severe LSD abuse, and they can last for years.
Furthermore, most people build a tolerance to acid quickly. This may cause them to take larger doses to feel the same effects, which can be very dangerous
What are the Statistics For Acid Use?
A University of Michigan Monitoring For the Future survey revealed that over 8% of high school seniors had used acid at least once in their life, and 4% had used it within the past year (1).
In the UK, acid use is much less common. Only around 0.4% of young people have ever taken acid, yet this figure is rising annually by 40% (2).
The European figures are somewhere in the middle, with 4.2% of people aged between 15-24 admitting to using the drug at least once (3).
What is the Difference Between Dependence and Addiction?
On the other hand, addiction occurs when the reliance on the substance is impacting the user’s everyday life, including their relationships, work, and health. They will experience psychological symptoms as well as physical ones.
Perhaps surprisingly, acid is classed as a non-addictive drug. It has a strong, long-lasting effect on the body, which means people are less likely to take it compulsively.
However, people may crave the high that comes with consuming LSD, so they can end up taking it regularly for this reason.
What’s more, if they are addicted to other drugs, it is more likely that they will use LSD compulsively.
What are the Physical Symptoms Of Acid Addiction?
Some physical symptoms of acid addiction are:
- High blood sugar
- High heart rate
- High temperature
- Pupil dilation
- A reduction in appetite
- Jaw clenching
- Mouth dryness
- and Excessive sweating.
Not everyone responds to acid in the same way, so some people will experience minimal or no negative physical symptoms, whereas others will suffer from plenty of them.
What are the Psychological Symptoms Of Acid Addiction?
If you take acid, you may experience any of the following psychological symptoms:
- Intense joy
- Suicidal ideation
- and an Afterglow (a maintained boost in the mood).
Acid also affects your perception of the world, so you may see colour differently, hear sounds differently, and taste food differently.
Why Do People Use Acid?
One reason that people use acid is that they want to experience the altered reality that comes with an acid trip. This may come from a place of pure curiosity, but it can also be a desire to escape reality and forget about one’s struggles.
Acid can also be taken in social settings to improve group bonding and encourage a shared experience of a trip. As we have mentioned, everyone is affected differently by this drug, so it is possible that some people will have very bad trips in group settings.
Some people use acid for spiritual reasons. They believe that they are more connected to the spiritual world when they are under the influence, and they may report experiencing different spiritual phenomena that they do not experience when sober.
Finally, some people take acid as a way to self-medicate for mental health conditions e.g., anxiety. If they are struggling with intense anxiety, they may be able to get a break from this when they use acid, so it may become their go-to coping mechanism.
How Can Acid Addiction Change Your Life?
Firstly, if you become dependent on acid as a way to escape reality, it may make reality harder to deal with. When you come down from a high, you may struggle with the negative emotions that come back.
You may also be less inclined to explore healthy coping mechanisms if you become attached to acid use as a way to manage your mental health problems.
Secondly, addiction to acid can affect your relationships. If you are constantly craving the high of a trip, you are likely to prioritise this over your friends and family. This may cause you to isolate yourself from them, especially if you believe they would disapprove of your drug use.
Finally, acid consumption can actually trigger a mental health condition to develop in some people. This means someone could go from experiencing no mental health problems to experiencing a severe problem, such as schizophrenia.
One condition that is linked to acid use is Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). Individuals with this condition will experience the symptoms of an acid trip days after consuming the drug, and this can be unsettling.
They may struggle to read, see glowing halos around objects, or have trouble distinguishing between different colours. It goes without saying that this interrupts their everyday life, particularly if they are working.
It can also cause anxiety as they are not experiencing the world as they usually would, which is disconcerting.
Therapy For Acid Addiction
As it is rare for someone to be addicted to LSD, there are not many therapies that we can directly link to this specific drug addiction.
However, if someone is reliant on LSD to escape reality or numb their emotions, they would benefit from talking to a therapist about how to manage their day-to-day life without relying on substances.
Counselling is sufficient for some people, as they need to be able to talk to a professional about their problems without facing harsh judgement.
This gives them the opportunity to analyse their behaviours and make sensible changes rather than immediately jumping to shaming themselves.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) can also be very helpful for people with an acid addiction, especially if they are dealing with HPPD. This is because EMDR targets trauma and encourages the client to reprocess trauma in order to deal with it in a healthy way.
EMDR could help patients to reprocess their experiences with acid rather than repressing them, which could decrease the likelihood of flashbacks in the future.
Detoxing For Acid Addiction
When you detox from acid, you are less likely to experience severe physical withdrawal symptoms as you would with certain substances. This means that acid is one of the least challenging drugs to withdraw from in terms of how the body handles the absence of the substance.
However, the psychological effects of detoxing from acid can be extremely challenging for the patient. They may feel very depressed and anxious without the acid in their system. Fortunately, they may be prescribed medication to manage this, which can make the detox easier to handle.
Something to remember with acid detoxing is that the side effects can affect you for a long time after the initial detox.
The short-term symptoms should be gone after the first week, but occasionally, some patients experience symptoms months or years after giving up LSD.
Helping a Loved One With Acid Addiction
Our top tip for helping your loved one with an acid addiction is to remember that you are not responsible for getting them treatment. This does not mean that you should not be determined to point them in the right direction or to be as supportive as possible.
However, what it does mean is that you should not be too critical of yourself if your loved one continues to use acid despite your disapproval. This is because it is extremely difficult to recover from addiction, so it is not unusual for people to choose that lifestyle over a sober lifestyle.
It is also tricky for people to accept that they are struggling with acid addiction, so your loved one may be defensive when you bring up the issue. They may feel ashamed of their problem, which causes them to hide it away, or they may even be in denial about it if they are still managing to hold down relationships or go to work.
The best thing you can do once you have shown concern is to make it clear that you still love them, and that you are willing to find treatment if they ever change their mind. It is generally better to approach the subject gently going forward, otherwise, your loved one could become even more defensive.
That being said, if their addiction is negatively affecting your life in a big way, you may make the decision to distance yourself. This may apply if they are trying to get you to buy the substance for them, they are stealing from you to fund their habit, or they are showing up to events under the influence.
Sometimes, people decide to stage an intervention to convince a family member to get sober. Again, their approach would be their choice. You can be very gentle and supportive, and state that you will be there for the family member no matter what. Alternatively, you can be harsh and give them an ultimatum that means you will not stick by them if they do not get sober.
There are different opinions about which approach works best. At Rehab Recovery, we believe in the disease model of addiction, so we would generally encourage you to avoid giving an ultimatum when it comes to acid addiction.
This is because we believe it is not the individual’s fault for being addicted, and if they believe they are at fault, they may end up suffering mentally even more than they already are. Unconditional support goes a long way in encouraging people to seek treatment, provided that there is no enabling behaviour.
Enabling would look like pretending the drug use isn’t happening, providing your loved one with drugs, offering money to your loved one knowing that they will use it to fund their addiction, and lying on behalf of them in order to protect them from the natural consequences of their behaviour.
What are My Treatment Options?
As we have discussed, you can have a detox and therapy for acid addiction. You could do this separately by having a home detox and then finding a private or NHS therapist for your substance abuse problem.
Another option is to have the detox and therapy together at a rehab facility, either on an inpatient or outpatient basis. You would begin the detox at the start of your treatment, and then you would have therapy until the end of your stay.
However, it would be recommended that you continued with therapy on a long-term basis after completing rehab treatment.
If you are interested in having detox and therapy in the near future, get in touch with us and we will help you to find a treatment centre that offers this. Some facilities allow you to have just the detox or just therapy, and this would be more affordable, but it would be less effective in most cases.
Don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 088 66 86 for a consultation that will help you to decide which form of treatment would be ideal for you.
 LSD Fast Facts https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs4/4260/index.htm
 Ecstasy and LSD use reaches new high among young https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/23/ecstasy-and-lsd-use-reaches-new-high-among-young
 INTERNATIONAL STATISTICS https://www.drugfreeworld.org/course/lesson/the-truth-about-lsd/international-statistics.html
 Dependence vs Addiction: What’s the Difference? https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/addiction-treatment-recovery/dependence-versus-addiction