Can You Overdose on Acid?

LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide) is a hallucinogenic substance that alters the thoughts and perceptions of those who use it. When a person uses an excessive amount of LSD, he or she may experience terrifying hallucinations and feelings of panic.

But unlike alcohol or heroin, it does not appear to be possible to ingest a lethal amount. When a person experiences an “overdose” on acid, they are most likely suffering from what is generally known as a “bad trip.”

Signs and Symptoms of Acid Overdose

LSD, commonly known as Acid, is created in a lab, derived from a chemical in the ergot fungus. When consumed, Acid is usually swallowed or placed under the tongue using blotter paper. Less commonly, it can be found as tablets or gelatin squares.

Although it is less risky in comparison to many other substances, LSD is not without its hazards. Serious injury and death have befallen many people as an indirect result of LSD use. Indeed, accidents, self-mutilation, and even suicide have occurred during Acid trips, when users are often oblivious of their surroundings and what the consequences of their actions may be.

Common effects of LSD use include the following:

  • Distorted perception of time
  • Visual/auditory hallucinations
  • Synaesthesia, or mixed senses (e.g., “seeing” sounds)
  • Augmented senses of hearing and smell

Side effects of Acid may include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Blurred vision
  • Elevated body temperature

Repeated LSD use is particularly hazardous and can adversely affect a person’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior.

In contrast to some of these relatively minor symptoms, a bad trip experience may be extremely unpleasant. LSD users may encounter frightening alterations in their thoughts and moods, which places them at increased risk for a serious injury or death.

Some of the potentially adverse outcomes include:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Depersonalization
  • Paranoia
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Aggression and violence
  • Self-mutilation
  • Dying in an accident
  • Suicide

In one unfortunate case, in 1953, American bacteriologist and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee Dr. Frank Olsen, took a fatal leap from a window of a 13th story hotel in New York. Nine days earlier, at a meeting in Maryland, he was allegedly given a dose of LSD without his knowledge by his CIA supervisor. He was only 43 years old.

Although the triggering of psychosis and or suicide is relatively rare under the influence of Acid, it is undoubtedly a risk. This event is especially likely for those who have a history of mental illness, such as bipolar disorder.

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Risk Factors

The effects of Acid can be unpredictable, and it can be challenging to determine when a user might suffer from an overdose or bad trip. People who have used LSD repeatedly without any prior problems may suddenly experience a bad trip.

One hazard associated with chronic LSD use is that users can rapidly develop a tolerance for the drug. When someone first experiments with LSD, they are likely to experience the hallucinogenic effects quickly and intensely. However, upon repeated use, the body begins to increase its tolerance to the drug’s effects, and the person will need to use the drug in increasing amounts to achieve the same effects they once experienced.

If a person uses LSD long-term, it can also build their tolerance to other hallucinogens, such as PCP (Angel Dust). Unfortunately, this increasing tolerance can compel the person to use more drugs in an attempt to have a “good” trip. This problem is further complicated by the fact that it is difficult to regulate the dose of an illicit drug such as LSD, which can provide effects in the microgram range.

Of note, LSD is not generally considered to be chemically addictive. Users of LSD do not usually have drug cravings, and discontinuing the use of LSD does not result in symptoms of physical withdrawal.

What to Do in Case of an Acid Overdose

If you or someone you know uses LSD and experiences the aforementioned symptoms of an overdose, seek emergency medical help as soon as possible. Although an LSD overdose is rarely life-threatening in and of itself, swift intervention can help prevent accidental harm to the user and others.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

Although LSD does not appear to have a high potential for addiction, it can certainly be abused, and its effects can lead to dangerous circumstances. Acid is frequently used in combination with other substances, including other illegal drugs and alcohol. Some users have also reported developing a psychological or emotional dependence on LSD.

Any person abusing LSD or another substance should seek professional treatment as soon as possible. Recovery By The Sea offers evidence-based approaches for the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse, that include essential therapeutic services such as behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support.

We employ knowledgeable addiction professionals who provide our clients with the tools, skills, and long-term support they need to overcome addiction and reclaim normal, healthy lives.

We can help you restore your life to its potential and begin to enjoy the happiness you deserve! Call us today!

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