LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a well-known hallucinogenic drug discovered in the 1930s and then widely used during the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Many people mistakenly believe the drug is safe to take, even on a regular basis, but LSD leads to some serious side effects, dependency and even psychological addiction.
Sex and Gender Differences for LSD Use
Hallucinogens and other drugs that change mental perception and awareness are particularly dangerous for women. Women often have lower body weight than men, so smaller amounts of LSD go further when a woman takes these drugs. Also, the mind-altered state a woman experiences on LSD and other drugs leads to possible dangerous situations and circumstances that create trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder or other serious problems. Women who take drugs give unique reasons for using them, including using them for weight loss, to fight extreme fatigue, cope with pain and self-treat mental health problems.
A 2003 study of young women ages 14 to 26 shows women who use LSD are more likely to be white, younger than 18, report a history of physical abuse and experience depression. Women who either use LSD or marijuana also are likely to report getting drunk at least 10 times over the past year, smoke at least half a pack of cigarettes and describe themselves as a sexual risk taker.
For some women, LSD dependence begins with a desire to feel better or escape reality for a little while. Over time, the need for higher amounts of the drug to feel the same effects (known as tolerance) leads to dangerous levels of LSD use. In addition, anyone who uses LSD is at risk of experiencing flashbacks or worsening an existing mental health condition. Flashbacks occur as soon as one day after stopping LSD use or after more than a year. When a flashback happens, the person experiences hallucinations and other visual disturbances.
Consequences of LSD Use
Because LSD is often combined with other drugs and purchased through dealers who offer different combinations of drugs, an LSD addiction may go along with multiple substance addictions. On the black market, LSD may be laced with other chemicals or include substitutions such as amphetamines, PCP (phencyclidine) or strychnine (strong stimulant used in rat poison). People who use LSD may develop mental health disorders, including persistent psychosis, or experience serious injury due to actions they take while hallucinating. Users who develop persistent psychosis experience paranoia, mood changes, visual disturbances, and disorganized thinking.
Treating LSD Addiction
LSD is not physically addictive, but it can produce a psychological addiction. A woman who abuses the drug benefits from the social and mental support available at an addiction treatment facility. For some women, an LSD addiction goes along with a mental health disorder, giving her a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is common, because many people who suffer with addiction also experience disorders like depression, anxiety and trauma. Facilities that offer dual diagnosis care have integrated treatment plans that treat all conditions at the same time.
Dual diagnosis treatment for women includes several benefits:
- Treatment for LSD addiction and other addictive drugs, behaviors and substances
- Counseling to understand the root of the addiction
- Specialty psychiatry services to help with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or other stressors Trauma or specialty treatment (such as eating disorder treatment) as needed
- Medically-supervised detoxification services
- Family addiction counseling
- Aftercare to help monitor and recognize relapse risks, so that relapse is treated immediately or even before it occurs
Getting the right care gives women the ability to effectively manage a LSD addiction and improve their quality of life.
LSD Addiction Rehabilitation
Many women begin abusing substances in order to cope with painful emotions or experiences. For some, LSD offers a welcome respite from anxiety or pain. However, it also leads to health problems, frightening LSD flashbacks, unsafe situations, family conflict and even job loss or arrest.LSD use or dependency on other drugs isn’t worth the incredibly high cost to your life, your family and your happiness. We offer a toll-free helpline that puts you in touch with our admissions coordinators with information about a wide variety of addiction treatment programs – even programs that work with your insurance provider. Call us now and find out how we can help you.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2015). Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Use. Drug Facts: Substance Use in Women. Retrieved July 18, 2016 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-women.
 Rickert, V.I.; Siqueira L.M.; Dale T.; and Wiemann C.M. (2003). Prevalence and risk factors for LSD use among young women. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. Retrieved July 18, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12742139.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What are hallucinogens? Drug Facts. Retrieved July 18, 2016 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens.
 Sussman, Steve and Ames, Susan L. (2001). The Social Psychology of Drug Abuse. Retrieved July 17, 2016 from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Steve_Sussman/publication/266497797_The_social_psychology_of_drug_abuse/links/546050ce0cf2c1a63bfdc588.pdf.