LSD: Treatment and rehabilitation

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 4:56 pm

Fortunately, LSD is not a drug typically associated with long-term abuse. It does not cause physical dependence or addiction, and even psychological dependence appears to be short-lived in most people. Among users, the drug is usually saved for special occasions because taking it more than three or four times over a few days can lead to a tolerance that stops the drug from having any effect. Even those who take LSD regularly usually stop on their own after a few months or years. LSD is rarely taken by anyone after their high school or college years. People usually stop taking LSD because of bad trips or because they have simply had enough of the very intense experience.
Treatment for LSD is sometimes required for its negative short- and long-term effects, however. The most common reason for requiring medical attention after taking LSD is for a bad trip. People having a bad LSD trip can usually be talked down by a trusted person, who calmly explains that the drug taker is safe, that the hallucinations are not real, and that the effects are temporary.
In general, medical personnel avoid giving people on LSD any medication because they cannot be sure what the person has taken, and some of the drugs that might be helpful interact dangerously with street drugs. Left in a quiet room with as little stimulation as possible and with a trusted person to watch over them, people having a bad trip usually settle down and experience lessening of negative effects. However, people who are out of control on high doses of LSD may, in rare cases, require a tranquilizer, such as Valium (diazepam) to calm down. In very rare cases, doctors may give such a person an antipsychotic medication, which is the type of drug given to people with psychosis. Some antipsychotics block the effect of LSD on the brain.
Another reason LSD users sometimes require medical attention is because of flashbacks. There is no way to block flashbacks, so the best way to treat them is to help teach the individual how to cope with them. This involves explaining that the flashbacks are not dangerous or a sign of brain damage, and that the effects usually go away on their own quite quickly. Sometimes, people require psychotherapy to help them overcome the fear associated with flashbacks.
A third reason LSD users might require medical attention is when they develop LSD psychosis. As mentioned earlier, regardless of the underlying cause of psychosis, the best treatment appears to be the same as that used for people who have similar mental health problems not related to taking LSD. So, a person with psychosis following an LSD trip generally responds as well to antipsychotic therapy as a person who develops psychosis without taking LSD does.

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