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LSD (acid) and mental health

3-minute read

LSD is a powerful drug that changes users’ perception of reality. People who use LSD have ‘trips’, where their experience of reality is distorted. Trips can be enjoyable or can be very frightening. LSD is an illicit drug, and is very dangerous if taken with other drugs.

Read more about the physical effects of LSD.

LSD effects

People who take LSD can feel overjoyed and excited, but they can also feel paranoid and have hallucinations, where they hear and see things that aren’t real.

The effects start about an hour after taking LSD. Nobody can predict whether they will have a good or bad trip, or how intense the experience will be. It depends on their mood, their mental state and where they are taking it.

A bad trip can involve terrifying hallucinations. People on a bad trip can misjudge dangerous situations and do things they would not normally do, like try to fly or try to kill themselves. ReachOut.com has some tips on how to help a person having a bad trip.

Trips can last up to 24 hours. Coming down from a trip takes a few days. People who are coming down often feel anxious and depressed. Some have panic attacks. Find out more about LSD effects on the Alcohol and Drug Foundation and ReachOut.com websites.

Mental health issues

Regular users eventually experience flashbacks, sometimes weeks, months or years after kicking the habit. These flashbacks only last for a couple of minutes but can still be disturbing.

LSD can trigger or worsen mental health problems like depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Regular users also are more likely to have social, work and financial problems.

Not sure what to do next?

If you or someone you know are finding it difficult to manage mental health issues as a result of drug use, try healthdirect’s Symptom Checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Find out more about so called party drugs, including where to find help and support.

Kicking the habit

Long-term use can lead to psychological dependence. It can be hard to come off, as withdrawal symptoms include cravings, tiredness, irritability and not feeling much pleasure.

Find help on the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website.

You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14, DrugInfo on 1300 85 85 84 or the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015 if you need to talk to someone about drugs.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2019

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