Author: James Anderson

LSD Toxicity: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology and Etiology

lsd overdose

Doses in this range are generally not considered “too much,” although they can still create unpleasant experiences. Most people characterize bad trips as having unpleasant effects, like paranoia, frightening imagery, sweating, psychosis, anxiety, and depression. Taking too much LSD is more likely to cause a bad trip, but plenty of people have bad trips at lower doses. Rehab centers offer evidence-based treatment approaches for people with substance abuse problems. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, teaches people how to modify problematic attitudes and behaviors that drive LSD use.

LSD causes changes in thought, mood, and perception, with minimal effects on memory and orientation. The drug primarily produces so-called pseudohallucinations, which are illusions derived from the misinterpretation of actual experiences. These include synesthesias, in which the transposition of certain sensory modes occurs, creating an experience known as sensory crossover . For example, the perception of a sound evoked by a visual image or the impression of hearing colors or feeling sounds would be considered a synesthesia.

  1. Five were comatose, while the others were “extremely hyperactive with severe visual and auditory hallucinations,” according to the report.
  2. Psychiatric conditions, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, should be considered in the differential.
  3. Eight individuals who accidentally consumed a very high dose of LSD had plasma levels of 1000–7000 μg per 100 mL blood plasma and suffered from comatose states, hyperthermia, vomiting, light gastric bleeding, and respiratory problems.
  4. In more complex cases, inpatient rehab treatment may be necessary to provide the safest environment that includes around-the-clock supervision.

LSD is an incredibly potent psychedelic drug that induces intense auditory and visual hallucinations. The strength of these effects is directly related to how much a person takes, and it only takes minuscule doses to create strong, long-lasting experiences. There is a fine line between taking too much and taking the right amount, and similar doses may have drastically different effects on different people.

One of the cases covered in Haden’s study was that of a 15-year-old girl with bipolar disorder. She was one of the 20 people who accidentally OD’d on acid at the summer solstice party in Canada. Her friends thought she was having a seizure and called an ambulance, although no one was sure if she was actually seizing, lost consciousness or was just lost in the overwhelming experience. While most substances like MDMA or cocaine are active at the milligram scale, the effects of lysergic acid diethylamide manifest at the microgram scale—or one millionth of a gram.

Can You Overdose on LSD?

An LSD overdose is more likely to affect a mental state than a physical one. It is not generally life-threatening; however, users may endanger themselves or close ones when overdosing. Only a few deaths occur due to a high intake of acid, as a user may have paranoid delusions, terrifying hallucinations, and long-term effects on mood or mental health. The genuine risk in association with acid use is the user’s actions while on it. The drug may not cause a user’s death due to toxicity; however, it may kill with its effects just the same.

lsd overdose

The intensity of a person’s addiction and the length of time they have abused acid or any other drugs will further help determine if inpatient or outpatient treatment is the best approach. Acid overdose can produce some extreme psychological effects on the user. One can feel strong hallucinations, neurotic delusions, and long-term shifts to mood or mental health. CB’s trip isn’t the most intense LSD overdose recorded or even the first time someone mistook LSD for cocaine.

Can You Become Addicted to LSD?

When the drug finally wore off another 10 hours later, CB felt normal, and her chronic pain had completely disappeared. For seven years she had been taking morphine every day to treat symptoms of Lyme disease. After her LSD overdose, not only had her pain evaporated, she felt no withdrawal symptoms from the opioids she had been taking. Although LSD is one of the most well-known illegal drugs, numerous drug analogs have been designed to offer many of the same effects as the substances currently outlawed by the government, and healthcare workers may have insufficient knowledge.

Education about current and past designer drugs may be of great benefit to those working in healthcare when the source of intoxication is under question or perceived to be unknown. That said, even small doses of LSD can cause some uncomfortable psychological and physical symptoms, though these typically aren’t a medical emergency or a sign of an overdose. While LSD overdoses are rare, it’s important to remember that drugs aren’t always accurately labeled or manufactured in a sterile environment. In other cases, they could be contaminated with something that has a higher chance of causing an overdose. First, it’s important not to confuse an overdose with a bad acid trip, which can present in a number of ways.

Separating an overdose from a bad experience

Three patients stopped breathing and needed to be put on ventilation machines. Other symptoms included diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding, blood clots and fever (the cocaine, which they had also taken, could have caused the bleeding). A trip can sometimes last 12 hours or more, pumping up heart rate, intensifying colors and sounds, and altering the perception of time. Because the LSD molecule, which mimics serotonin, has a “lid” that locks into serotonin receptors, it can remain there for hours. Some people experience a condition called HPPD after taking very large doses of LSD, which can cause recurring visual and auditory hallucinations lasting several months or years after the trip.

To lower the strength, drug droplets are often mixed with other substances such as absorbent paper like gelatin sheets. Our addiction treatment specialists are here to assist you in verifying your insurance coverage. Studies have shown that acid overdose appears primarily in adolescents and young adults. However, according to statistics, LSD overdose has been very low, with 97 percent of all students have never used them. Psychiatric conditions, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, should be considered in the differential.

True hallucinations occur as well; visual hallucinations are the most common. Almost half of the 287,000 people who abuse LSD in the United States, as per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2014), are between 18 and 25. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) posted that in 2011, almost 5,000 visits to emergency departments (EDs) in the United States were linked to an adverse mental and physical overdose effect on lysergic acid diethylamide. While there’s never been a recorded death from LSD directly, the authors estimated that a lethal dose of LSD would be around 14,000 micrograms. People do sometimes take too much of a psychedelic and stumble into traffic or out of a window. It’s also possible to die from overdosing on drugs like 25I-NBOMe, which often looks like acid blotter, but can be deadly, which underscores the importance of knowing what drug you are ingesting.

The police were called, and when the boy wasn’t responsive and appeared uncontrollable, police hogtied him in a restricted position at a juvenile detention center. Despite increasing calls for the decriminalization of lysergic acid diethylamide (aka LSD or acid) — not to mention increased acceptance of its therapeutic potential — myths about the popular psychedelic persist. The biggest risk of taking too much LSD is injuring yourself while under the influence, either accidentally or due to intrusive suicidal thoughts. Excessive vomiting and difficult breathing can also be dangerous but are usually manageable in a safe environment with a sober trip sitter nearby.

In his report, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Haden also includes the story of another individual at that infamous solstice party, a 26-year-old woman who only took half a glass (approximately 500 micrograms) of LSD. Yet she experienced no pregnancy complications and her son, now 18 years old, is a perfectly healthy bright young student. Around 10pm at a summer solstice party somewhere in Canada on June 20, 2000, about 20 people swallowed glasses of water mixed with the powerful psychedelic LSD. A decimal place error caused them to take about 10 times more of the drug than they thought they were getting. For the 12 hours that followed, they would ride out one of the most intense experiences of their lives, one that would change them forever.