After LSD first appeared back in the 1960s, it quickly found a home among counterculture types looking to “turn on, tune in and drop out.” The surreal, psychedelic landscapes revealed under the influence of this man-made hallucinogen promised an escape from the boring and the mundane, and many rebellious youth were convinced LSD could help them break away from social repression by opening the door to alternate realities.
But this association of LSD with freedom and liberation was always a little odd, considering the drug was originally used by the CIA and the military in mind control experiments designed to produce robotic assassins with no will of their own. That may seem like a bizarre idea, but the reality-warping capacities of LSD are powerful enough to turn even the sharpest mind into a blank slate, incapable of preserving its self-control or autonomy.
How LSD Works
LSD works by disrupting the natural operation of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter involved in behavior, sensory perception and the functioning of the autonomic nervous system. It is best known for its ability to cause intense and fantastic hallucinations, which are equally likely to be mesmerizing or terrifying. But this is not the only psychophysical response associated with LSD consumption.
Side-Effects Of LSD Use
The drug can also cause:
- rapid heartbeat
- high blood pressure
- extreme anxiety
- irrational behavior
Long-Term Effects Of LSD
Over the long term, repeated use of LSD can cause depression, psychosis, panic attacks, impaired memory and concentration, and flashbacks to past experiences that can continue to plague former users for months or even years.
LSD is of course infamous for its “bad trips,” which are like living nightmares for those unfortunate enough to experience them. Death by overdose is not much of a risk, but suicides under the influence of LSD are more common than users realize.
Teen LSD Abuse By The Numbers
While LSD is no longer mentioned among the list of substances that pose the greatest risk to adolescents, the drug is still around and should not be forgotten or ignored. The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s most recent Monitoring the Future publication reports that 3.9 percent of all 12th graders, 2.7 percent of all 10th graders and 1.4 percent of all 8th graders have taken LSD at least once. Furthermore, more than 60 percent of each group has used it within the last year. There has been a slight decrease in the numbers of adolescents who have tried LSD since 2010, but this change has been small and probably does not represent any sort of trend.
But LSD is not the only hallucinogen out there. Monitoring the Future statistics show that 2.5 percent of 8th graders, 5.4 percent of 10th graders and 7.6 percent of high school seniors have used another hallucinogen at some point. So it is clear that hallucinogens in general are still somewhat in demand among youth, which could boost the likelihood of an LSD comeback. Most of these other drugs are harvested from nature and are not synthetic, but there is certainly the risk that LSD might ride the coattails of substances like peyote or psilocybin and possibly return to popularity if it gains a reputation as “just another hallucinogen.”
But LSD is not just another hallucinogen. It is highly concentrated and much more powerful than naturally occurring variations. Teens who get the idea that LSD is no different from magic mushrooms could be setting themselves up for big trouble. There are about 5,000 visits to emergency rooms in the United States annually related to LSD consumption, and those numbers could skyrocket if young people decide to resurrect the drug because hallucinogens have become the new “in-thing.”
LSD’s Strong Risk Of Psychological Dependence
LSD is not necessarily physically addictive and does not have the severe toxic effects of most other illicit drugs. But drug addiction always has a powerful psychological component, and LSD’s mind-warping capacities undoubtedly make the risk of psychological dependence very real. This drug works by stripping away the user’s connection to reality, replacing it with a simulated construct that emerges from an unleashed imagination. Unfortunately, continuous consumption of LSD can make this shift into virtual reality permanent, and serious psychological problems can result from compulsive LSD use.
Professional Treatment Needed For LSD Dependency
Treatment for teens suffering from an LSD dependency can help prevent a total psychological and emotional breakdown. Things will not get this bad in every instance, but LSD is a powerful substance that can have a profoundly negative effect on young people who see it as a safe alternative to so-called harder drugs like cocaine or heroin.
Teens using LSD regularly need a professional evaluation before a decision about treatment can be made. But if indeed such treatment is required, a young person pushed to the edge of sanity through a dangerous flirtation with LSD can be brought back from the brink.
Need Help? – Call Us Now To Talk To A Right Step Teen Rehab Advisor