LSD Withdrawal and Detox

hand holding small bottle of liquid lsd

Article Overview:

  • Long-term use of LSD does not result in physical dependence like other psychoactive substances, such as cocaine or heroin.
  • Long-term use, however, may result in psychological dependence, and withdrawal symptoms may occur in these cases.
  • These symptoms generally involve psychological symptoms like restlessness, anxiety and cravings.
  • Long-term LSD intake can produce persistent effects involving psychosis and frightening flashbacks. Medicinal and behavioral approaches can help relieve these symptoms
  • Treatment at a medical detox may be necessary in cases involving severe withdrawal symptoms or the persistent effects of LSD use.

Understanding LSD Withdrawal and Detox

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a synthetic psychoactive drug that is used for its hallucinogenic properties. Many kinds of psychoactive drugs (like cocaine and heroin) can cause physical dependence, which is characterized by the need to use the drug to function normally. With these drugs, stopping use can cause withdrawal symptoms as the body adjusts to the absence of the drug.

People who use do not develop a physical dependence or addiction to the drug. Because of this, people who use LSD do not usually show withdrawal symptoms. However, LSD users may develop a psychological dependence and suffer from psychological withdrawal symptoms. Psychological dependence causes people to believe they need the drug in order to function. Treatment at a detox facility may be necessary for severe withdrawal symptoms, which are rare.

LSD Withdrawal Symptoms

Though LSD use does not lead to physical dependence or withdrawal, it may lead to psychological dependence. Psychological symptoms of LSD withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Stress
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty concentrating

The effects of LSD withdrawal are generally mild and resolve by themselves in two to three days.

The long-term effects of using LSD include Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). Though it is relatively rare, HPPD involves flashbacks of frightening delusions and hallucinations experienced during drug use. These can occur for weeks and months after ending LSD use. Although these flashbacks are not a part of withdrawal symptoms, people with HPPD may benefit from medication and behavioral therapies.

In addition to HPPD, some people may also experience psychotic symptoms involving confusion, paranoia and mood changes due to LSD use. These symptoms may persist even after abstinence from LSD.

LSD Withdrawal Treatment and Detox

LSD does not generally produce withdrawal symptoms but may involve some of the psychological symptoms described above. Currently, there is limited research about the occurrence of psychological symptoms due to LSD withdrawal. Due to the possibility of these symptoms, however, detoxification from LSD should be undertaken in a calm and safe environment.

Medical Detox

Medical detox involves 24/7 treatment and supervision provided by medical staff. Though medical detox is unnecessary in most cases, severe cases of LSD dependence may call for treatment with behavioral therapy and medications benzodiazepines.

LSD remains detectable in the urine for about three days but may last longer depending on the duration of intake and person’s metabolism. LSD withdrawal symptoms also last for two to three days, and treatment at a detox facility for a similar time may be necessary.

Treatment at an inpatient or outpatient clinic may also be helpful for persistent symptoms of LSD use, such as HPPD. Antidepressants and antipsychotics can be effective in treating psychotic symptoms. Behavioral therapies or counseling may also help people cope with psychological disturbances that can come from frightening visual flashbacks.

Finding a Detox Center in Ohio

Many treatment facilities provide similar services, so it can be difficult to choose a particular one.  It may be helpful to seek advice from a medical professional while seeking treatment at a detox center. Detox centers should provide individualized treatment because withdrawal symptoms tend to differ depending on a person’s drug use history. The treatment should also be provided by accredited and experienced medical staff.

Treatment at a detox facility can be expensive, and potential patients should ensure that treatment at a particular facility is covered under their health insurance plan. Facilities that provide both detoxification and rehabilitation can be useful since attending rehab immediately after detox can reduce the chances of relapse. This link provides a list of detox and rehab facilities in Ohio and throughout the country.

If you or a loved one suffers from a substance use disorder, The Recovery Village Columbus can help. Our accredited, experienced medical professionals provide evidence-based treatment for drug addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Contact us today to learn about treatment programs that can work well for your situation.


Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Columbus aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.