Teen LSD Abuse
Drugs are a powerful lure for impressionable teens, providing a way to escape from the stressors of reality. With hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, the psychedelic effects transcend the banalities of everyday life, providing an easy alternative to day to day stress.
For teens who want to experiment with drugs without the negative associations that can accompany harder substances, like heroin or cocaine, LSD seems like a harmless alternative. After all, it’s easy to obtain, easy to take, and has no long-term presence within the body. With an estimated half-life of two to five hours, any physical signs are gone by the next day, creating an experience that seems innocent and fun.
However, drugs like LSD are anything but consequence-free. Like all illegal drugs, one time is all it takes to kickstart a cycle of addiction. Frighteningly, over 10% of teens 12 and older will try LSD, indicating a common problem for high school students around the country.
If you suspect LSD usage in your teen, getting help is only a phone call away. At Teen Treatment Center, we are here to provide the support you need; from confidential consultations to inpatient detox services. Call today at (844) 319-5239 to get the help your teen deserves.
What Is LSD?
LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is a common psychedelic drug popularized in the 1960s and 1970s. The high from taking LSD is referred to as a trip, likely because the effects of LSD are otherworldly in nature, complete with visual and auditory hallucinations and disorienting, distorted experiences. Trips can last up to 12 hours, and there appears to be no real way to indicate the success of a trip. Some trips are highly pleasant, called “good trips,” while others are extremely negative and are referred to as “bad trips.” Once a trip begins, there’s no way to force it to end; the drug must run its course.
In its natural state, LSD is a colorless, odorless, and flavorless liquid. However, it is not usually taken this way. Instead, liquid LSD is usually added to small, colorful squares of absorbent ‘blotting’ paper that can then be dissolved on the tongue. LSD is occasionally added to blocks of sugar or gummy bears to provide an easier way to consume a dose.
LSD is known by other names, including acid, Lucy, blotters, tabs, and hits. It is related to other hallucinogenics, including psilocybin and peyote.
Effects of LSD
Like most drugs, LSD responds to brain chemistry in order to trigger pleasurable side effects. Taking LSD targets the HT2A receptors within the brain, in essence turning off the controls responsible for consciousness and understanding of reality. Onset is quick, often within an hour.
This impact to brain chemistry affects the pre-frontal cortex, leading to impulsiveness and childlike behavior that manifests in a manner similar to psychosis. When this happens, senses may “cross over,” so to speak, leading to perceptions like smelling color and hearing tastes. Some symptoms are similar to the behavior of schizophrenic patients.
Some former users use the term “acid flashbacks” to refer to moments of LSD-like effects that can arise decades after LSD use. While the reason for this is unknown, some scientists believe that contact between LSD chemicals and the spinal cord may be at fault.
Access to LSD
Unlike harder drugs, which can be harder for teens to procure, LSD is generally easily accessible. Many high school students know one or more dealers within their circles of friends or acquaintances.
LSD is also commonly sold in places where use is common, like clubs, raves, and music festivals. Should teens wish to begin using psychedelic drugs, a lack of availability is certainly not a factor. LSD is also a relatively affordable drug; each tab is often $5 to $10 each, offering an extended experience for less than the price of an average teen’s weekly allowance.
Signs of LSD Use
LSD is considered a Schedule I controlled substance, indicating a fast-acting, addictive drug with no health benefits.
Within moments of taking LSD, effects to the body begin. Common signs and symptoms of LSD include:
- Shaking and trembling
- Dilated pupils
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- High body temperature and sweating
- Loss of appetite
While intoxicated, teens may have an extremely hard time differentiating fact from fiction. Due to the changes to the senses, it may be hard to walk, talk, or behave normally. This makes activities like driving nearly impossible and very dangerous.
If your teen has been taking LSD, some or all of these signs and symptoms may be noticeable. Teens may also begin to exhibit drug-seeking behaviors as addiction sets in, leading to a consistent need to be high. These actions can include lying, stealing, borrowing money, disappearing for hours on end, and erratic behavior.
You may also find LSD in your child’s room, car, or backpack. LSD often looks like small pieces of papers with colorful patterns on them, like hears, stars, and swirls of colors. This paper will be in one large sheet with perforations or lines, or pre-cut into small pieces. These are known as LSD tabs or blotters and are far more dangerous than they appear.
What does LSD look like? It's often applied to an absorbant and sometimes dissolvable paper to be put on the tongue. Example of an 'LSD Blotter'
If you suspect your child of LSD use, seeking treatment should be your first priority. How you choose to go about this will depend on your child, the intensity of his use, and your interpersonal relationship. The first step is often a simple conversation: let your child know of your fears, provide your evidence, and ask for an explanation. Many children will come clean, admitting to use once or twice. Other children will deny use, and some may refuse to speak at all.
In some cases, your conversation will provide an insight into the depths of usage and the potential for addiction. A disinterest in talking combined with noticeable signs and symptoms may be indicative of a serious problem, warranting appointments with counselors or inpatient treatment.
At Teen Treatment Center, we are here to support you through your teen’s addiction. Our programs are comprehensive and designed with young adults in mind, offering a full suite of resources that can help you best help your teen. We are able to provide detox services, as well as other guidance, including:
- Individual counseling
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Academic support
- Court liaison services
- Recreational therapy
- Basic living skills
- Spiritual care
Despite the risks of extended use, LSD has no physical addictive component. Unlike both prescription and recreational varieties of opioids and other prescription-only drugs like barbiturates and benzodiazepines, brain chemistry does not adapt with long-term use. With this kind of drug, the main threat is psychological; after weeks, months, or years of enjoying the hallucinogenic effects of LSD, teens may be less interested in sober living.
Detoxification, more colloquially known as detox, can help teens to overcome this addiction, making it easier to return to a healthy life without drug use. At Teen Treatment Center, our inpatient detox services are designed to support a full recovery in LSD addicts, regardless of severity or duration of use.
By working with teens in a safe, secure environment, we are able to eliminate access to drugs in order to fully break the cycle of addiction. In addition to access to licensed doctors and nurses who can manage the withdrawal process, our facility also employs expert counselors and therapists trained in addiction psychology. While your teen is in rehab, he will have access to therapy that can target the root causes of LSD addiction, identifying drivers for use and the coping techniques that can be implemented instead. When rehabilitation is over, teens under our care learn how to take a mature, balanced approach to life that doesn’t require the use of drugs for self-medication.
The teenage years are fraught with insecurity, judgment, and pressure. Many teens begin using drugs because they feel influence from their friends, criticism from society, or stress from school. For many teens, romance and dating can only exacerbate the strain of coming of age, intensifying the need for coping mechanisms.
In order to facilitate treatment in a judgment-free, distraction-free, and hormone-free way, Teen Treatment Center prefers a gender-separate approach to therapy. We provide a safe space for teens that eliminates the distractions and stressors that can come with opposite sex interactions, guiding teens through treatment in an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.
(Read our 4 Reasons to Choose a Gender-specific Rehab to learn more)
Seek Treatment Today!
Experimentation is a natural part of young adulthood, but drug use can be the start of a slippery slope. If you notice signs of LSD use in your teen, it’s never too late to get help. Teen treatment Center boasts a full range of detox and rehab programs, placing young people in an age-appropriate environment dedicated to achieving long-term sobriety.
If you think treatment for LSD addiction is the right choice, we are here to help. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays, to offer support for families in need. Contact us today at (844) 319-5239 to explore what our center has in store.
Read more about hallucinogenics on our adult treatment page.
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