Can You Overdose on LSD?
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Francine Mends, MD on May 7, 2020
The short answer is, yes. You can overdose on LSD.
LSD is an illegal hallucinogen also known as acid. Though taking a high dose of this drug is not usually lethal, it can still cause an overdose that comes with serious side effects.
Those side effects can include paranoia, intense anxiety, and even delusions. This is why you may need medical attention after taking a high dose of LSD and should call 911 right away. Here’s what else you should know about an LSD overdose.
Symptoms of LSD Overdose
A typical dose of LSD is 100 micrograms, which equals 0.1 milligrams. With this average dose, the physical effects you’ll likely feel include a higher body temperature, sweating, dilated pupils, faster heart rate, and weakness. You’ll also notice blurred vision, an inaccurate sense of time, a better sense of smell, altered sounds, and visual hallucinations. These are all fairly normal effects of a regular dose of LSD.
But if you take more than the average amount, you risk overdosing on LSD. This is often known as a bad trip, because at best it’s uncomfortable and not a good experience. In fact, the following are common side effects of an LSD overdose:
- Panic attacks
- Extreme anxiety
- Mood swings
If you don’t want to risk a bad trip that comes with most of these side effects, you should avoid taking LSD at all. This is because while there may be an average dose, there’s no telling what dose each person needs to avoid having a bad trip. It’s also hard to know exactly how potent a tab or pill of LSD is, so there’s no way to avoid the possibility of overdosing.
Serious Risks of LSD Overdose
An LSD overdose may not be deadly on its own, but it can be dangerous for many reasons. First, it’s hard to know what each person will do when faced with the terrifying thoughts, sights, and sounds that may come with an LSD trip. It’s possible you will hurt yourself accidentally, as your depth perception and senses are off. This makes it hard to even walk safely.
This is even more of a concern when it comes to the paranoia and delusions you might get with an overdose. Since an LSD overdose isn’t exactly pleasant or fun, there’s an even higher risk of making rash decisions. This could lead to you hurting yourself or killing yourself while you’re not in your right state of mind.
An additional concern with LSD is the possibility of serotonin syndrome. This occurs when you mix LSD with alcohol or other drugs that affect the amount of serotonin in your body, such as an SSRI for depression.
This could lead your body to release an excessive amount of serotonin. The results could include a fast heart rate, higher body temperature, change in blood pressure, and even death if you don’t get immediate treatment.
How to Seek Help If You or a Loved One Could Be Overdosing on LSD
Even though LSD overdose isn’t deadly in most cases, it’s still highly uncomfortable and should be avoided. And since it could cause serious side effects like paranoia and psychosis, it’s important to call an ambulance or go to an emergency room during an overdose of this drug. This is especially the case if the person may cause harm to themselves or others.
ER staff can typically calm down patients who are going through bad trips and can give any medical aid that’s necessary. At the very least, they can provide a safe environment until the patient comes down from the trip.
Get Treatment for Drug Abuse
LSD might not be physically addictive, but it’s still an illegal, recreational drug that you shouldn’t be in the habit of using. If you’re worried about an overdose—or have experienced one before—it’s time to get help from a treatment center.
When you get into rehab, you can get the treatment you need to stop relying on drugs like LSD. After all, the best way to ensure you don’t have a bad trip is to not take LSD at all. And a drug treatment center can help with this.
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