LSD and Anxiety: How This Psychedelic Affects Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions. With so many people living with anxiety, there is a consistent interest in identifying new, effective treatments with minimal side effects.

One possible treatment is that has been explored by researchers is LSD, also referred to as acid. LSD is a that has been associated with being a possible treatment for any cause of anxiety. Since LSD was originally developed in 1938 there have been studies on the possible relationships between LSD and anxiety, in addition to other mental health conditions. Studies on the connection between LSD and anxiety have often been difficult to understand or contradictory.

Swiss researchers conducted a small-scale study in which individuals with anxiety were given LSD. The results found that those people who took LSD had a reduction in anxiety that lasted through a 12-month follow-up. However, this study does not definitively answer the question of “Does  LSD help anxiety?”.

The study on LSD for anxiety treatment used a very small number of people and all of the participants did not meet full criteria for an anxiety disorder. Another limitation of this study on LSD anxiety treatment was the relatively recent onset of anxiety. The participants had all developed anxiety after being diagnosed with potentially life-threatening health disorders—none had life-long experience of living with anxiety.

Taking large amounts of LSD or taking LSD very frequently can cause an addiction to form. The symptoms of addiction include anxiety about when the next high will come and fear of not having a sufficient supply of drugs.

Some studies have shown that people taking LSD to treat anxiety may experience increased anxiety. Some individuals may experience panic attacks for the first time after using LSD. Circumstances under which LSD is used may impact the outcomes as well. The difference between being in a calm, clinical setting with a trained therapist for support and taking LSD at home may cause significantly different outcomes.
For a person who already experiences anxiety, LSD may cause an increase in their anxiety level. Anxiety attacks may also result from the use of LSD  by people with pre-existing anxiety—even in people who had previously not experienced anxiety attacks. if someone is using LSD regularly they may wonder, “Can LSD cause anxiety?”.

Some studies have shown that LSD causing anxiety can depend on the type of “trip” experienced. A positive experience while under the effects of LSD may not cause any long-term mood disturbances. However, a negative experience on LSD may cause someone to experience anxiety that lasts after the LSD use.

Some key points to remember about Anxiety and LSD include:

  • There is no conclusive evidence that LSD can effectively reduce anxiety.
  • Taking LSD frequently or in large quantities can form an addiction.
  • LSD has the potential to increase anxiety.
  • Treatment for both anxiety and LSD addiction use should occur concurrently.

Whether someone is living with anxiety or using LSD, treating an anxiety disorder and co-occurring substance use disorder requires a trained professional. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction and a co-occurring mental health condition like anxiety, help is available at treatment centers across the country. The Recovery Village offers comprehensive treatment for substance use and co-occurring disorders. For more information about our care options, contact us today.

Dovey, D. (2018, August 06). New research suggests that LSD could be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety. Retrieved from https://www.newsweek.com/lsd-psychedelic-drugs-depression-anxiety-975402

FNP, K. D. (2017, June 22). LSD: Effects and hazards. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295966.php

Lallanilla, M. (2014, March 05). Good Trip? LSD May Ease Anxiety. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/43894-acid-lsd-therapeutic-value-benefits.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Hallucinogens. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens

LSD and Anxiety
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