Hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD have been party staples for decades. Some people take them for therapeutic or spiritual reasons, as a means for achieving higher understanding, while others are just looking for an escape.
Unfortunately, alcohol is often present in settings where LSD is used, and in some cases, a user may take both at the same time. This often happens unintentionally, but in some cases, an individual may take LSD with alcohol hoping that one will reduce the undesirable effects of the other.
While combining LSD and alcohol isn’t necessarily life-threatening, (assuming the individual isn’t consuming heavy doses of either), they can lead to unintended side effects and may point to a bigger problem that requires professional help.
How Alcohol Affects the Body
Alcohol, which is made from fermenting grains or fruits, has been used to celebrate, socialize and relax for thousands of years. Some people drink alcohol for its stimulant effect—to loosen up and feel relaxed in a social setting or to unwind after a long day. Unfortunately, too much alcohol can have severe depressant effects, causing mood swings or irritability.
Alcohol affects the body in a variety of different ways, depending on how much is consumed. It interferes with how the brain works and how it communicates with the rest of the body, which is why those who’ve had too much to drink become sluggish, clumsy and possibly unable to make safe or rational decisions.
Depending on how much alcohol a person has consumed, they may experience side effects such as:
- Slurred speech
- Nausea or vomiting
- Breathing difficulties
- Impaired judgment
- Distorted hearing or vision
- Blackouts (memory lapses when the individual doesn’t remember events that happened while they were under the influence)
Binge or regular heavy drinking also has serious long-term effects on mental health. The individual may struggle with their performance at work, which can lead to job loss or affect their ability to obtain to move forward in their career. They may experience interpersonal problems and lose relationships with close friends or family members. Depression, anxiety and antisocial behaviors are also widely reported among those who drink excessively.
Excessive alcohol also takes a toll on physical health. While some of alcohol’s effects wear off, other effects are permanent. The individual may experience heart or liver damage, lung infections, brain damage, pancreatitis, digestive troubles, infertility and certain types of cancer.
LSD and Its Effect on the Body
LSD, short for “d-lysergic acid diethylamide,” is a powerful mood-altering chemical. It’s produced in illegal laboratories in crystal form and is then converted to a liquid for distribution. It’s colorless and odorless and has a slightly bitter taste. When most people buy it, it’s in tablet or capsule form or in gelatin squares, or it may be added to absorbent paper. In some cases, it may be sold in liquid form.
Hallucinogens such as LSD affect the brain’s circuits, primarily in the prefrontal cortex, which is the region that regulates the body’s mood, thoughts and perception. LSD also affects regions of the brain that kick off the body’s natural response in stressful situations, such as feelings of panic or dread.
In the short term, LSD can cause the individual to hallucinate, or see and hear things that aren’t there. This side effect can set in within 20 minutes of ingestion and last for as long as 12 hours.
An individual’s experience with LSD is as unique as they are. For some, the experience is powerful but generally pleasant and can make them feel enlightened. For others, LSD brings anxiety, feelings of despair and terrifying thoughts.
Mixing Acid and Alcohol
LSD and alcohol may both be readily available in certain settings such as clubs or parties, and individuals may end up intentionally or accidentally consuming both. In some cases, LSD can extend the effects of alcohol, and vice versa. This may allow an individual with a high tolerance for alcohol to drink more than they normally would without experiencing negative effects. Similarly, alcohol can extend LSD’s psychedelic effects, causing the individual to feel as though they’re escaping the unpleasant effects of alcohol consumption such as moodiness or depression.
At one time, it was suggested that LSD may be a viable treatment for alcoholism. One study indicated that in the short-term, LSD decreased instances of alcohol misuse and improved an individual’s ability to abstain from drinking. However, these results ended up being insignificant. Within a year’s time, the individual’s drinking habits were unchanged.
Even so, for someone who’s ready to break the cycle of addiction, LSD may seem like an attractive option to help them change their habits with minimal discomfort. Unfortunately, this strategy is unlikely to be successful in the long run. Seeking professional help is the healthiest, most effective way to overcome addiction.
The Dangers of Mixing LSD and Alcohol
It’s hard to understand how LSD interacts with other substances such as alcohol, primarily because its effects vary drastically from one person to another depending on gender, weight, body composition, how much is consumed, what else was consumed and a myriad of other factors. Common risks and symptoms of mixing these two substances include:
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Inability to judge how much time has passed
- Changes in blood pressure and heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in appetite
- Sleep disruptions
- Dry mouth
- Poor judgment
Perhaps the biggest danger of mixing LSD and alcohol is that this combination can have unpredictable effects. Some who use these substances report that alcohol reduces the hallucinogenic effects of LSD, while others report that this combination makes the effects more profound. Both substances lower inhibitions and cause lapses in judgment, which can lead to behaviors that harm the individual or those around them. In extreme cases, drinking on LSD can lead to serious injuries or even death. Additionally, because of how LSD changes alcohol’s effects, someone may end up drinking far more than they realized, which can lead to serious health problems.
Combining LSD and Alcohol May Point to a Larger Problem
For those who regularly combine acid and alcohol, frequent use can take a significant toll on mental health. LSD isn’t considered to be chemically addictive, but when it’s used to cope with untreated mental illness, the individual may develop a psychological addiction that can be a challenge to overcome.
Alcohol, on the other hand, is known to be addictive, and professional help is available to those who no longer feel in control of how much or how often they drink.
Mixing LSD and alcohol increases the risk of overdose or even death. Fortunately, help is available. If you or someone you know is abusing alcohol and LSD, addiction specialists at FHE are here to help. Our programs use evidence-based, clinical practices to treat the underlying causes of addiction. To speak with a member of our team, call us at (855) 944-7282.