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Derealization/Depersonalization & Fear of Psychosis or Schizophrenia After LSD-Induced Panic Attack

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I swallowed a tiny microdose of LSD (around 25 micrograms, not nearly enough for an actual trip) five days ago and experienced a panic attack because I feared I may have gained schizophrenia or some sort of psychosis from the LSD for no reason other than perhaps I was overthinking too much.

Over the next two days, I felt somewhat uneasy and suspicious over whether or not I had psychosis and then I later experienced panic attack in my sleep over the possibility of developing a psychosis. This panic attack gave me the sensation of derealization/depersonalization because I became so suspicious over the possibility of experiencing hallucinations and/or delusions and diving into a psychotic break from reality. Over a period of the day, I was momentarily afraid of certain photographs and small surprises because I feared a psychotic break from reality. I checked with my parents and siblings and they didn’t notice anything wrong with me aside from my trembling head.

Today, I am now no longer experiencing anxiety/panic attacks after getting some rest and taking some herbal supplements. However, despite this state of calmness, I still have intermittent derealization/depersonalization and I still have the lingering sensation that something is not right with my mind and I could experience a psychotic break from reality at any moment. I am also noticing that I strangely feel energized/well-rested after only 3-5 hours of sleep. I would like to know the chances that I am actually entering a psychotic/schizophrenic state.

Derealization/Depersonalization & Fear of Psychosis or Schizophrenia After LSD-Induced Panic Attack

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A.

There’s no way to know with certainty the chances of you having a psychotic break or developing schizophrenia. That is one of the risks that one takes in the use of LSD and other illicit drugs. The adverse effects are very subjective, extreme and unpredictable. That is, in part, what makes them so dangerous. One individual may experience a positive effect and have no lasting aftereffects whereas another individual could have the totally opposite experience and develop severe anxiety, panic, depersonalization/depersonalization, and so forth. An individual might have a good trip on one occasion and a bad trip on the next.

In studies, the biggest concern related to LSD is often the dangerous and erratic behavior that results from the experiences with the drug. Studies have indicated that there are some possible health side effects that can occur with LSD including extreme changes in body temperature, sweating, chills, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, tremors, among others. Most commonly, however, are what is referred to as LSD intoxication or psychosis. Some of the mental effects of LSD can include:

  • Delusions (believing in things that are not true, despite evidence to the contrary)
  • Hallucinations (typically visual)
  • distorted sense of time and identity
  • impaired depth and time perception
  • artificial euphoria uncertainty
  • distorted perception of objects, movements, colors, sounds and touch
  • severe terrifying thoughts and feelings
  • feelings of losing control
  • fear of death
  • panic attacks

Research also indicates that there are no medical benefits associated with LSD. It can cause a great deal of potential problems including psychosis among others, and should be avoided.

It’s not clear why you took the drug in the first place but you should never take it again. This is especially true because of the negative experiences you had. It seems as though you’ve had a bad trip and it would be ill advised to take the drug again, and to risk repeating this experience. Thankfully, though you are continuing experience mild symptoms, they seem to be diminishing. Hopefully, they will be gone forever and will no longer cause you any problems.

You also mentioned taking herbal supplements. It’s important to know that they are not typically regulated by the federal government (i.e. Federal drug administration (FDA), and thus their effects are unknown. I would recommend consulting a psychiatrist who can advise you about how to treat the remaining symptoms you are experiencing. You should not be attempting to manage your own symptoms especially given your paranoid state of mind. It’s always best to consult experts rather than attempting to treat yourself. You can’t get into trouble with health care providers for having used LSD. They are not going to turn you into the police. They can help you to feel better sooner, which is ultimately your goal. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Derealization/Depersonalization & Fear of Psychosis or Schizophrenia After LSD-Induced Panic Attack

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Derealization/Depersonalization & Fear of Psychosis or Schizophrenia After LSD-Induced Panic Attack. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/04/13/derealization-depersonalization-fear-of-psychosis-or-schizophrenia-after-lsd-induced-panic-attack/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 11 Apr 2020 (Originally: 13 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 11 Apr 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.