Man with OCD here. I’m taking medication for it. I will take LSD for the first time in a few weeks. What are the possibilities of having HPPD? You’ve said you got visual disruptions, what does it feels like? Is it the same thing which is called “flashbacks”?
I am not even sure what flashbacks even are, and I am not sure if I have experienced them. After I first took LSD at age 16, my marijuana trips changed dramatically. It was like the LSD had altered my brain and changed the pot trips. The pot trips became way weirder, more colorful and rather frightening, but I sort of enjoyed them anyway in the way that you enjoy the very scary rides at the amusement park. They scare the crap out of you, but you love it. Plus it was like journeying to another planet every time I smoked pot.
About six months after I had taken LSD, I went to look in the mirror. To my shock and horror, my entire face was deep, dark blue almost like someone who has had a heart attack. I flipped out and ran upstairs to my parents room and looked in their mirror. Now my face had changed and it had a slight reddish tinge to it. I ran down to the downstairs bathroom again and looked in the mirror again and all that was left was a faint greenish tinge over my face. I think I ran back to my parents’ bathroom instead and looked in the mirror again.
I have no idea why I was running from mirror to mirror, but my instinct just old me that there must be something wrong with the mirror. Thinking about it now, it seems so idiotic, but that is what I felt at the time. This time all of the colors were gone. The whole thing could not have taken more than a minute or two.
I happened one more time a few months later in the same mirror. This time it was a very deep dark red, as deep and dark as the blue-purple had been. I did the same thing of running from bathroom to bathroom and mirror to mirror, and after a minute or two, it went away.
I always thought for some reason that thee were LSD flashbacks, though I never had those colored faces on LSD. I do not know why I thought it was an acid flashback. I suppose I could not think of any other reason.
It never happened again, and to this day, I have no idea what caused it. I never worried about it although it was a hallucination. I never worried that those hallucinations meant that I was mentally ill or brain damaged somehow. I simply shrugged them off. Non-mentally ill people can hallucinate and even hear voices at times. The occasional hallucination is not big deal and nothing to fret over. You guys can call me insane all you want to because I had couple of hallucinations. See if I care.
I doubt if many people get HPPD from one use of LSD, but perhaps it is possible. I have dated some women lately who are or were LSD users. One ~50 year old woman had taken LSD 350 times. Another much younger woman had taken it maybe 30 times and was definitely a current user. These are only two heavy users that I have met in recent years. Neither woman had any HPPD symptoms at all. I know many people who have taken LSD, including folks who have taken it many times, and I never met anyone who had HPPD. I think it is not common.
However, a recent survey of university students found that of those who had taken LSD 50 times or more, 45% had HPPD symptoms. You really need to think about HPPD if you are considering becoming a heavy LSD user.
I took LSD nine times and other psychedelics (mescaline, peyote, LSA, Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds, psilocybin) about another 20-30 times, so maybe ~30-40 trips total. I have not taken psychedelics since an acid trip in 1987, 29 years ago. I am a bit worried about doing psychedelics now. I figure I am nuts enough as it is, so why take psychedelics and risk making myself even crazier than I already am?
I am not sure when the HPPD hit, but it is not very bad. On some occasions, I get very bright colors. I rarely get them anymore, but sometimes if I have taken a lot of caffeine or the drug Benadryl, I get the colors again. Actually the world looks much better all lit up Technicolor like that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It only bothers me if I start freaking on it and thinking, “Why is the world all lit up this? Is there something wrong with my brain?” If I just relax and accept it, it’s not a problem and actually is rather fun.
I called up an eye doctor once and complained about my symptoms, and he busted out laughing over the phone. “Oh! The colors are getting better, huh? Well that’s great! Hope you enjoy it! We only care when the colors are getting worse. What you have is not a problem.”
Apparently he was referring to loss of color vision.