At the age of 21 this Canadian man experimented with LSD. 30 years later he is still tripping balls, seeing faces moving around inside trees, and he’s finally seeking treatment for a little known affliction named ‘hallucinogen persisting perception disorder’, or HPPD for short.
Dropping acid can be fun, it can be an awesome experience. And compared to tripping on mushrooms it can be a lengthy experience, with a shrooms trip lasting 4 to 8 hours (give or take a few) and an LSD trip generally lasting over 12hours (often 24+ hours depending on the dosage/strength). LSD is a drug that you should take VERY seriously, but it’s also not a drug that you’d expect to last for 30 FUCKING YEARS. Three decades of visual hallucinations is just too much.
Several years ago, a man came to a Canadian hospital seeking help for an odd affliction: whenever he stares at a tree, he sees faces. The faces materialize among the leaves and branches within a few seconds of focusing his gaze, he explained at the hospital, and disappear when he looks away. They do not belong to anyone he knows and they don’t talk, but they may have slightly different expressions. Sometimes, he said, the same thing happens when he stares at walls—except the wall faces almost always have stoic expressions. This has been going on for nearly 30 years, he said—ever since he was 21 and experimenting with LSD on a weekly basis.
The man’s condition is known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), a chronic malady affecting visual perception and associated with the use of hallucinogenic drugs including LSD, MDMA, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline and, in some cases, cannabis. Unlike the man in Canada, most people with HPPD don’t see specifically identifiable visuals like faces.
“These people get visual information like everyone else, but they can’t shut off the noise,” says Henry Abraham, a psychiatrist who has studied the disorder since the 1970s. “Ordinarily, our visual system filters all of this stuff out, but theirs has a problem with disinhibition—and it makes them miserable.”
BrainDecoder.com goes on to link out to a comprehensive study on HPPD, one that paints the disorder as a picture of absolute torture. Experimenting with drugs can be fun, but the whole point of experimentation is that you will at some point come down/the drugs will wear off and you will have gained new life experience. This dude’s stuck with the LSD affecting his brain forever, tripping balls for three fucking decades. Sure, things can seem to last for an eternity when you’re ‘peaking’ on hallucinogenics, but in reality it’s only a few hours before you come back down…only not in this guy’s case. (h/t Metro UK via BrainDecoder)
Anyways, this story reminded me of how fucking funny HBO’s Mr. Show used to be: