Elite’s Believe It or Not: Permanent Acid Trips

Imagine waking up on Christmas to a trip of a lifetime but not a physical trip … a psychological one. This is Bill Walton’s story.

 While professional basketball player Bill Walton was playing with the San Diego Clippers (now the Los Angeles Clippers), he allegedly took nine hits of a form of LSD known as orange sunshine while partying with musician Steve Morse, a member of Deep Purple, Kansas, and other bands.

 People warned Walton, a well-known hippie, about the potent acid before he even began the trip, however, he neglected to take their advice. Bill never saw what came next: a 23-year-long acid trip nightmare. The trip lasted from 1981-2004 and Walton is reportedly still suffering from the effects.

 Walton’s “permatrip” remained prominent throughout the remainder of the season, which hurt his team’s success. Despite the lingering effects of the nine hits of acid, Walton managed to continue his career, including a stint playing with the Boston Celtics. He later became an analyst for college basketball games.


Walton’s Wacky Behavior

 Walton made headlines in February 2015 when he went on a rant about Bob Dylan while giving live commentary during a basketball game between the University of Oregon and the University of Southern California (USC). On another occasion, he compared a University of Washington versus University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) basketball game to a bear smashing a husky. And when his teammates and coworkers discovered that Walton was indeed experiencing a permanent acid trip, their response was, “Makes a lot of sense.”

 Bill Walton was always a hippie but this permanent trip really changed him. Former Celtic teammate Kevin McHale once reported that Walton would “close his eyes and twirl in circles.” Walton experienced this acid flashback nightmare for over two decades. While Bill Walton’s case sounds like a unique one, there have been other “permatrips” recorded.


Psychedelic Drugs Can Change You

Did you know that any psychedelic drug can change your personality for years? Reviews of studies report that just one single dose of a hallucinogen can produce sustainable personality changes that last several weeks, months or even years. More research is needed to draw conclusions, but the latest studies indicate that psychedelic drugs might make people more open to new ideas and new experiences. Permanent acid trips, meanwhile, may be a result of consuming too much of a psychedelic drug.


Defining a Permatrip

A permanent acid trip or permatrip is known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder or HPPD and is likely more dysphoric than euphoric. This means it causes unpleasantness instead of pleasant sensations.

 HPPD can occur when an individual uses recreational hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, magic mushrooms, or DMT more than once. The effects may never be reversible and it may continue for months or years at a time. People who have experienced this permanent acid trip have reported experiencing auditory and/or visual hallucinations. This means that they might hear or see things that aren’t really there.

Other people with HPPD claim to see subtle trails of color in their peripheral vision. There are many visual symptoms of HPPD, including:

  • More intense colors
  • Halos around objects
  • Tracers or trailers (trailing images)
  • Geometric patterns
  • Images within images
  • Reading difficulties

Some of the other symptoms of HPPD relate to moods and a person’s psychological state. These symptoms include: 

  • Uneasiness
  • Paranoia
  • Mood disturbances
  • Panic attacks

Dissociation is also a symptom of HPPD. Dissociation means separated or disconnected.

There are two distinct categories of dissociation symptoms connected to HPPD. The first, denationalization, is the feeling of not being connected to one’s body (as in observing yourself living from a different point of view). The second is federalization, which is the feeling of being disconnected from reality.


The Trip Stops Here

Drug and or alcohol treatment can help with the side effects of a permanent trip. If you or someone you love is experiencing a trip lasting longer than two days or other symptoms of drug use, please seek professional help. It can be extremely difficult to live a normal life with these lingering, underlying effects. For more information and for help on finding treatment, call now.