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Hallucinogenic Substances

Treating Hallucinogen Addiction

In today’s world, hallucinogens are still mostly illegal but widely prevalent in ceremonial and recreational use. Some of the most commonly used hallucinogens include LSD, Ketamine, Psilocybin, Peyote, PCP, DMT, DXM, and MDMA. Most hallucinogens are ingested, drinken in tea or inhaled. The typical onset of effects takes roughly 20-90 minutes and can last as long as 12 hours depending on the substance. Moreover, depending on the amount taken, people can experience effects that range from mild to severe symptoms. In high doses, PCP can cause seizures, coma and death. However, most people who take too much hallucinogen report having a “bad trip” or unwanted/overpowering effects from the substance.

According to a 2020 NIDA report, approximately 2.6% or 7.1 million people ages 12 and older have used some form of hallucinogen in the previous 12 months. In the same study, an estimated 0.1% of people ages 12 and older exhibit Hallucinogen Use Disorder (HUD). From this perspective, the varying types of hallucinogens aren’t very addictive. However, there are properties of each substance that make them highly sought after. Rather than conduct a deep dive into each type of hallucinogen, we’re going to provide an overview of 2 categories of hallucinogen: classic hallucinogens and dissociative drugs.

Classic Hallucinogens

This category of drug typically includes LSD, Psilocybin, DMT and Peyote. Classic Hallucinogens are thought to work by disrupting neural communication and serotonin receptors.

Many people report disrupted perception through images, sounds and sensations that aren’t there. Some of the most common short term and long term effects include:

  • Intensified sensory experience and feelings
  • Changes in sense of time
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate
  • Sleep problems
  • Spiritual experiences
  • Feeling relaxed
  • Loss of appetite
  • Paranoia and psychosis
  • Uncoordinated behavior
  • Persistent psychosis
  • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD)

While the long term effects of classic hallucinogen abuse are more common with individuals who have preexisting mental health disorders, anyone can be susceptible to the long term effects given persistent abuse.

Dissociative Drugs

Some of the most commonly abused dissociative drugs include, PCP, Ketamine, DXM, and MDMA. Out of these dissociative hallucinogens, PCP is the primary substance that people report being addicted to. While each of these substances have an effect on serotonin receptors in the brain, PCP releases a significant amount of dopamine, more so than other hallucinogens. Similar to their counterpart, classic hallucinogens, these drugs are sought after because they create intense visual and euphoric sensations. However, they are called dissociative because they make the user feel out of control and more disconnected from their body and physical environment. Although the effects of dissociative drugs vary greatly depending on the amount use, they tend to produce similar short and long term effects, such as:

  • Numbness
  • Disorientation/loss of balance
  • Increased body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure
  • Memory loss
  • Panic, anxiety and psychosis
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble breathing
  • Loss of speech
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression and suicidal ideation

If you or someone you know is struggling with Hallucinogen Use Disorder, our team can help! We know how difficult it can be to overcome an addiction and our clinical services are designed to find the root cause of your substance use and propagate change through strong self care routines.

Call us today to learn how we can help you overcome your addiction.