Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens is a broad term for a group of drugs, generally divided into two categories: Classic hallucinogens such as LSD, and dissociative drugs such as PCP and ketamine. Though the types of hallucinogens may vary, as their name suggest, these drugs can cause hallucinations and alter a person’s perception, thoughts and feelings. Hallucinogens may come from natural sources, such as plants or mushrooms, or can be manmade. Like with many drugs, there’s a risk of developing an addiction to hallucinogens if abused or used for a long-time.

So what drugs are considered hallucinogens? The different types of hallucinogens include:

  • Dextromethorphan/DMX (an ingredient sometimes found in cough syrups)
  • LSD
  • Ketamine
  • PCP
  • Salvia

People may drink hallucinogens as tea, take pills, smoke them, snort them as a powder, or inject them into their veins. People often take hallucinogens for the euphoric high and the sensory perceptions, which are often called “trips.”

The effects aren’t always positive though. Some people who take hallucinogens may experience panic and paranoia that they can’t escape from. These are usually called “bad trips.”

The effects of hallucinogens can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours.

How Hallucinogens Work

Like many drugs, hallucinogens target the brain and tend to have the following symptoms:

  • Increased blood pressure, breathing rate or body temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleep problems
  • Mixed senses (such as “seeing” sounds or “hearing” colors)
  • Spiritual experiences
  • Feelings of relaxation
  • Out-of-body experiences
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Excessive sweating
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

There hasn’t been much research on the long-term health effects of hallucinogen use but the fact remains that the effects of hallucinogens are dangerous. For example, long-term ketamine use can lead to bladder or kidney problems; ingesting a dangerous mushroom could poison the user and kill them; and high doses of PCP can lead to comas or seizures.

Mixing hallucinogens with other drugs, such as alcohol or depressants can make someone fall into a coma. Accidental fatal injuries are common as well as people who have out-of-body experiences can hurt themselves without realizing it.

Most long-term hallucinogens users have memory problems. They may also experience any of the following long-term effects:

  • Speech problems
  • Memory loss
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts

Even if a person stops taking hallucinogens, they can still experience symptoms such as visual disturbances, disorganized thinking, paranoia, mood changes and flashbacks. Some people may develop hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD), where they can experience hallucinations at random.

As with any drug, it is possible to develop an addiction to hallucinogens. Some hallucinogens are less addictive than others, but people can build tolerance to the drugs. This can be dangerous all on its own, as a person needs to take more of a drug to feel the same effects, increasing their chance of overdose.

Either way, a person with an addiction to hallucinogens should seek treatment sooner rather than later.

Treatment for Hallucinogens

With so many different types of hallucinogens, treatments should be based on what the individual needs. Treatment options for hallucinogens which are normally a part of any treatment program include detox and/or therapy.

Detox is the process by which a person stops taking a drug to rid the body of it. People often experience withdrawal during this, so it can be helpful to seek out medically assisted detox, where those symptoms are treated by a medical professional to lower the risk of relapse.

Withdrawal symptoms of hallucinogens tend to be psychological rather than physical, and can include:

  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Trouble experiencing pleasure
  • Depression

There are some physical withdrawal symptoms for hallucinogens such as PCP that can be quite dangerous.  PCP withdrawal symptoms can include any of the above, along with coma, seizures or even death.

Once detox is complete, a person should then undergo therapy. Therapy can help a person understand the nature of addiction and how to fight its effects. Therapy can address the environmental factors which led to their pattern of abuse and give them the tools they need as they start the long road to recovery. Continuous supportive care is also recommended after initial treatment, such as a 12-step program.

It’s very important that any treatment for hallucinogens also includes treatment for any co-occurring disorders. Also known as dual diagnosis, this is when a person is treated for one or more illnesses, such as hallucinogen addiction and depression. If their co-occurring illness isn’t treated, it can affect a person’s recovery and lead to relapse.

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Treatment For Hallucinogens at Sovereign Health

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to hallucinogens, help is available. At Sovereign Health of Texas, individuals can find treatment for addiction and dual diagnosis, as well as medical detox services.

Each of our patients undergoes a thorough physical and mental evaluation with our medical professionals that diagnoses their issues accurately in order to ensure they get the best personalized treatment plan that is suited for their needs and ensures they get the best chance at recovery. We also offer continuing care programs to provide supportive care no matter where the individual is on the road to recovery.

To find out more about our treatment options for hallucinogens, contact our 24/7 helpline today.

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