What are Hallucinogens?
Hallucinogens are mind-altering psychoactive drugs that have been used for many years to alter an individual’s perception of reality. Hallucinogens are derived from some mushrooms and you can also get them from other plants. For a long time, they have been used for religious or spiritual ceremonies. Often, they trigger a person to feel euphoric sensations such as being disconnected from the world.
Resources show that hallucinogen use is relatively common in the U.S, especially among younger individuals. Research from a 2017 survey from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, discovered that about 17 percent of Americans ages 18 to 25 used hallucinogens in their lifetime and about 7 percent used a hallucinogen in the past year.
Despite the fact that these drugs are sometimes prescribed by a doctor as medicine and are medically necessary for treatment of health reasons, hallucinogens can result in addiction and mental and physical abuse in individuals who use them.
If you or someone you care for is struggling with addiction to drugs such as hallucinogens, please call AToN Center for information on our addiction treatment rehab programs, resources and services. Our addiction treatment and detox service can help you move into a full recovery, free from drugs or alcohol.
How are Hallucinogens Taken?
There are different methods of taking hallucinogens, all of which will be determined by what type of drug you get and are using. The most common ways to use hallucinogens include swallowing as a tablet or pill, swallowing in a liquid form, consuming a hallucinogen raw or dry, brewing into a tea, snorting, injecting, inhaling through drug soaked paper, and vaporizing or smoking.
Types of Hallucinogenic Substances
There are lots of different types of hallucinogenic drugs that you can take. Some of these drugs can cause abuse due to a built up dependence to the drug. Some hallucinogens may be prescribed by a physician and be medically necessary for treatment of some health disorders, but this is rare. Hallucinogens are made up of two subcategories: classic hallucinogens and dissociative drugs. Both types of hallucinogens can lead to adverse health effects and dangerous situations, especially if taken in combination with other drugs such as alcohol.
What are Dissociative Drugs?
Dissociative drugs are a class of hallucinogens that result in effects in individuals such as delusions, incoherence, hallucinations, and paranoia. Dissociative drugs can be dangerous to a person’s health if they are taken in large quantities because they can cause changes in heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. If these drugs are combined with alcohol they can trigger severe side effects and potentially be fatal, even in healthy people.
Below are common dissociative drugs:
Like ketamine, PCP is used in medicine as a surgery anesthetic and to help with pain. When PCP is in its purest form, it is typically in the form of white crystalline powder that can be dissolved easily in water or alcohol. The drug can impair motor skills and cause a distorted sense of time and anxiety.
Dextromethorphan, or better known as DXM is a hallucinogenic substance used when medically necessary as a cough suppressant and you can get it over the counter. It is an ingredient in both cough syrup and an anti-mucus ingredient found in cold medicine. If DXM is used for a prolonged period of time it can cause mental health auditory or visual hallucinations, and euphoria. Although a DXM drug can cause dependence and abuse, it is not considered a controlled substance.
Ketamine is a drug that is used when medically necessary as a surgery anesthetic for both animals and humans. When ketamine is abused it can result in mental health symptoms such as aggressive behavior, delirium or flashbacks. Due to its risk for addiction and abuse, ketamine is considered a Schedule III drug.
What are Classic Hallucinogens?
Classic hallucinogens are psychoactive drugs such as LSD and psilocybin that change receptors in the brain such as serotonin, resulting in mental health effects of euphoria, and disconnection.
Lysergic acid diethylamide, also referred to as LSD or acid, is an extremely potent synthetic hallucinogenic substance. LSD was previously used in medically needed situations as a therapeutic drug but was later debunked in the 1980’s from much research and information found the effects were adverse. Some may ask if LSD is addictive. Although LSD is considered to be a non-addictive drug, you may become addicted to the sights, sounds, and revelations they experience while “tripping.” LSD in any amount, including microdosing, may trigger a person to experience “flashbacks” for long periods of time including days, months, or even years after discontinuing use.
LSD is considered a Schedule I drug and is most commonly abused by older teens and adults in situations of clubbing. LSD is known as the “club drug” along with other drugs such as MDMA and ketamine.
Mushrooms or “shrooms” are a class of hallucinogens that contain psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and psilocin. Psilocin is a Schedule I drug which means it is never medically necessary for treatment to take it and has a high potential for abuse.
Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid or GHB is a central nervous system depressant that can be found in human cells and synthesized to create its sedative and hypnotic effects. The most read health side effects of GHB use include sleepiness, euphoria, decreased inhibitions, disorientation, decreased heart rate and loss of coordination.
Mescaline and Peyote
Mescaline is a naturally occurring drug that can be found in the peyote cactus plant and has been used in the Native American traditions for many years and the Native American Church reserved the right to use the drug.
Mescaline was found to be effective in treatment for alcohol use disorder and depression but the potential negative effects outweigh the good, resulting in it being classified as a Schedule I drug.
Effects of Hallucinogens
Research shows that the effects of hallucinogens can happen to everyone, including healthy individuals. The mental health health physical effects of hallucinogens include:
- Altered perceptions
- Increased body temperature
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Elevated heart rate levels
- Distorted thinking
- Mood shifts
Long Term Effects of Hallucinogens
The health effects of using hallucinogens will range from short-term to long-term depending on how often the drug is being used. Because there is still information being found on hallucinogens, it is unclear how exactly they affect your body. They can be highly unpredictable and trigger different health effects that may vary from person to person.
Some of the most common mental health symptoms include:
- Changes in sense or perception of time (time goes by slowly)
- Mixed senses (“hearing” colors or “seeing” sounds)
- Hallucinations, including hearing, smelling or seeing things in a different way
- Intensified feelings and sensory experiences (brighter colors, sharper sounds)
A long-term effect of LSD can be catastrophic if proper treatment is not had. For example, LSD can trigger long-lasting hallucinations and flashbacks for days to even years.
If you are experiencing any of the mental health effects listed above, please call AToN Center for rehab help. Our staff can provide information and resources on our addiction treatment and rehab services. We will give you detailed information on our specific treatment methods for substance abuse, insurance help and much more.
Hallucinogen Abuse and Addiction
Some of the information and research that you may have read on hallucinogens is conflicting on whether or not they result in addiction or abuse, but some research does point to the fact that hallucinogens can cause drug dependence and tolerance.
Most hallucinogens do not cause drug addiction, and will not result in withdrawals after you stop taking them. For example, people can develop a tolerance to LSD, which requires them to take larger doses of the drug to achieve the same effects. But the drug does not trigger physical cravings or obsessive drug-seeking behavior.
But like other drugs, when someone uses hallucinogens excessively and for a long time frame there is potential for abuse and addiction to occur. When you use any drug in large quantities, your body begins to develop a dependence for the drug.
Which Hallucinogen Substances are Addictive?
Like noted above, we have read that most hallucinogenic substances do not result in addiction, although some may cause abuse and tolerance. One hallucinogen drug that is known to result in addiction is PCP. The reason why PCP may be more addictive than another hallucinogen drug, is due to the withdrawal symptoms that occur when you discontinue use. These withdrawal side effects include headaches, cravings, sweating and others.
Getting Help at AToN Center
At AToN Center it is possible to get help for a drug or alcohol addiction. With the help of our friendly staff, you can achieve full recovery from addiction to drugs such as hallucinogens or many others. Our treatment methods and services can be tailored to each individual who comes to our facility, and we offer both traditional and non-traditional addiction treatment modalities for a drug or alcohol problem. We understand the struggles that come with an addiction, and we care about your comfort while you are going through addiction treatment.
Some of our specific addiction treatment services include detox care, cognitive and behavioral health strategies, holistic treatment, and family support all from our highly trained staff members. We have endless amounts of resources to help you with your addiction, and we care about your needs while you are in treatment and recovery with us. Our admissions staff can determine your insurance eligibility, and if it is medically necessary for you to go to treatment for an addiction problem.
If you would like to get more information on our specific addiction treatment and rehab services for drugs or alcohol, please call us right away. Our addiction specialists can go over your insurance info and help determine your financial responsibility so that it does not become a concern, and you can focus solely on your recovery. We care about the outcomes of your treatment and are here for whatever you may need.