Hallucinogen addiction is extremely dangerous, and yet, there are many people who use these substances to get high. They often use under the false assumption that these drugs are relatively safe and non-addictive. But that information is false, and each use puts the person more at risk.
Fortunately, there are ways for people to get help if they are addicted to hallucinogenic drugs. Depending on the person’s individual needs, going through detox and rehab may be recommended. Getting the right support is a critical component in addiction recovery.
Recovering from a hallucinogen addiction is possible. But most people will find it more difficult if they attempt to quit on their own. The good news is that they do not need to. The help they need is available by going through a quality drug treatment program.
What are Hallucinogens?
A hallucinogenic drug is one that changes a person’s thoughts, feelings and awareness of everything around them. These substances can cause people to have hallucinations, which means that they see or hear things that are not really there. Some of them can make people feel out of control of themselves, or they can feel as though they are disconnected from their bodies.
There are hallucinogenic drugs that have been extracted from plants and others that are man-made. Many of these substances have been used for healing rituals or religious ceremonies for thousands of years. Today, they are most often used for recreational purposes and in social situations. People may use them to de-stress, have fun or just because they are curious about their effects.
There are two main types of hallucinogenic drugs, and they are classic hallucinogens and dissociative drugs. There are several substances that fall into each category.
Some of the more common classic hallucinogens include:
- LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide)
- Peyote (mescaline)
- DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine)
- Psilocybin (magic mushrooms)
Some examples of dissociative drugs include the following:
Many of these drugs have effects that are quite similar to one another. They are often substituted for each other if the drug of choice is not readily available.
People can abuse hallucinogenic drugs in many different ways, based on the type of drug they are using. They can be:
- Swallowed in the form of tablets, pills or liquid.
- Consumed raw or after they have been dried out.
- Made into a brewed tea.
- Snorted through the nose.
- Mixed with some type of liquid – such as alcohol or water – and injected into a vein.
- Inhaled through smoking or vaporizing.
- Placed on small pieces of paper and absorbed through the mouth.
The Effects of Hallucinogenic Drugs – The Trip
People use hallucinogens because they want to experience their effects, which users refer to as the “trip.” A trip can be good or bad, and most people generally expect the effects to wear off after a few to several hours following their dose. But sometimes that does not happen.
The New Yorker posted an article that detailed one man’s experience tripping on LSD. He was no stranger to hallucinogenic drugs and had partaken in many in the past. The next day, he found himself hallucinating while he was in class and struggling to focus on anything. He called it, “the trip that would not end.”
Bad trips have been known to happen, and they can be terrifying. While some users report seeing beautiful colors and feeling happier than they have ever been, others have much darker experiences.
Hallucinogenic drugs can have a profound impact on the brain. Researchers have found that these substances work – at least in part – by temporarily disrupting communication between the brain and spinal cord. Some of them can interfere with serotonin in the brain, which is responsible for regulating things like body temperature, sexual behavior, mood and sensory perception.
When people abuse dissociative hallucinogenic drugs, they interfere with glutamate in the brain. This substance is responsible for regulating the following:
- The perception of pain.
- Our responses to our environment.
Many of the short-term effects of hallucinogens are pleasurable, and people always hope to have a good trip when they use them. Other effects that people may find themselves experiencing include:
- Bouts of nausea.
- An increased heart rate.
- Changes in how they perceive time.
- Intense feelings and emotions.
- Intense sensory experiences.
- An increased blood pressure.
- An increased body temperature.
- Sleep issues.
- Loss of appetite.
- A dry mouth.
- Intense spiritual experiences.
- Feelings of panic.
- Strange and bizarre behaviors.
- Memory loss.
- Mood swings.
- Breathing problems.
Some people use hallucinogenic drugs on a regular basis and for a very long-time. Those who do run the risk of experiencing many of these drugs’ long-term effects, which can include:
- Significant memory loss.
- Speech problems.
- Symptoms of anxiety.
- Symptoms of depression
- Weight loss.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Disturbing visual images.
- Trouble thinking clearly.
- Mood swings and changes.
Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder is the name of a condition that can occur for long-term users of these drugs. They can experience chronic hallucinations and visual disturbances for as long as more than a year after their last use. Most often, HPPD is mistaken for another medical condition, such as a brain tumor or a stroke.
Are Hallucinogens Addictive?
There is still more research being done on the addictive nature of hallucinogenic drugs. There is some evidence that suggests that they can be simply because people can often do develop a tolerance to them. LSD is an excellent example. A person who is addicted to this drug may not exhibit drug-seeking behavior, but they may find that they have formed a tolerance to it. That means that in order to get the same effects, they need to take more of it.
PCP is a hallucinogenic drug that can lead to addiction. Some people abuse this drug so much that they eventually get addicted to it, and when they do, they go through withdrawal when it is stopped. They may have cravings, headaches and experience excessive sweating.
Is it Possible to Overdose on Hallucinogenic Drugs?
For the most part, people do not overdose on hallucinogenic drugs. This means that they have used enough of a substance to produce dangerous side effects that could even become life-threatening. Most of these drugs will produce uncomfortable side effects at higher doses, causing unpleasant experiences. But they do not lead to death.
Of course, that is not true of all hallucinogenic drugs. 251-NBOMe is a drug that has led to serious medical emergencies and some people have even died from taking too much of it. Some dissociative hallucinogenics can result in overdoses, such as PCP.
Recovering from Hallucinogen Addiction
Most people find that they need professional treatment in order to successfully recover from hallucinogen addiction. Depending on the drug, this may involve a combination of both detox and rehab.
Treating both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction is critical for recovery. People need to have their withdrawal symptoms managed appropriately, and they also need to address the reasons behind their addictions.
Drug detox involves the use of various types of treatment to help the body rid itself of harmful toxins. The goal is to address withdrawal symptoms in order to help the person feel better faster.
Not all hallucinogens cause withdrawal when people stop taking them. But those that do may result in symptoms such as:
- Flashbacks or hallucinations.
- Distortions of the present reality.
- Cravings for the drug.
- Painful headaches.
- Symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.
- Excessive sweating.
A person who is detoxing off hallucinogenic drugs should be in a medically monitored detox program. This means a few different things. Medical staff will be able to frequently assess the person for any changes or emergencies. They can also provide medications for the purpose of treating specific withdrawal symptoms. For example, a person who is having hallucinations or paranoia may be placed on an antipsychotic to help with those symptoms.
The detoxification process can take as long as two weeks, in some cases. But most people are ready to move on to drug rehab within a week to ten days or so. Everyone is different, and this is why personalized treatment is so important.
Drug rehab is a critical step in addiction recovery. It involves various types of therapy to provide the necessary support. Both individual and group therapy are important components of rehabilitation. This is when the root cause of addiction is determined.
People start using hallucinogenic drugs for many different reasons. Sometimes they use out of curiosity because they want to experience what a trip is like. But over time, these drugs can and often are used as a way to self-medicate the symptoms of a mental health issue. This is called having a co-occurring disorder.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported that as many as 50% of people who go to drug rehab are struggling with a co-occurring disorder. These conditions are very real, and in many cases, they are undiagnosed, which is why the person has chosen to try and treat their symptoms on their own. Fortunately, dual diagnosis treatment can give them the help they need because it is a method of treating both mental health and addiction at the same time.
Services Offered at SpringBoard Recovery for Hallucinogenic Drug Addiction
At SpringBoard Recovery, we want people to know that they are not alone when it comes to addiction recovery. This is not something they need to do on their own, and there is so much support available to help them.
When a client comes to us for help with an addiction to hallucinogenic drugs, we first assess them to determine what they need. If we believe they could benefit from going through the detoxification process, we will arrange that and offer a detox referral. We only refer to programs that we know and trust. Afterward, those individuals are able to return to us for additional treatment.
At SpringBoard Recovery, we offer outpatient treatment for addiction. Our intensive outpatient program is among the best in the State of Arizona. It is flexible enough to fit into people’s daily schedules and intensive enough to give them the help they need. Our clients typically come to treatment between 3-5 times per week during the evening.
We also offer sober living services to those who need them. Many of our clients live in home situations that are not safe. They may be victims of domestic violence or abuse, or they may reside with people who use drugs and alcohol recreationally. Sober living can help them by giving them a safe place to live while they recover. We can also help them relocate afterward.
It has become a growing trend for people to travel for rehab, and our sober living home is available for people who choose to come to our facility from out of state as well.
Learn More About Hallucinogen Addiction, Treatment and Recovery
Recovering from an addiction to hallucinogenic drugs can be very difficult. It can be hard for people to imagine themselves never using these drugs again. But it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences a person has to know they are no longer dependent upon them.
Have you been thinking about getting help for hallucinogenic drug addiction? If so, please know that you are not alone. There are so many others who have struggled with the same issue and gotten help to recover. At SpringBoard Recovery, we offer personalized care to help people meet their goals of getting clean.
Would you like to learn more about hallucinogen addiction? Do you have questions about our drug treatment program that you would like to get answered? We are here to help. Please contact us today.