Hallucinogens, or psychedelics are a diverse group of drugs that alter a person’s sensations, self-awareness, thinking, and emotions. These drugs cause hallucinations, or sensations and images that seem real although they are not. Hallucinogens include LSD, acid, ecstasy (MDMA), mushrooms or “shrooms”, DMT, phencyclidine (PCP), and salvia. Some of these drugs come from natural sources, such as mescaline from the peyote cactus, while others are synthetic or manufactured.
Hallucinogens work partially by temporarily disrupting communication between brain chemical systems throughout the brain and spinal cord. The effects of hallucinogens can begin almost immediately and last somewhere between 30 minutes and 12 hours. The effects of salvia are more short-lived, appearing in less than 1 minute and lasting less than 30 minutes.
The effects of psychedelics are unpredictable and depend on the amount of the drug taken, the user’s personality, mood, expectations, and the surroundings in which the drug is taken.
Short-Term Effects of Hallucinogen Addiction Include:
- Increased heart rate
- Intensified feelings and sensory experiences
- Changes in sense of time
Physical Short-Term Effects of Hallucinogen Use Include:
- Increased blood-pressure, heart-rate, breathing rate, or body temperature
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Sleep issues
- Spiritual experiences
- Feelings of relaxation or detachment from self/environment
- Mixes senses (“seeing” sounds or “hearing” colors)
- Uncoordinated movements
- Excessive sweating
Long-Term Effects of Hallucinogen Addiction Include:
- Speech problems
- Memory loss
- Weight loss
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
Health Concerns Associated with Hallucinogen Use:
Users refer to the hallucinogenic experiences as “trips.” It is common for user’s to have a bad psychological reaction to LSD and similar drugs, these are referred to as “bad trips.” These scary sensations may last only a few minutes or several hours and range from being mildly frightening to terrifying. Users may experience panic, confusion, anxiety, helplessness, loss of control, or suspiciousness.
Two long-terms effects of hallucinogen use include psychosis and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD). A user may experience distorted reality and difficulty with communication and rational thinking after the trip has ended. HPPD, also known as “flashbacks” is when a person experiences the drug’s effects without taking the drug again.
How is Hallucinogen Abuse Treated?
At A New Start, Inc., hallucinogen abuse is treated with behavioral therapies. The therapists at our intensive outpatient treatment facility offer specialized treatment for dual-diagnosis, including anxiety, and low self-worth.
For more information about A New Start, Inc., and our outpatient drug treatment program, please contact us today at 1-844-TALK-ANS.