Most people do not realize that they can get addicted to them, or that they might need treatment to stop using them. Better education is definitely needed to help people understand how dangerous they can be. But people also need to know that it is possible for them to get recovery assistance.
Hallucinogen abuse has been a topic of much debate for quite some time now. There are many professionals in the field of addiction treatment that have proven that these drugs have addictive potential. But there has also been research that shows that certain types of these drugs can have long-term mental health benefits. As far as the truth goes, it is difficult to say which group is correct.
More research needs to be done on hallucinogens to help us really understand them. But until we have more clarification on that, we want people to know about the risks. There are many drugs that have their benefits, but misusing them is likely to be dangerous. We also want to make sure people know about their treatment options.
The term "hallucinogen" is a class of various drugs that physically alter the way our bodies perceive light, sound, and touch.
They can also have an effect on thoughts and emotions as well. The combination of both psychological and physical stimulations can produce sensations that the user interprets as being real when, in fact, they are not.
Some common synthetically produced hallucinogens are LSD and MDMA (ecstasy) while the most popular natural hallucinogens are psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and peyote.
Researchers believe that the main mechanism behind the hallucinogenic effect of these substances involves interacting with the neurotransmitter serotonin. The most pronounced effects are seen in the prefrontal cortex which is largely responsible for regulating perception, mood, and cognition.
Most hallucinogens are typically ingested either by eating the plant or brewing a tea (psilocybin and peyote) or by taking the drug orally via pill or dissolved in the mouth with blotter paper (MDMA and LSD).
A few street names for hallucinogens to be aware of include:
Hallucinogens have also been known to be strongly associated with the club scene and are thought of by many as "party drugs." These substances in particular are frequently taken before or during outings to night clubs or house parties to intensify the effects of the evening.
Many hallucinogens tend to have overlapping side effects like an increased heart rate and nausea. Some of the short-term physical side effects of abusing hallucinogens broken down by drug type are as follows:
The actual length of the "high" produced by abusing hallucinogens can vary wildly depending on the substance. Generally, the effects can be felt within 20 to 90 minutes after ingestion with effects lasting on average 6 to 12 hours. MDMA users, on the other hand, will typically feel the effects for about 3 to 6 hours.
While these highs can involve intensely intricate hallucinations and feelings of euphoria, a powerful connection with the world, and extreme empathy, hallucinogens also carry with them the possibility of a "bad trip." A bad trip is characterized by disturbing visualizations, intense anxiety and panic, unrivaled terror, and an ultimate loss of self-identity. While these trips may be brought about by being in the wrong environment or not having the right mindset going into the experience, the fear of a bad trip alone is usually enough to keep people from abusing hallucinogens altogether.
When it comes to long-term side effects of hallucinogen addiction, the physical problems may seem a bit more disconcerting. While a lot of the science is still out on the long-term effects for many of these drugs, some studies have shown that regular use and abuse could cause two very serious problems: persistent psychosis and flashbacks.
Persistent psychosis is characterized by continuing mental problems brought about by drug use. These effects could include rapid and frequent mood changes, disorganized patterns of thinking, regular visual disturbances, and markedly high paranoia.
These incidences involve randomly feeling the effects of these drugs after the initial dose has already worn off. Hallucinogen abusers report that they have experienced these flashbacks anywhere from several days to more than a year after their last incident of using. Experiencing persistent flashbacks that interfere with normal functioning is called hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder or HPPD.
Another long-term side effect of hallucinogen addiction, particularly when it comes to psilocybin, is the possibility of poisoning from eating the wrong kind of mushroom which, depending on the type, can result in a host of health effects and the possibility even of death.
Similarly, especially in the case of MDMA, these substances are prone to being cut with other drugs. As they are typically purchased on the streets, hallucinogen users never really know whether the drug they are taking is pure or if it's made up of other, more harmful substances. As such, regular use of these drugs can lead to severe consequences to your health caused by these unknown substances.
Addiction to hallucinogens has, for the most part, been determined to be a primarily psychological effect rather than a physical one. By reinforcing positive associations with the substances as with other kinds of addictions, the brain begins seeking out ways to reproduce those behaviors to produce the same effect.
Given that much of the lasting effects are psychological then, a hallucinogen addict may report symptoms of withdrawal during recovery that correspond mostly with emotional states such as:
That being said, some users have reported experiencing physical side effects of hallucinogen abuse withdrawal like:
Besides these signs of withdrawal to watch out for, there are a few other behavioral patterns to keep in mind if you are trying to determine if someone you know has a hallucinogen abuse problem.
If you or someone you know appears to be addicted to hallucinogens, there are ways that you can help, most notably by getting them the professional care they need to kick the habit. A combination of inpatient and behavioral treatments along with counseling can help a hallucinogen addict get to the root of their addiction and end their dependence for good.
We love our home state of Idaho, and it is easy to believe that nothing terrible ever happens here. Of course, we would be wrong. Drug addiction is just as big a problem here as it is elsewhere, and there are a lot of people curious enough about hallucinogens to try them.
Take the case of a group of teenagers who had to get sent to the hospital after having used a hallucinogenic plant. A detective from the Ada County Sheriff's Department stated that the group were eating seeds from a plant called a moonflower. It grows along canals and irrigation banks.
The seeds of moonflowers are known to produce extreme euphoria. Eventually, they cause hallucinations and short-term memory loss. It is not uncommon for people to spike a fever, have intense nausea and feel incredibly dizzy after eating the seeds.
But unlike “bad trips” from other hallucinogens, eating moonflower seeds can have a much longer impact. The symptoms people experience from the plant can last as long as several days. It is not uncommon for users to start acting strangely, or even exhibit violent behaviors.
One officer stated, “It causes a lot of excitement and euphoria, then it turns on you very quick. You become very agitated, very angry, very violent.”
Many hallucinogenic drugs can have similar effects, and they are not at all as innocent as they seem. They can be dangerous, and the problem is right here in Idaho, not just somewhere across the country.
Once a person gets addicted to hallucinogens, getting off them without professional help can be a challenge. Most people find that they cannot stop using without some type of support. That is why going to drug rehab is so important.
Some people will be recommended for detox when they begin a rehabilitation program. But not everyone will simply because of the way these drugs affect people differently. Most who are addicted to hallucinogens will begin by going to rehab.
During rehab, addicts get the type of help they need to be successful. They get help with their withdrawal symptoms and treatment for co-occurring disorders. Participating in multiple forms of therapy helps them see their addictions in a different light. It also allows them to envision their lives without feeling the need to use.
Ashwood Recovery is home to one of the best outpatient drug treatment centers in Idaho.
When a patient comes to us for help, the first step is to do an assessment. From there, we can determine what level of care they need. If they need to go through detox, we make a referral for a local program we know. Once they are ready to begin rehab, we place them in the proper level of care to meet their needs. We offer:
We recognize that our clients need and deserve a personalized approach to addiction recovery. Everyone we work with gets their own dedicated treatment plan with goals and methods that are unique to them.
In short, yes. They are required to provide addiction treatment benefits by law, because of the Affordable Care Act. But please note that every insurance policy is different, and this does not guarantee complete coverage.
At Ashwood Recovery, nothing matters more to us than our clients’ success in rehab. We have worked really hard to put programs in place that are flexible enough to meet their needs. Hallucinogens can be quite dangerous, and anyone who is addicted to them should strongly consider getting professional help. Otherwise, they may never be able to recover.