DMT Abuse and Addiction

Learn about DMT, its effects, signs of abuse, and how to treat DMT addiction.

What Is DMT?

DMT, also known as N-dimethyltryptamine, is an endogenous chemical. Endogenous chemicals are produced naturally by plants and animals, meaning our bodies produce DMT. That said, the version of the drug used illegally is a synthetic DMT that can cause a range of side effects, including dependency.1

What is DMT & How it works

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How DMT Works

DMT binds to receptors in the brain, increasing serotonin and sigma-1 activity. Sigma-1 receptors control a wide variety of neurological systems. The combined effects of these stimulations cause hallucinations, enhanced mood, and an overall sense of calm.

The exact reason why the body produces DMT is unknown. Common scientific theories suggest that DMT is produced to create dreams and help the body stave off fatal wounds or ease the transition into death. DMT is thought to be responsible for near-death hallucinations. In addition, withdrawal can make a person feel anxious or irritable. 

History of DMT Use

How we understand DMT and DMT abuse is largely attributed to three scientists. The drug was initially synthesized and studied by chemist Richard Manske in 1931. It wasn’t until fifteen years later that microbiologist Oswaldo Gonçalves de Lima classified DMT as endogenous after discovering it in plants. In 1956, chemist and psychiatrist Stephen Szar discovered the hallucinogenic properties of DMT after testing it on himself. Szar’s discovery answered many questions about commonalities between near-death experiences, various cultural myths, and more.1

DMT Abuse and Addiction

DMT, like other hallucinogens, has a high rate of abuse. Here are the facts:

How is DMT Abused?

DMT is commonly abused in recreational drug cultures and events. It gained a bad reputation in the 1960s due to socio-political views of hallucinogen use. DMT is as addictive as alcohol, cocaine, and heroin; however, DMT abuse is centered around a psychological craving for the drug as opposed to a chemical craving. That said, DMT, like any mind-altering drug, increases the risk of injury, comorbid conditions, and bodily strain.

The common methods of DMT abuse include smoking it or ingesting it in pill form. Another common form of DMT is the ayahuasca root, which is brewed into a tea and taken before going on spirit walks. This is usually done in the presence of someone who has experience with DMT and cultural origins. Nevertheless, these experienced people are rarely, if ever, trained medical professionals. As such, the risk of injury, addiction, and strain remains the same. 

How Common is DMT Addiction?

DMT addiction isn’t a common occurrence. Naturally occurring psychedelics have minimal risk for addiction. Regardless, any illegal drug has a risk of being in contact with or containing other chemicals. For example, DMT may contain traces of MDMA, ecstasy, and other harmful drugs. 

Additionally, someone with underlying addiction issues, such as alcohol abuse, has a higher chance of forming dependency. 

The Effects and Risks of DMT Abuse

Being able to spot DMT effects is key to preventing and counteracting an overdose. 

The Effects and Risks of DMT Abuse

Short-Term DMT Effects

Short-term DMT effects last minutes to hours. Here are the most common:1

Long-Term DMT Effects

Repeated abuse leads to the following long-term DMT effects:1

Signs and Symptoms of DMT Addiction

Here are the habits caused by DMT abuse:

Cravings for DMT

One of the common side effects of DMT is cravings. Cravings cause a person to prioritize DMT over everyday responsibilities. 

Using More DMT Than Intended

Ingesting an increasing amount to get the same effects means the body is building a tolerance. A DMT tolerance is a sign of dependency. The more a person takes, the stronger their DMT tolerance becomes. This can eventually lead a person to overestimate their DMT tolerance, resulting in health complications. 

Buying DMT Online More Frequently

Purchasing more of the drug, spending a considerable amount of money on it, and needing to buy more due to constantly running out are significant indicators of abuse and addiction.

Being Unable to Cut Back or Stop Using DMT

Another of the common side effects of DMT is uncontrollable use. Once a person focuses solely on DMT abuse at the expense of their life and responsibilities, dependency has set in. 

These signs and symptoms remain the same for synthetic DMT substance abuse; however, they could worsen when mixed with harmful chemicals. 

DMT Treatment for DMT Addiction

Options for DMT recovery exist. Here are a few:

Inpatient Drug Rehab and Outpatient Drug Rehab

Inpatient programs allow for a person to recover in a controlled medical facility. It’s best suited for emergency detox or patients who are unable or unwilling to detox in their home environment. 

Outpatient programs combine the medical services of an inpatient program with the freedom of regular life. A person can maintain their day-to-day life while attending check-ins for medicine and long-term detox goals. 

Both forms of treatment can be tailored to help people who have built a DMT tolerance and dependency. 

Evidence-Based DMT Treatment Methods and Therapies

These are some of the most effective methods when treating DMT abuse, DMT tolerance, substance abuse, and mental illness. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT doesn’t directly treat DMT effects. Instead, it helps a person think logically about their addictive tendencies, which in turn can help them make the internal change necessary for lasting sobriety.2

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT works by changing a person’s core values and views. Over time, the patient becomes less likely to succumb to DMT effects and cravings.3

Individual, Group, and Family Counseling

Family counseling helps educate family members about DMT effects and overall drug use. This helps a family better understand how addiction works, the steps it takes to recover, and how to support their loved one during treatment and recovery.4

Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT therapy helps patients gain a better understanding of themselves and their desires. DMT side effects can cause severe depression; however, a person is less likely to give in to negative thoughts with ACT.5

Specialized Therapies

DMT side effects and other forms of substance abuse can be subdued with various specialized therapies, such as music and art therapy. Having a positive hobby to focus on can make all the difference in recovery.6

Therapy also helps counteract the side effects of DMT and anxiety.

Continued Care Options

Recovery is a life-long journey. These are options that help people on their recovery journey after initial treatment: 

Sober Living Programs

Sober living programs are centered around a community of patients in recovery. The emotional and healthy support gained from living with people who are also in recovery has been shown to help a person’s resolve against drug use.

Aftercare Programs

Cravings will come and go throughout a person’s life, but when combined with the general stressors of life, the risk of relapse is heightened. Aftercare programs help sustain a person’s motivation to recover. 

Get Treatment Today for DMT Abuse and Addiction

Synthetic DMT use carries significant risks, but recovery is possible no matter how long a person has engaged in DMT abuse. The right DMT addiction treatment program is tailored to patients’ specific needs and teaches them positive coping mechanisms. We at Concise Recovery specialize in helping people turn their life around after DMT substance abuse. Do not hesitate to reach out.