What Are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are addictive, interfere with brain chemical systems, and come laced with long-term and short-term effects.

What Are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogenic drugs are a class of drugs that alters awareness of one’s feelings, thoughts, and surroundings. Classic hallucinogens, such as LSD, and dissociative drugs, such as PCP, are two of the main types of hallucinogenic medications. Some of these drugs are extracted from mushrooms or plants, while others are human-made or synthetic.
Hallucinogens create realistic sensations, hallucinations, and images for the user that aren’t actually real. In addition, dissociative drugs may cause one to feel disconnected from their body or environment. Historically, people have used hallucinogens in healing or religious rituals, while more recently, they’ve been used for social purposes like coping with stress or having fun.
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Ways People Consume Hallucinogens

People use hallucinogens in different ways depending on the drug, including:

  • Swallowing as pills, liquid, or tablets
  • Consuming dried or raw drugs
  • Snorting
  • Injecting
  • Vaporizing, smoking, or inhaling
  • Brewing them into tea
  • Using drug-soaked paper pieces to absorb on the lining of the mouth

Types Of Hallucinogens

The types of hallucinogens differ depending on the method of use, production, and the kinds of effects it causes.

Classic Hallucinogens

Some common classic hallucinogenic drugs include:

  • Ayahuasca: this is a hallucinogenic brew made from Amazonian plants containing the primary psychoactive ingredient DMT and a vine that contains a natural alkaloid. The alkaloid prevents DMT from breaking down generally in the digestive tract.
  • Dimethyltryptamine (DMT): this can either be extracted from the Amazonian plant species Ayahuasca, or scientists can also produce it synthetically. Synthetic DMT is a white crystalline powder that may be smoked or vaporized in a pipe.
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD): this is a highly potent perception- and mood-altering psychedelic drug. It is white or clear, water-soluble, and odorless. It’s formed from lysergic acid found in rye fungus. LSD produced in crystalline form can produce tablets called “microdots” or thin-squared gelatins called “window panes.” LSD may also dissolve in alcohol or water and be taken in liquid form; however, its most common form is LSD-soaked paper punched into individual squares.
  • MDMA: this is both a hallucinogen and stimulant commonly found in tablet form. The drug disturbs perception and time, creates energizing effects, and enhances overall enjoyment. It also has tendencies to increase self-awareness and empathy.
  • Mescaline (peyote): this can be extracted naturally from the peyote cactus. It may be chewed or soaked in water to produce a liquid after cutting out the cactus and drying it. Since the liquid is bitter, some people boil the plant for hours and prepare tea instead.
  • Psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”):
    this is extracted from some mushroom types found in Mexico, South America, and the U.S. The drug may be eaten raw, dried, brewed into tea, or mixed with food.
  • THC: this has been an active ingredient in cannabis used as herbal medicine since the first century. THC is known to produce a state of relaxation when one inhales its vapors.

Dissociative Drugs

Some common dissociative hallucinogenic drugs include:

  • Dextromethorphan (DXM): this is an ingredient in expectorants sold in some over-the-counter cough and cold medications. For this reason, many young adults and adolescents can easily get the drug and misuse it. Over-the-counter medications containing DXM also include decongestants and antihistamines.
  • Ketamine: this is manufactured as an injectable liquid, though most people evaporate the drug to form a powder that is then compressed into pills and sold illegally. Most people acquire ketamine from vet offices since the drug is also used as an animal anesthetic.
  • Phencyclidine (PCP): this can take the form of tablets, powder, or liquid, though it was initially developed as an anesthetic for surgery.
  • Salvia divinorum: this is a psychoactive plant common in South and Central America and Mexico. You can chew fresh leaves, drink extracted juices, or inhale smoked leaves.

Side Effects of Hallucinogens

Research shows that hallucinogens interfere with the communication within the brain’s chemical systems throughout the spinal cord and the brain. Some side effects of hallucinogens include impacted mood, sleep, hunger, sexual behavior, and sensory perception. In comparison, dissociative drugs disrupt the chemical glutamate responsible for emotions, memory and learning, pain perception, and environmental responses.
The side effects of hallucinogens depend on the type of drug. For instance, classic hallucinogens can make you hear sounds, see images, and feel sensations that are not true. These effects can begin twenty to ninety minutes after taking the drug, and may last as long as twelve hours or even longer in extreme cases. While under the influence of hallucinogens, most people call the feeling a “trip,” and when the experience is unpleasant, it becomes “a bad trip.”

Short Term Effects

Apart from hallucinations, other short-term effects are:
  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Intensified feelings
  • Extreme sensory experiences
  • Changes in the perception of time, like believing that time is slowly passing by
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Panic or paranoia
  • Bizarre behaviors
  • Spiritual experiences
  • Psychosis
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep problems

Long Term Effects

Long-term effects of hallucinogens are either persistent psychosis or Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). Persistent psychosis is a series of continued mental problems like paranoia, visual disturbances, mood changes, and disorganized thinking. HPPD is flashbacks of specific drug experiences, like hallucinations, that often resemble a brain tumor or stroke symptoms. The flashbacks occur without warning and may happen a few days or a year after developing a hallucinogen substance use disorder.

Hallucinogen Overdose and Withdrawal

In some cases, people may get addicted to hallucinogens. While LSD does not cause uncontrollable drug-seeking behaviors, one may develop a tolerance to it and begin taking larger doses to achieve similar effects. LSD is unpredictable and can also cause tolerance to other psychedelic drugs, like psilocybin.

Let’s look at various hallucinogen effects regarding overdose and withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of Overdose

Some hallucinogens overdose symptoms include:

  • Agitation (overly violent behavior, excitement)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Heavy sweating
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure
  • Side-to-side eye movements
  • Psychosis – losing contact with reality
  • Uncontrolled movement

Once you or a loved one’s body develops a tolerance to the drug, stopping or reducing the drug can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

The severity of the symptoms depends on the types of hallucinogens you use, the length of use, your physiology and genetic makeup, and more.

Psychological Effects

The psychological effects of hallucinogen withdrawal can include severe mood swings, panic attacks, low impulse control, and flashbacks. Physical hallucinogen withdrawal symptoms may show up as:
  • Headache
  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleeplessness
  • Numbness
Hallucinogens

Treatment For Hallucinogens Addiction at Concise Recovery

Finding treatment is an important step in the recovery process, and the support of people you trust drastically helps decrease recovery time. Hallucinogenic treatment is available, and there are various options.

Hallucinogens Detoxification Services

These work to help your body remove harmful psychedelic drugs from its system. Detox is carried out in emergency departments or hospitals, as hallucinogen abuse may cause injury, medical complications, or “a bad trip.” Detox combines observation and intervention to diagnose the side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Doctors then introduce antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs to stabilize patients.

Counseling Services

Behavioral therapy is a different therapy approach that help you fight hallucinogenic drug addiction. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps to change negative thoughts or emotions into more positive ones. Motivational therapies give a reward when one achieves certain treatment milestones.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapy is a different therapy approach that help you fight hallucinogenic drug addiction. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps to change negative thoughts or emotions into more positive ones. Motivational therapies give a reward when one achieves certain treatment milestones.

Get Help Today

Health professionals at Concise Recovery can help guide you through the treatment process and help you or a loved one every step of the way. We take our patients through rigorous behavioral programs, support groups, and treatment methods based on their unique needs. Recovery is a process, and we are willing to walk with you through your journey. Don’t hesitate to contact our team on matters regarding hallucinogenic abuse, addiction, and more.