Many medications known as hallucinogens change a person’s perception of their immediate environment and internal thoughts and emotions. Dissociative drugs (such as PCP) and classic hallucinogens (such as LSD) are the two main types. Both forms of hallucinogens have the potential to produce hallucinations or the perception of actual yet fictitious feelings and pictures. Users may also experience a sense of disconnection from their physical and social environments as a side effect of dissociative substances.
Some hallucinogens are created synthetically, while others are derived from plants or mushrooms. Hallucinogens have long been utilized in religious and therapeutic ceremonies. Using these medicines for amusement, stress relief, spiritual awakenings, or a new experience has become more common.
Classic Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs
The following are some of the most common classic hallucinogens:
- LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide
- Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine)
- Peyote (mescaline)
- N, N-dimethyltryptamine - often known as DMT
These are common dissociative substances:
- PCP (Phencyclidine)
- Dextromethorphan (DXM)
- Salvia divinorum
There are a variety of modes by that a person can use hallucinogens. They include:
- Using drug-soaked paper pieces to consume the drug via the mucous membranes of the mouth
- Swallowing pills or tablets.
- Smoking, vaping, or inhaling
- Swallowing a liquid
- Dried or raw
- Brewing as a tea
Multiple methods can be used for different kinds of substances. For example, a person can take LSD as drug-soaked pieces of paper or liquid or as tablets or pills.
The Goal Isn’t To Be Sober. The Goal Is To Love Yourself So Much That You Don’t Need To Drink.
Effects of Hallucinogens on the Brain and Body
Hallucinogens vary from opiates and stimulants in that they change serotonin synthesis in the brain. Hallucinogen side effects might result from changes in other neurotransmitter levels brought about by serotonin influx, depending on the drug.
Dopamine and norepinephrine may be affected by serotonin. Arousal and the body’s stress response are linked to norepinephrine, whereas dopamine modulates pain and pleasure. Arousal-based activities of norepinephrine and pain/pleasure-based dopamine activities may contribute to the hallucinogen’s side effects.
The use of hallucinogens frequently puts the brain’s secretory systems under stress. Psychedelic effects diminish when serotonin production declines in the body.
The negative impact of hallucinogens necessitates a constant increase in dosage to sustain usage. When doses are closer together, tolerance builds faster.
In addition to building tolerance, hallucinogens may create cross-tolerance with other hallucinogen drugs. Tolerance to hallucinogens of all kinds, rather than from just one particular type, would follow from this development.
Short-Term Side Effects
The unfavorable short-term consequences of hallucinogens may differ based on the drug consumed. In addition to sensory effects, users may also experience a range of physiological effects.
These are hallucinogens’ sensory side effects:
- Altered time perception
- Seeing imagined visions
- A combination of sensory stimuli, including the ability to smell colors and hear noises
- Seeing light trails
- Observing dazzling hues
Some adverse physical effects include:
- Prevalence of high blood pressure
- Muscle stiffness
- Elevated heart rates
- Seizure potential
- Increased respiration rates
- Chilly and hot flashes occur alternately
- Fine tremors
Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder
Some persons who use these drugs may experience hallucinations that permanently damage their brain’s ability to process sensory information. This is especially true for previous LSD users. This hallucinogen side effect, known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), causes flashbacks of past drug “highs” that can occur. This state resembles psychosis and may remain for years after a person stops using drugs.
A “bad trip” is a hallucinogen adverse effect that does not exist for other addictive substances. Hallucinogens are prone to this. If a person is using hallucinogens, they might have both “good trips” and “bad trips,” according to the U.S. DEA. It depends on factors like the person’s expectations of the drug and the present state of mind while using the substance.
In contrast to the euphoric, near-divine sensations that sometimes accompany “good trips,” unpleasant, sensory-based “bad trips” are more common. As a result of using hallucinogens, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Feeling as if bugs are crawling on the skin
- Seeing images that are upsetting
- A sense of dark despair
- Panic or utter dread
People who use hallucinogens regularly and for an extended time risk developing a full-blown psychosis. The “highs” they experience often accompany a drug-induced psychotic state. This psychedelic adverse effect might last for years after someone has stopped taking drugs, impairing their general functioning.
The following psychedelic side effects might cause psychosis:
- Inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy
- Disorganization is one’s thinking and communication with others
- Depression in its most extreme form
- Erratic behavior
It has been shown that addiction and tolerance to certain hallucinogens are potential effects but not always the case.
LSD, for example, is not considered addictive due to its inability to induce drug-seeking behavior. Due to the tolerance-building effect of LSD, some users may need higher doses to have the same effect. Because of the unpredictability of the substance, this is an unsafe practice. LSD usage also increases tolerance to other hallucinogens, such as psilocybin.
Uncertainty surrounds DMT’s potential for misuse and addiction. DMT, unlike other hallucinogens, seems to have no impact on the user's tolerance. On the other hand, ayahuasca tea addiction appears to be pretty uncommon.
In contrast, PCP is a hallucinogen that may develop into dependency. Withdrawal symptoms like drug cravings, headaches, and sweating often follow PCP dependence.
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Drug abuse can lead to devastating consequences. If you or someone you love is struggling with hallucinogens, contact us for help today. At Wish Recovery, our primary goal is to provide the best substance abuse treatment and help those struggling with substance use disorders reclaim their lives. We have dedicated professionals who believe that recovery is possible for everyone. We offer inpatient treatment programs for many addictions, including hallucinogens. Contact us now. A specialist is standing by.