Hallucinogens are a type of drug that distorts the way the user perceives reality. Users of hallucinogens hear sounds, see images, and feel sensations that don’t actually exist. This makes it hard for users to think and communicate with others, and the use of hallucinogens can also cause mood swings. When used in high doses, it can cause seizures and convulsions. While the use of this drug is generally not life threatening, a user may suffer physical injuries while experiencing intense hallucinations.
Types of Hallucinogens
One of the most common types of hallucinogens used today is LSD. Otherwise known as acid, LSD is a manufactured chemical that is not found in nature. Other manufactured hallucinogens include Ecstasy, PCP, Ketamine, and DXM which can be found in cough medicines.
There are also some hallucinogens that are often found in nature, including mushrooms. Hallucinogenic mushrooms are not as strong as manufactured LSD, but they can cause the same types of effects on the user.
LSD, Ecstasy, and PCP are the most common hallucinogens teenagers and young adults experiment with at raves and parties. About 9.1 percent of people aged 12 and older have reported using LSD at least once. PCP has a lower usage rate at 2.5 percent of the population over 12 years of age. Even though more people have tried LSD, it is not as common as the other drugs. LSD can cause intense hallucinations, and is more likely to cause a bad trip compared to PCP and Ecstasy.
LSD is not considered to be physically addictive, and the user will not experience any negative side effects when they stop using the drugs. However, users can build up a tolerance, then use more of the drug and may develop an emotional addiction to the drug, which is often harder to treat than physical dependence.
Risks and Effects
There are quite a few risks of experimenting with Ecstasy, PCP, and LSD. Not only can these drugs affect the way the body functions, the drugs also make the users more likely to injure themselves:
- May cause seizures
- Can cause extreme anxiety, fear, or paranoia
- Confusion between what is real and what is not
- Hallucinations may cause dangerous or fatal accidents
There are also many short-term effects of using any of these drugs. The effects vary on each individual user. The effects experienced will depend on whether the person is alone or with a group of people, how much of the drug was ingested, the user’s personality and moods at the time, their expectations of what will happen, and whether or not the user is taking other drugs or consuming alcohol at the same time. They alter the state of mind of the user, and these effects can cause dependency:
- Hallucinations of sound, taste, feeling, and sight
- Detachment from the body
- Intense mood swings and feeling multiple moods at the same time
- Accelerated heart rate
- Dilated pupils
- Nausea and loss of appetite
Another major effect of using LSD is the potential of having a bad trip. Since hallucinogens are unpredictable, it is hard to know if a user will have an enjoyable trip or a bad trip. Even if a user has an enjoyable trip the first time does not mean that they will never experience a bad trip. Some of the effects of having a bad trip are listed here:
- Nightmare hallucinations
- Extreme panic or paranoia
- Muscle spasms
- Convulsions and unconsciousness
- Loss of coordination
- Aggressive and violent behavior
- Catatonic syndrome
Long-Term Effects of Using Hallucinogens
There are a few long-term effects of using LSD, PCP, and Ecstasy that will affect the user for years even after they stop using the drugs. One of the common effects is flashbacks of the thoughts and feelings that were experienced during the use of the drugs. The flashbacks can be so powerful the user can experience distortions of their current reality. It can be very frightening to experience these flashbacks, which can cause more damage.
Another long-term effect is the use of the drugs can cause the brain to not function properly, putting the user at risk of developing psychosis and mental disorders, especially for teenagers and young adults who still have developing brains.
Natural hallucinogens, such as magic mushrooms, are not as potent as manufactured hallucinogens, but they are still dangerous and can have lasting effects on the user. The naturally occurring hallucinogens include psilocybin, DMT, Datura, and Mescaline. Mushrooms contain psilocybin, and they are native to Mexico. Other mushrooms grow around the world, including Australia. The effects of mushrooms are similar to those caused by LSD. DMT is similar to psilocybin, and it is found in other plants and the bark of some trees. The natural form is a crystal, but it is often sold on the streets in powder form.
Risks and Effects
The risks and effects of naturally occurring Hallucinogens are similar to LSD, PCP, and Ecstasy. Even though the drugs aren’t as strong as manufactured drugs, they can still make the user have a good or bad trip. The short-term effects of using naturally occurring hallucinogens are listed below.
- Vivid distortions in perceptions, otherwise known as hallucinations
- Bad coordination which makes it hard to move naturally
- Distorted sense of place and time
- Increased sweating and body temperatures or chills
- Poor concentration
The effects that a user experiences will vary user to user and also depending on the different times that the user takes the drugs. It is possible to have a good trip one time and a bad trip the next. It all depends on the way the user was feeling before they took the drugs and how much they took.
The long-term effects of mushrooms and other naturally occurring hallucinogens are also similar. Flashbacks can occur in users even after they have stopped taking the drugs. They can occur years after taking the drug. Other long-term effects include impaired memory and long-term anxiety and depression issues. These effects are worse for young adults and teenagers, as the use of the drugs interferes with the normal development of the brain.
Seeking Help for Hallucinogens Addictions
Although it is highly unlikely for users to develop a physical addiction to hallucinogens, users can become dependent on the drug emotionally and not want to stop. Users who develop a psychological dependence on these drugs may have a harder time stopping the use of the drug compared to physical addictions. There are a lot of mental aspects as to why a user would develop an addiction, including escaping from reality and anxiety problems.
Users who are addicted to hallucinogens can get the best help that they need by attending an inpatient treatment facility. The staff members are non-judgmental and they are trained to help addicts recover. It doesn’t matter what type of drugs are being used, these treatment centers can help.
Since regular users may experience a craving for the drug if they stop using, being in an inpatient facility would help prevent the user from getting the drug. They can focus on getting better without having the temptation of attaining more drugs, since they won’t be able to leave the facility. Inpatient centers also have counselors that can help the users find a better way to cope with their emotions so that they can stay recovered once they leave the treatment facility.
If anyone you know is addicted to hallucinogens, the best thing that you can do to help them, or yourself, is to get them to go to an inpatient facility. You should not wait because any use can cause a bad trip and may cause you or your loved one to have a serious accident.