What are Hallucinogens?
Hallucinogens are drugs that when used, cause hallucinations. Users see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem very real but do not exist. Some hallucinogens also produce sudden and unpredictable changes in the mood of those who use them. Hallucinogens can be addictive just like any substance that is abused, such as cocaine or heroin. With repeated use of hallucinogens, the user can begin to get used to the feeling they receive and the body can begin to crave it and develop an addiction where the users then believe the hallucinogens are needed to function.
Different types of Hallucinogens
As a group, hallucinogen drugs distort a person’s perception of reality in one way or another. Different types of hallucinogens distort a person’s perception in different ways. Distortions in perception result from alterations in the brain’s chemical processes and functions. each type of hallucinogen targets certain specific chemical processes, which accounts for the different “trips” or “highs” users experience.
Overall, three types of hallucinogens exist:
Under normal conditions, the brain uses a selection process that determines how a person perceives his or her surroundings. In effect, this process filters out certain aspects so a person can attend to a task or activity. Psychedelic hallucinogens strip away this selection process so users experience everything in their surroundings. Drugs belonging to this type of hallucinogen include:
When “high,” users experience an overwhelming sense of expansion where colors, sounds, smells and textures become worlds of their own. Seeing visions and hearing voices are also common.
The brain’s ability to translate sensory perceptions enables a person to experience his or her immediate environment. Dissociative hallucinogens create a state of sensory deprivation where the mind is free to create its own internal environment and perceptions.
Drugs belonging to this type of hallucinogen include:
- Magic mushrooms
While drug effects can vary from dose to dose and drug to drug, dissociative effects generally produce an “out-of-body-type” experience that leaves users in a trance state.
Unlike the other two types of hallucinogens, deliriant drug effects create false perceptions that have no basis in a person’s internal or external reality. Users enter a stupor-like state of confusion.
Deliriant type drugs include:
- Deadly Nightshade
- Jimson Weed
A person may start to hold conversations with imaginary people or go through the motions of completing a complex task, like getting dressed, without ever having picked out the clothes. In effect, deliriants create a psychotic state of mind where users can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy.
Hallucinogen Effects on The Brain
Hallucinogen effects target serotonin chemical processes in the brain. Serotonin acts as a vital neurotransmitter chemical that regulates a number of functions, some of which include:
- Ability to control one’s behavior
- Muscle movement controls
- Emotional state
- Feelings of hunger
- Sensory perceptions
- Sexual drive
Serotonin also interacts with two other key neurotransmitter chemicals known as dopamine and norepinephrine. Different types of hallucinogens may produce varying effects in terms of how serotonin influences dopamine and norepinephrine secretions.
Hallucinogens, in general come from plants, mushrooms and synthetically made formulas all of which contain varying consistencies of the drug. As a result, any one type of hallucinogen can produce one or more of the following effects:
- Rapid changes in mood
- Auditory hallucinations
- Visual hallucinations
- Tactile hallucinations
Abusing Hallucinogens can become very dangerous and a lot of people who abuse them do not realize what they could be getting themselves into. If you or someone you love may be abusing hallucinogens do not hesitate to call for help today!