Hallucinogens are drugs that when used, cause hallucinations. Users see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem very real but do not exist. Although there are different types of hallucinogen drugs, some produce sudden and unpredictable changes in the mood of those who use them which can be dangerous for the user as well as others. They can be addictive just like any substance that individuals abuse, such as cocaine or heroin. With repeated use of these drugs, the user can begin to get used to the feeling they receive, and the body can start to crave it and develop an addiction where the users then believe the hallucinogens are needed to function.
Different Types of Hallucinogen Drugs
As a group, all types of hallucinogen drugs distort a person’s perception of reality in one way or another. Various types of hallucinogens distort a person’s perception in different ways. These distorted perceptions 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 hallucinogen drugs 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 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 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 some 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 regarding how serotonin influences dopamine and norepinephrine secretions.
Hallucinogens, in general, come from plants, mushrooms and synthetically made formulas all of which contain different 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!