Hallucinogenic drugs can broadly be defined as those that distort the way the user perceives reality. The use of hallucinogenic drugs can cause rapid and unpredictable changes in mood and behavior as well as cause the user to experience visual, auditory and tactile sensations that are not real.
Which drugs are considered hallucinogens?
Hallucinogenic drugs can be found in nature, usually in plant or fungus form, or can be man-made. The following are some of the more commonly known hallucinogenic drugs:
- LSD (acid)
- Psilocybin (magic mushrooms)
- PCP (angel dust)
- MDMA (ecstasy)
What are the effects on one’s brain?
Hallucinogenic drugs can be divided into two categories; classic hallucinogens and dissociative drugs.
Classic Hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD effect the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that regulates mood, perception and cognition. The interaction of nerve cells and serotonin, which controls behavior, sensory perception, muscle control and sexual behavior, are disrupted. Users may experience emotional swings, unreasonable fear and long term psychotic episodes.
Dissociative drugs like PCP alter the distribution of glutamate, which is linked to pain perception and memory. Visual and auditory perception is distorted and users may experience a sense of detachment from self and the environment.
While there are limited control studies available regarding the impact of hallucinogenic drug use on the brain, several case studies report that hallucinogenic drug users experience feelings ranging from blissful to hopeless. Users sometimes report being in a dream like state, disconnected from the normal activities and relationships they once enjoyed. Long term abusers report memory loss as well as difficulty with speech and thought.
Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, a chronic and debilitating condition experienced by some users, can result from frequent hallucinogen abuse. External sensory perception is marred by streaking and trailing images and depression and anxiety can be long lasting or permanent.
How are they abused?
The continued use of hallucinogenic drugs despite negative consequences on the user’s life and health is a sign of abuse. Often those that abuse hallucinogens will have a distorted self image, a warped perception of time, unpredictable mood swings and behavior, and an overall disconnect from reality that negatively impacts their life. For long term hallucinogenic drug abusers, there is a risk of flashbacks and psychotic episodes and hallucinogens addiction treatment may be necessary.
Can hallucinogens help addicts?
Traditionally, hallucinogenic drugs have been used around the world in spiritual practices. The altered state of consciousness that results from the ingestion of hallucinogens has been regarded as the path to spiritual awakening.
Because hallucinogens contain chemical compounds similar to serotonin, a chemical in the body thought to regulate feelings of well being and happiness, some researchers believe that the controlled use of hallucinogenic drugs may be the key to helping people overcome addiction.
Some studies on the influence of hallucinogenic drug therapy show that treatment can help reduce cravings and increase motivation, however, the long term impact on behavior remains unclear.
Although the effects of hallucinogenic drug therapy require further study, research shows that the physical impact of hallucinogenic drug abuse can be dangerous and potentially deadly.
Potential Effects of Hallucinogenic Drugs
- Heart failure
- Lung failure
- Abnormal or rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Impaired memory
Not all hallucinogenic drugs are considered to be addictive, but the psychosis and depression experienced by some users often require professional help. Hallucinogenic drug treatment can help users look at why they turned to drug use in the first place and can help them deal with the psychological and physical consequences of this type of drug abuse.
If you or someone you know are abusing these kinds of drugs, an hallucinogens rehab center may be the answer. The team of specialists at Luxury Beach Rehab can help you better understand potential risks of hallucinogenic drug abuse and can guide your long term recovery.