Hallucinogen Addiction: More than just a Bad Trip
In recent decades, hallucinogens have been more evident in recreational drug use. These drugs cause weird side effects like visions, skewed perceptions, and audio hallucinations. Although people think these drugs are natural and harmless, many are man-made and provide terrifying side effects. Another myth is that hallucinogen addiction is not possible. However, studies show that tolerance levels do grow infrequent users, which are a sign of addictive behaviors. Thankfully, treatment for hallucinogen addiction proves to be effective with the proper understanding of these drugs’ effects.
What is LSD?
Lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD or acid, is perhaps the most well-known hallucinogenic drug. In 1938, the chemist Albert Hoffman, who accidentally tasted its hallucinogenic active ingredient while researching the fungus, ergot, discovered LSD. This man-made recreational drug was administered for psychological research and treatment. Today, the drug is manufactured and sold illegally in the US. Since LSD is transforms into a liquid upon manufacturing, it can be sold in individual doses in the form of tablets, jello squares, candies, and dissolvable paper. Effects of LSD include:
- Raised heart rate
- Decreased appetite
- Distorted perceptions
- Head spins
The most likely of consequences from using acid is a bad trip. A bad trip is when an LSD experience goes completely wrong. Instead of feelings of euphoria, the user will feel panicked, anxious, and even severely depressed. A bad trip can last as long as the effects of LSD, up to 12 hours. Additional negative side effects occur when the use of this drug is long-term. Frequent users can experience flashbacks of their LSD experiences, causing sorrow that can last for years. Although there is no evidence of physiological dependence in LSD users, a raised tolerance may lead to addictive behaviors surrounding the drug.
What is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic ingredient present in over 200 species of mushrooms. These mushrooms grow organically or farmed in areas of South America and the United States. Since Psilocybin has no medical uses, it is an illegal drug used mostly for recreational purposes. On the street, Psilocybin is identified as just simply mushrooms, or shrooms for short. Hallucinogenic mushrooms are eaten or boiled down into a tea for consumption. The effects of Psilocybin include:
- Relaxed state
Although mushrooms do not lead to physical dependence, tolerance levels do rise with frequent use. This could lead to a psychological dependence and addictive behaviors. Additionally, since the government does not regulate mushrooms for medicinal purposes, ingestion can lead to accidental poisoning, health problems or even death.
What is Peyote?
Peyote is a cactus that develops the hallucinogen previously talked about. Mescaline, the active hallucinogen of the Peyote cactus, if found on extended bumps on the plant. Manufacturers create Mescaline either naturally or synthetically. For as long as we know, Native North and South Americans have used Peyote in spiritual and medical practices for its hallucinogenic effects. The bumps of the Peyote cactus that contain mescaline can be imbibed, boiled into a liquid, or ground up to smoke with either tobacco or cannabis. The high from mescaline does not occur until almost two hours after ingestion and can remain for as long as 12 hours. Effects of mescaline use include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased bodily temperature
- Distorted perception
Frequent use of Peyote does not likely lead to addiction, but tolerance levels, much like the other hallucinogens, may rise. When this happens, a psychological dependence on mescaline can occur which results in addictive behaviors and tendencies. Also, increased tolerance for mescaline can translate to other hallucinogens, which raises the risk for addiction.
What is DMT?
Much like the Peyote cactus, DMT, or N-Dimethyltryptamine, has been used for hundreds of years in the religious practices of the natives in South America. DMT is naturally found in a few species of a plant located in regions of the Amazon, but can also be conjured in a lab by humankind. DMT can be found in small amounts in the human brain and serves to help users cope with strange or traumatic experiences. Although other hallucinogens provide hours of tripping, the high from DMT only lasts around 10 minutes. The effects of DMT include:
- Distorted perceptions
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
Although addiction to DMT is not likely, psychological dependence can occur in frequent users which may result in addictive tendencies. Additionally, serious side effects like seizures, coma, and death, may arise when a user takes too much DMT. Along with health issues, frequent users experience serotonin syndrome wherein they experience mental damage. This condition occurs when a person takes too many drugs that affect the natural levels of serotonin in the brain.
Help for Hallucinogen Addiction
If you or a loved one frequently use hallucinogens with recurring negative side effects, hallucinogen addiction could be the problem. An addiction is continuing to use a substance after it is clear that it brings negative consequences. If you or a loved one is struggling with hallucinogen addiction, there is help by way of treatment. Stop the damage done to your mind and body by deciding that you are going to receive help today.