PCP Addiction Treatment

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Drug Treatment Guide

pcpWhat is PCP?

PCP, known medically as phencyclidine,  is a dissociative anesthetic that can bring on episodes of delusions, hallucinations and out-of-body experiences. The highly addictive nature of the drug caused it to become a Schedule II drug due to the high risk of addiction and abuse. It became illegal for human consumption in 1965.

Also used in many other street drugs, PCP creates an “out of body” experience and enhances the psychedelic effects of drugs like LSD, marijuana and meth. PCP is sold mainly as a powder that can be smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected.

Street names for PCP include:
  • Zoom
  • Super grass
  • Peace pills
  • Angel dust
  • Embalming fluid
  • Killer weed

What are the Effects of PCP Abuse?

Anyone who abuses PCP can experience serious and even life-threatening symptoms. Depending on the dosage, the effects can range anywhere from feelings of drunkenness to seizures and death.

Some of the common effects of PCP abuse include:
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Behavior typical of someone who is drunk
  • Complete immobilization of limbs
  • Hallucinations
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

How does PCP Addiction Form?

While there is still much about the brain that scientists are still trying to understand, there is ample research into substance addiction to comprehend the causes of substance addiction. A common cause of mental addictions is the use of substances such as PCP in order to self-medicate. This is usually done in a case where the patient has an untreated mental disorder. The patient uses drugs to attempt to medicate their symptoms.

Further research shows that biological changes take place when substances like PCP are abused. This causes the person to become dependent on the drug in order to have a sense of normality. This effect that the drug has, along with unbalanced brain chemistry, can explain the hereditary nature of substance abuse.

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Addiction Treatment for PCP Addiction

PCP addiction rehab centers can help patients address the mental and physical aspects of addiction. The first step of treatment after evaluation is detox. During this procedure, patients are help to slowly wean them off the drug through the use of medications and other medical intervention. Board-certified doctors and nurses monitor patients to ensure they receive the best and most adequate care in a safe and comfortable environment.

Detox is followed by therapy to address the patient’s behavior and responses to situations that would usually cause them to resort to substance abuse. The detoxification is performed to deal with the physical dependence that has formed that makes the patient feel that they need PCP in order to cope. Behavioral therapies are conducted on the patient to help them deal with the mental dependence that occurs from substance abuse or the self-medicating they did to suppress symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.

What do I look for in a Drug Treatment Program?

Successful substance abuse rehab programs share many of the same principals. These principals are guiding factors that help give a patient the best chance at a full recovery. The following looks at some of the important principals behind drug treatment programs:

  • Different patients require different treatment programs: Each patient should be treated as an individual and treatment should be tailor-made to achieve the best results.
  • Substance addiction is a disease that can alter a person’s brain function and behavior: The disease of addiction is treatable, but the risk of relapse is clear. It can cause a person to make bad decisions even if they know the consequences.
  • Treatment should examine and help with other areas of the patient’s life: Problems that a person faces is often the motivation behind substance abuse. An effective treatment program should look at all the areas of the person’s life including co-occurring mental disorders, not just the addiction.
  • Treatment should be available when the patient is ready for it: Availability of treatment is important to ensure a patient gets the help he or she needs. If an addict is ready to enter PCP addiction treatment, the rehab center should be ready to take them in immediately as many addicts are uncertain about receiving treatment.
  • Treatment programs should be completed for the best success: Programs for addiction treatment are designed to be completed and if a patient does not give the treatment plan enough time, relapse is likely.
  • Aftercare programs and continued recovery is crucial: With the high rates of relapse with substance abuse, ongoing recovery programs that assist a patient’s transition from rehab to their normal life is important. Continued recovery through group therapy programs such as AA and NA can be the difference between a full recovery and relapse.


  1. Abuse, N. I. (n.d.). Hallucinogens. Retrieved August 30, 2016, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (November 12, 2013). The DAWN Report: Emergency Department Visits Involving Phencyclidine (PCP). Rockville, MD.

Last updated on July 19th, 2017 at 08:00 pm

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