What are Hallucinogens?
Hallucinogens, also known as psychedelics or dissociatives, include all psychoactive compounds known to cause hallucinations and subjective changes in consciousness. There are a wide range of hallucinogenic drugs on the market, from natural compounds such as mescaline and Datura to synthetic compounds like LSD.
Although an addiction to these drugs is not as common as with other substances, dependence is still possible. These drugs are not without their dangers; temporary psychosis possible and both mental illness and psychological dependence is possible in long-term users. Physical dependence is evident in those who need more of the drug to achieve the initial high, as well as the presence of withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug.
What are Some Common Hallucinogenic Drugs?
Hallucinogenic drugs come in many forms, including psychedelics, research chemicals, dissociatives, and deliriants.
- LSD: Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD is potent hallucinogen that causes a state that mimics psychosis for a short-time period.
- PCP: Phencyclidine (PCP) gives people an “out of body” experience and can cause agitated and irrational thoughts and feelings. As of 1965, this drug is no longer allowed for human consumption.
- DOx, 2CB, and NBOMe: These are common research chemicals, which are new and almost completely untested. The dangerous associated with these chemicals is not yet known.
- Ketamine, nitrous oxide, and DXM: These are dissociatives substances that produce analgesia, amnesia, and catalepsy at high doses, and a sense of detachment at lower doses.
- Mushrooms, Datura, Salvia divinorum, Peyote and Brugmansia: These deliriants are in the plant group, and they induce a state of delirium that can be recognized by extreme confusion and uncontrolled actions.
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Physical vs. Psychological Addiction
Physical drug dependence is recognized by increased tolerance and the existence of physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use. In contrast, psychological dependence is recognized by the existence of emotional and motivational symptoms when drug use is stopped.
While physical dependence is normally accompanied by psychological factors, the opposite is not necessarily the case. The dangers of hallucinogens are different to those associated with many other drugs. Hallucinogens may not cause addiction in some, but long term substance abusers are at an increased risk for dependence.
A psychological dependence can be present when:
- The user takes more of the drug more frequently to achieve the initial high
- The person will do anything to get the drug
- They begin avoiding home or work
- Become isolated from friends and family
- Continue using the drug despite obvious and dangerous consequences
Rehabilitation for Addiction
Addiction treatment for hallucinogen addiction can take place in an outpatient or inpatient rehab setting, depending on the individual’s health and history with substance abuse. Inpatient rehab requires patients to reside in the facility, and attend regular meetings and group activities. This form of rehab has proven to be the most effective as it provides a strict daily routine and eliminates any outside distractions so that patients can solely focus on their recovery.
Outpatient rehab programs are designed for those who cannot leave their work or home responsibilities behind for an extended period of time. Patients will be able to return home at the end of the day once therapy sessions are over. This type of rehabilitation works best if the person has a strong support system and is committed fully to their sobriety.
Common treatment models include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- Motivational incentives
- Motivational interviewing
- 12-step recovery programs
- Relapse prevention programs
Aftercare support programs also play an important role once the patient leaves the rehab center. These aftercare services include: SMART Recovery, 12-step support groups, ongoing counseling, andsober living communities.