Hallucinogens are psychoactive drugs that produce hallucinations, often called “trips.” These distortions in one’s perception of reality can be auditory, visual or tactile and can range from mild to quite severe, depending on the drug being used, the method of delivery, and the size of the dose.

Most of the common hallucinogens, including LSD, peyote, and psilocybin, affect serotonin reception in the brain. They produce a euphoric feeling accompanied by delusions and hallucinations. The user’s sense of time and self are often altered, and some users report “cross over” sensory experiences (e.g., smelling a color). In some cases users have reported feelings of terror, fear of insanity, and fear of death. Hallucinogens can also cause flashbacks, where someone suddenly relives part of their drug experience. These can occur soon after the drug was taken, or years later.

Hallucinogens are notoriously unpredictable, which makes them very dangerous. Because they are generally derived from plants, the amount of the active compound present varies greatly and can affect different people in different ways and to different degrees. Most hallucinogens are not considered addictive because they do not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior; however, they can produce tolerance, leading a person to take more and more to achieve the same experience. Due to the unpredictability of this class of drugs, this can be extremely dangerous. Cross-tolerance has also been demonstrated for hallucinogens, so if someone has built a tolerance to LSD, for example, they may also have a tolerance for psilocybin.

PCP is different from most hallucinogens. Instead of affecting serotonin reception, it affects glutamate receptors in the brain that influence pain reception, interaction with the environment, memory, and learning. Unlike many other hallucinogens, PCP is addictive, often causing compulsive drug-seeking behavior. PCP users experience dissociation with their environment, often feeling removed from their own experiences. PCP can also lead to an increase in anxiety and effects that mimic schizophrenia. PCP can often lead to violent and aggressive behavior, which, coupled with a reduced sense of pain and feelings of invincibility, often leads to injury or death.

Serenity House offers residential and outpatient treatment for a wide variety of addictions, including addiction to PCP. Our expert medical staff can help you safely detox from PCP use, and our licensed drug and alcohol abuse counselors will work with you to devise a personalized treatment plan to help you find true recovery.

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