Can You Be Addicted to Hallucinogens?

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Can You Be Addicted to Hallucinogens?


Hallucinogens are a large group of drugs that alter thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Hallucinations can be found in plants, mushrooms, or be man-made. Hallucinations are sensations and images that seem real, although they are not. Hallucinogens have been used for centuries, often in religious rituals, and gained popularity in the 70’s in the U.S. Not all hallucinogens cause hallucinations.


There are many types of hallucinogens. There are three main categories of hallucinogens. Psychedelics are the most well-known and include LSD, Psilocybin (mushrooms), PCP, and Peyote. There are dissociative hallucinogens like Nitrous Oxide and Ketamine. There are also over the counter medicines like Benadryl and Dramamine that are classified as hallucinogens. There are lesser known hallucinogens like Ayahuasca, a tea that is popular in spiritual ceremonies and DMT, both derived from Amazonian plants.  Some hallucinogens can cause users to feel out of control and disconnection from their environment.


Some hallucinogens are addictive. LSD is one hallucinogen that people can develop a tolerance to. While it doesn’t create drug seeking behavior like an opiate, it does produce tolerance. Tolerance means the user needs to take more of the drug to get the same effects. One unusual thing about LSD is that it can also produce tolerance to another drug, psilocybin.


PCP, another type of hallucinogen, induces withdrawal when stopped. It can cause severe mood disturbances like panic attacks and anxiety. Common withdrawal symptoms from PCP are sweating, drug cravings, and headaches.  There are currently no government approved medications to treat addiction to hallucinogens. More research is indicated to find the best treatment protocols for hallucinogen addiction.


Like LSD, psilocybin is a hallucinogen with addictive potential. It produces tolerance when used repeatedly. Not enough research has been done to examine physical dependency. One risk of taking mushrooms is that users can mistake wild, poisonous mushrooms for the mushrooms that produce a high. This poison can be deadly.


Hallucinogens affect the brain, specifically the brain chemicals serotonin and glutamate. Serotonin helps regulate sleep, mood, sensory perception, hunger, temperature, muscle control, and sexual behavior. Glutamate, another brain chemical, regulates emotions, learning and memory, responses to the environment, and pain perception. Taking hallucinogens interferes with serotonin and glutamate.


If you are struggling with hallucinogen abuse, help is available. Recovery isn’t easy, but it does offer hope. You have the capacity to change. Call today to get support.


At Simple Recovery, we maintain a simple goal for our residents: learn how to live sober. Our multi-phase program is structured to rebuild life for each resident through clinical therapy, holistic recovery, and integration to either school, work, or volunteering. For information on our programs of treatment for addiction and dual diagnosis, call us today: 888-743-0490