Hallucinogen Dependence

Hallucinogens are a large and varied group of drugs that alter a person’s perception, consciousness, mood and thinking. Hallucinogenic drugs can be divided into three basic categories including psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants. These drugs are generally used recreationally, or sometimes for spiritual or religious purposes as seen in the use of peyote among indigenous people of the Americas. Hallucinogens usually don’t lead to addiction, but they can in certain individuals. Negative effects of prolonged hallucinogen use can cause health problems, mood disorders, and many problems in personal life including relationships, work and so on.

Symptoms of Hallucinogen Dependence

  • Confusion, delusions and paranoia
  • Anxiety attacks and panic
  • Flashbacks after the drug is out of the body
  • Impaired concentration and motivation
  • Long-term memory loss
  • Personality changes
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor coordination
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea, sweating, cramping and dehydration
  • Negative effects to relationships, jobs and family life

Causes of Hallucinogen Dependence

Hallucinogens are appealing as a recreationally used drug because they produce out-of-this world effects and are known to be minimally addictive. However, some people do become addicted and/or have very bad reactions to them that lead to worsened psychological disorders. While researchers aren’t sure what makes someone more susceptible to addiction than another person; however a person is always at a higher risk for becoming addicted to a substance if they use it several times, especially if they gradually increase the amount of the substance taken. Don’t be fooled by the idea that hallucinogens are harmless, though. They can cause frightening experiences known as “bad trips,” increase psychological disorders like depression or anxiety, and can cause people to make irrational decisions while under their influence. For example, a dose of LSD could make somebody feel they have the ability to fly from a ten-story rooftop.

Treatment for Hallucinogen Dependence

Treatment for hallucinogen addiction is much like treatment for any other addiction in that it requires psychological attention. A psychologist can implement methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is an important step in the recovery process. Often times, support groups or 12-step programs are of great help, and can be easily found by searching online. In the treatment and recovery process, the goal of complete abstinence from hallucinogens is important. An addict to hallucinogens can’t quit and then go back to using the drugs occasionally. Addiction is serious, and much more complicated than simply using from time to time.

What Should You Do?

If you or someone you know is suffering from hallucinogen addiction, it’s important to seek psychological help. If someone you know is going through a bad trip during a hallucinogenic experience, keep them comforted and in a safe place with familiar people around until they come down from the drug. If hallucinogens are getting in the way of a healthy life, it’s time to seek professional help.

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