Phencyclidine Dependence

Phencyclidine, more commonly known as PCP, was originally developed in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic, but has been discontinued due to serious side effects. However, PCP is often sold on the illegal drug market in various forms and it can be mixed easily with dyes. Tablets, capsules and colored powder are the forms that are most commonly sold, as they can be snorted, smoked or orally ingested. Other hallucinogens that are similar to PCP are LSD, Peyote and Psilocybin. Research suggests that these drugs work by temporarily interfering with neurotransmitter action or by binding to their receptor sites. PCP distorts perceptions of sight and sound and produces feelings of detachment from the environment and self. The effects of PCP usually last between four to six hours.

Signs of Phencyclidine Dependence

  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Loss of balance
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Blurred vision
  • Drop in blood pressure and pulse rate
  • Seizures

Causes of Dependence

PCP is a drug that causes hallucinations, which are profound distortions in a person’s perception of reality. Under the influence of hallucinogens, people see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but are not. Addiction to PCP is both psychological and physical, as it physically affects the body by making the user feel as though he or she cannot function without the drug. Many people become addicted to the feeling of being invincible and the euphoric feelings associated with PCP. Some abusers continue to use PCP due to the feelings of strength, power and invulnerability.

Complications and Long Term Effects of Phencyclidine Dependence

If PCP is taken in low to moderate doses, physiological effects will include a slight increase in breathing rate and a rise in blood pressure and pulse rate. Breathing will become shallow and loss of muscle control and numbness may occur. If PCP is taken at high doses, blood pressure, pulse rate and respiration will significantly drop. Vomiting, nausea, blurred vision, drooling and loss of balance may occur. Seizures, coma and death may occur as well. Many PCP users are brought to the hospital due to these serious effects. PCP has sedative effects if taken with alcohol, which will lead to more serious problems.

Help and Treatment

There is little data published on treatment outcomes for PCP addiction; however, many PCP users are treated with anti-PCP antibodies. There isn’t a specific treatment for PCP abuse but behavioral treatment and inpatient treatments can be helpful. Many PCP users are brought for PCP treatment to emergency rooms due to an overdose or because of the drug’s harmful psychological effects. Those who are dependent on PCP should go to a treatment facility that specializes in treating people addicted to hallucinogens. If you or someone you know is dependent on PCP, seek help immediately before it’s too late. There are many trained professionals that will help you to lead a better, healthier life.

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