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Hallucinogens are mind-altering substances that can distort perception, transport the user to another world, and can make you think someone is talking to you when the reality is, no one is there. The mind is a compelling thing and can trick itself into seeing, feeling, and hearing things that do not exist. That is why hallucinogens are so appealing to those who decide to use them, because of all the vivid colors and other-worldly places they can visit.

The most common hallucinogens are LSD, DMT, Peyote, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca. Some drugs can produce an out-of-body experience while others can make the person think they are having a heart attack. When a “bad trip,” occurs, the user often regrets their decision to take the substance, but substances like LSD last a whole 12 hours; a full day, so all the user can do is endure because there is no off switch. The dangers of hallucinogens often come from the user’s actions while hallucinating. Users have been known to physically remove their eyeballs because they thought a bug was inside their skull or have jumped from apartment building windows because their hallucination gave them wings.

Not only can the user’s actions while hallucinating create dangerous situations, but the short-term effects of hallucinogens include insomnia, paranoia, psychosis, increased blood pressure that can lead to heart problems, and nausea. Long-term effects include memory loss, anxiety, speech problems, and depression. Unfortunate consequences can also include disorganized thinking, mood changes, and visual disturbances that may persist for the rest of the user’s life. High doses of some hallucinogens like PCP or Psilocybin can cause seizures, coma, or death.

Some hallucinogens like LSD are not addictive. However, the body builds up a tolerance to LSD over time, and this prompts the user to up the dosage of LSD each time to achieve the desired effect, which can lead to permanent insanity or possibly death. PCP can be addictive and has been known to cause headaches and carvings when stopped. Understanding these facts about hallucinogens can help you identify whether a loved one may have used them or is planning to use them. Usually, hallucinogens are placed in liquid form on small dissolvable tabs, pills, or in candy. Being aware of this could be enough to prevent an accident.

There are also visible signs one can look for in someone who is using hallucinogens. When under the effects of a hallucinogen, the user will have dilated pupils, paranoid behavior, mood swings, faintness, irrational behavior, and is often distracted. The user may also stare off into space at random times or scream for no reason, for fear of what they are seeing that you cannot see. If you witness any of these signs, be cautious because users have been known to attack others while on the substance because they hallucinate a dragon or some monster. Wait for them to calm down if they are acting erratic and keep a close watch on them until they come back to reality.

If someone is addicted to a hallucinogen like PCP, there are services offered that can help. Asana Recovery offers treatment for addictions with a non-judgmental and supportive team of professionals that provide detox and residential rehabilitation treatments. Call 438-4504 to learn more about our treatment programs.