Hallucinogens refer to a large group of psychoactive drugs classified by their ability to induce altered perceptions of reality and thought processes in users. For example, it is common for those using hallucinogens to experience symptoms like visual and auditory hallucinations, seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there.
Notably, hallucinogens have been used by human beings for thousands of years, with some individuals targeting the substance for their dissociative properties, believing that the drug could propel them to new states of consciousness. In the modern day, however, hallucinogens are considered highly dangerous, with the effects brought upon by the substance having the potential to bring about fatal consequences. On this page, we will take a closer look at hallucinogen abuse and addiction, outlining some tools to help spot the signs, either in yourself or a loved one.
Types of hallucinogens
Hallucinogens can be divided into three main categories, split up according to how the drug works in the body. The categories are as follows:
- Psychedelic drugs bring about visual and auditory hallucinations, altering a user’s perception of both their thoughts and surroundings.
- Dissociatives bring about sensations of disconnection and detachment, making individuals feel separate from themselves and their surroundings.
- Deliriants can, as the name suggests, cause people to experience an (often unpleasant) state of delirium and loss of control.
Are hallucinogens addictive?
Because of the great variety of drugs coming under the ‘hallucinogens’ banner, it is difficult to go into too much detail about how they differ from one another in their potential for addiction. However, it is important to note that mind-altering substances such as LSD are not considered addictive in the same way as substances such as heroin and alcohol, in that it does not create a physical dependency. However, it is relatively easy to build up a tolerance to LSD – whereby a user requires ever-increasing dosages to produce the desired effects – but a cessation of use will not produce withdrawal symptoms: in other words, someone should be able to stop using LSD at any given time without experiencing any physical consequences.
While you will not build up a physical dependency on certain hallucinogens in the same way as substances like alcohol, it is still possible to develop a psychological dependency, which will become more problematic the longer a person takes the drug. For example, if a user begins to associate the effects of hallucinogens with happiness or contentment which they do not find in “normal” daily life, they may find themselves striving to spend as much time as possible under the influence. In fact, some individuals can become so reliant on the psychological symptoms associated with hallucinogens that they feel unable to go about their daily lives without the substance.
Signs and symptoms of hallucinogen addiction
Many of those frequently abusing hallucinogens are often unaware that these substances have a high potential for abuse. However, these drugs can be highly dangerous, and it is important that if your drug use is beginning to extend out of your own control, you are aware of the next steps to take in protecting yourself and your wellbeing. We suggest looking at the statements below, and if any resonate with you, this may mean that you are beginning to exhibit signs of hallucinogen addiction.
- I spend a great deal of time buying, using, or recovering from hallucinogens.
- My mind often wanders to hallucinogens, even if I am in an environment like work or school.
- I frequently abuse hallucinogens, even in spaces where it is dangerous to do so.
- I have noticed changes in my behaviour as a result of my hallucinogen use.
- I am becoming increasingly isolated from friends and family.
Dangers of hallucinogen use
Drug addiction can be highly dangerous, especially when individuals are not aware of some of the risks associated with continued use. Because of their prohibited status and the hidden nature associated with hallucinogens, research into the long-term physical effects of many of these substances has been somewhat limited. In most cases, it is generally believed that the physical dangers are mostly related to the greatly increased risk of accidents and self-harm that hallucinogen use can entail. Some of these short-term risks can include:
- Suicidal ideation when under the influence
- Behaviours associated with self-injury
- Violent and aggressive tendencies
It is important to note, however, that some hallucinogens certainly present long-term physical challenges. Ketamine, for example, can cause severe damage to the bladder (in some cases requiring removal), while certain deliriants affect the kidney and liver, having the potential to poison the user. For this reason, it is vital that anyone regularly using hallucinogens consults with their GP, keeping in mind some of the dangers associated with long, and short-term use.
One of the biggest risks associated with hallucinogen use comes with its impact on mental health, having the ability to cause irreparable damage to the user’s wellbeing, even after just one dose. Far more than a simple urban legend, stories of ‘acid casualties’ outline some individuals being left permanently transformed by their hallucinogen use. In fact, some users have been reported as taking a far larger dose of the drug than intended, leading to permanent psychosis, as well as other serious conditions, including:
- Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD)
- Vivid dreams and nightmares
- Frequent flashbacks
- Changes in behaviour (including paranoia, fear, and aggression)
- Memory loss and cognitive impairment
More importantly, if someone uses a hallucinogen even once and experiences a ‘bad trip’, the resultant trauma can have long-term consequences, leading to chronic conditions such as PTSD. The use of hallucinogens can also contribute to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and persistent feelings of detachment from reality.
Free yourself from hallucinogens today.
Here at Banbury Lodge, we understand just how difficult it can feel to escape the clutches of active addiction. You might feel that you have your problem under control and that you would not be capable of returning to everyday life without hallucinogens. However, by pursuing a course of hallucinogen detox alongside hallucinogens rehab, we assure you that a long and lasting recovery is possible. For any more information about Banbury Lode and what we can do to help you, contact a member of our team right away.