Hallucinogens Addiction Treatment

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Different types of hallucinogens

Hallucinogens are a broad group of substances that can alter perception, thought or mood. Also referred to as psychedelics, these drugs have a rich history and are common in many cultures due to their use in religious ceremonies. Phrases such as “dropping acid” or an “acid trip” typically refer to the use of hallucinogens.

The hallucinogenic effects of these drugs can be dangerous. For example, a person might believe that he or she can fly and leap off the top of a building. That’s because these drugs can cause delusions, and both auditory and visual hallucinations. Hallucinogen users often seek a heightened consciousness and understanding, but some users instead end up with intense anxiety or nightmarish delusions. Still others may find themselves caught in a destructive pattern of hallucinogens abuse.

Types of hallucinogens

Some hallucinogens come from plants or mushrooms, while others are manmade. Types of hallucinogens that are commonly used include:

  • D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Psilocybin (mushrooms)
  • Mescaline (peyote)
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The first synthetic hallucinogen, LSD was derived in 1938 and was used by many psychiatrists to help patients access repressed emotions. LSD is classified as a Schedule I type drug with no medical potential and a higher abuse potential. LSD, as with other hallucinogens, is known to cause visual and auditory hallucinations as well as anxiety. Panic attacks, acute psychosis and altered mental status are all common effects from this drug as well as the rest of the hallucinogen family.


MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, is considered a stimulant. This party drug can also cause hallucinations and delusions and, therefore, is also classified as a hallucinogen if these side effects occur.


PCP is in the dissociative anesthetic category of hallucinogenic drugs. PCP causes slurred speech, numbness in the extremities and hallucinations. In higher doses, PCP can cause seizures and coma, and can even be lethal. Repeated use of PCP can produce long-term effects — including memory loss, speech impediments and unpredictable flashbacks.


Mushroom hallucinogens have been used for thousands of years in religious ceremonies, and today they are used by the general population to induce a state of visual and auditory hallucinations. Many mushroom users desire to enhance routine experiences, emotions or social interactions, and to disconnect from reality. Mushrooms have been known to be commonly used at music festivals or among international backpackers traveling around the globe. Mushrooms containing ibotenic acid, muscimol and psilocybin are known to have significant psychoactive effects. Hallucinogenic symptoms usually last for six to eight hours, and care is primarily supportive.


Peyote (Lophophora williamsii or Lophophora diffusa) is a spineless cactus with small protrusions called “buttons” that grow in the southwestern United States and in Mexico. These cacti are used for psychoactive hallucinogenic purposes. Mescaline is the main active psychedelic ingredient in peyote. Mescaline can be synthetically derived in a laboratory and made into a pill form. The peyote “buttons” can be used to form a liquid, which can be ingested, or a powder that can be rolled into a leaf and smoked. Marijuana might be added to this as well.

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Symptoms caused by hallucinogen use

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the “effects of hallucinogens can begin within 20 to 90 minutes and can last as long as 6 to 12 hours.” Other effects of hallucinogens include:

  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Altered visual perceptions
  • A false sense of reality
  • Delusions
  • Euphoria
  • Acute psychosis
  • Enhanced emotions
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Treatment options for hallucinogens

Some hallucinogens, like PCP, can be addictive. Others, like LSD, can result in a tolerance, meaning that users need to take higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effects. Withdrawal symptoms of hallucinogens include cravings, fatigue, irritability and a reduced ability to experience pleasure. If someone is struggling with hallucinogens addiction they should seek help sooner rather than later.

As with stimulants, treatment options for hallucinogens focus on providing a calming and safe environment. There is no medical treatment for intoxication or withdrawal of hallucinogens. Placing patients in a dimly lit, quiet room can help ease anxiety from their intoxication. If they appear as a danger to themselves or others, then physical or chemical restraints such as haloperidol can be used as a temporary measure. If symptoms do not resolve, then admission to a psychiatric hospital may be required.

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Treatment for hallucinogens at Sovereign Health

Sovereign Health provides a safe and secure location for treatments for hallucinogens for individuals with substance abuse disorders related to hallucinogens and other drugs. Sovereign places special emphasis on treating patients with a range of evidenced-based therapies.

Our nationwide treatment centers recognize that all patients are unique, so we provide them with personalized treatment plans that address their specific needs. We equip our patients with the life skills and tools they need to thrive and enjoy lasting recovery. For more information about our treatment programs, please call our 24/7 helpline.

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