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The Effects Of Hallucinogens On The Brain

Recreational drug users may be taking dangerous substances without thinking about the negative effects of hallucinogens on the brain. While hoping for a pleasant “trip,” many people receive the exact opposite. When a person consumes hallucinogens, they impact both the neural circuitry and serotonin production of the brain. Serotonin controls perceptions, moods, and thinking processes, as well as stress and panic responses. According to SAMHSA’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among people aged 12 or older, 0.1% have experienced a recent hallucinogen use disorder. For these reasons, arming oneself with knowledge about hallucinogens and their dangers could mean the difference between recovery and tragedy.

What Are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are a class of drugs that interact with the chemicals and neurotransmitters within the brain that control mood and thinking processes. Because of this, the effects of hallucinogens on the brain are significant and unpredictable. Users report either pleasurable or unpleasurable experiences or “trips,” that can last up to twelve hours. As a result, users lose the ability to recognize reality. This, combining with an inability to think or communicate logically makes for a very dangerous scenario. Experiences with these drugs are individual and differ with the type of drug and the personal traits of the user.

Hallucinogenic drugs include two types of drugs – classic hallucinogens and dissociative drugs:

  • LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide – classic): LSD is a powerful mind-altering chemical. LSD is derived from ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. Effects include hallucinations, mood fluctuations, visual distortions, and other sensory distortions.
  • Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine – classic): Also known as “shrooms,” this drug presents itself in edible and drinkable forms. Mushrooms originate in tropical or subtropical regions of South America, Mexico and the US. The effects are similar to those produced by LSD.
  • Peyote (mescaline – classic): A small cactus containing mescaline is soaked in liquid to make a drink. Mescaline is often made in a laboratory. The effects are an altered state of consciousness that involves hallucinations.
  • DMT (N, N-dimethyltryptamine – classic): Growing naturally in Amazonian plants and also produced in labs, the effects are consistent with hallucinations, an altered sense of time and depersonalization. In addition to DMT, Ayahuasca also called “hoasca,” “aya,” and “yage” is made from plants containing DMT.
  • 251-NBOMe (classic): A synthetic drug with effects like LSD and MDMA, is much more potent.
  • THC (Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol – classic): THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana, causes paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations.
  • Ketamine (dissociative): Taken in the form of powder, a pill, or injectable liquid, Ketamine causes visual disturbances and disorientation. Ketamine, known as the date-rape drug can be unknowingly added to drinks.
  • PCP (Phencyclidine – dissociative): This drug is either snorted, smoked, swallowed, or injected into the veins. Effects include an out of body experience.
  • Dextromethorphan (DXM – dissociative): This cough suppressant can manifest in a range of negative psychological and physical effects.

Effects Of Hallucinogens On The Brain

Short term effects of hallucinogens on the brain includes the temporary drug induced psychosis the user experiences after ingesting the drug. There is no way to control the outcome of the user’s experience with the drugs. Each use can be different and unpredictable. With diminished ability to recognize reality and an inability to think or communicate rationally, the short and long term effects can produce a number of symptoms indicative of psychosis. Long term effects can occur for an unknown period of time. Just one experience with the drug is enough to produce these terrifying effects.

Short Term Effects of Hallucinogens on the Brain Include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Emotional or mood shifts
  • Nightmares and paranoia
  • Delusions, panic reactions or impulsiveness
  • Visual disturbances and spiritual experiences
  • Altered states of awareness and perception
  • Anxiety and nervousness

Long Term Effects of Hallucinogens on the Brain Include:

  • Increased tolerance of the drug
  • Extreme withdrawal symptoms including cravings, headaches, sweating, depression, anxiety and irritability
  • Flashbacks or persistent psychosis manifesting in paranoia, visual disturbances, confusion, unstable mood swings
  • HPPD: Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder which can occur after just one exposure to the drugs

Are Hallucinogens Addictive?

The effects of hallucinogens on the brain can include addiction. Building a tolerance to hallucinogens will produce physical and mental withdrawal symptoms if usage is not increased and continual. While drug seeking behaviors are not supported, tolerance is just as dangerous. LSD and psilocybin point to this reaction.  Additionally, other hallucinogens have unknown addictive potentials. PCP has proven to be addictive with withdrawal symptoms manifesting as cravings, headaches, and sweating.

Benefits Of Professional Treatment For Drug Addiction

The benefits of professional addiction treatment for drug addiction are shown by the success rates of those who have a solid treatment plan. Professional medical and mental health providers work together to make assessments, help clients detox from drugs and alcohol, and design treatment plans that include different types of therapy. Struggling users must learn how to live their lives in a sober and healthy fashion. Lifestyle training that includes learning the importance of taking care of diet, nutrition, exercise, sleep habits and self esteem is vital. The brain can rebound from the effects of hallucinogens on the brain with professional addiction treatment.

Find Relief From Hallucinogens in Georgia

If you have concerns about the effects of hallucinogens on the brain and are living in Georgia, Retreat of Atlanta offers treatment that could benefit you greatly. Our professional staff is ready and able to address your concerns, answer your questions and initiate treatment options quickly and responsibly. Stop living in fear of the effects of hallucinogens. Contact us today to begin your recovery!

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