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Hallucinogen Addiction: Signs, Types, Effects and Treatment

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Hallucinogen Addiction Treatment in Chattanooga, TN
Picture of Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mohsin Ali, MD

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mohsin Ali, MD

Dr. Mohsin Ali MD is board certified in Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Trained in Syracuse NY, he has worked in Tennessee for the last sixteen years.

Table of Contents

Hallucinogens are a category of substances known for altering perceptions and emotions. These can be naturally occurring or synthetically manufactured. Although not as prevalent as other substances, hallucinogen use is notably increasing within certain demographics.

Effective treatment strategies are critical for those struggling with hallucinogen addiction. At Iris Wellness Group, we provide detailed information on available treatment options that can help overcome addiction and lead to recovery, tailored to the specific needs of each individual.

What Are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are a category of psychoactive substances known for altering perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. Typical substances classified under this category include LSD, Ketamine, and PCP, which can significantly change one’s sensory experiences, commonly resulting in hallucinations—seeing or hearing things that aren’t present.

These substances can provoke what is known as a ‘bad trip’, where the user may experience severe anxiety, panic attacks, and erratic or even violent behaviors due to their altered state of perception. Research highlighted in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology discusses the potential medical and therapeutic uses of some hallucinogens, though they also carry risks for serious health issues both in the short and long term.

Common Examples of Hallucinogens

  • LSD (Acid): A potent hallucinogen synthesized from lysergic acid found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. Commonly consumed as blotter paper infused with the substance, LSD is known for inducing intense euphoric experiences.
  • Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms): Derived from certain mushroom species native to the U.S., South America, and Mexico, psilocybin can cause profound confusion and anxiety.
  • Peyote (Mescaline): This small, spineless cactus contains mescaline and can be consumed in various forms, often leading to intense hallucinatory experiences.
  • DMT: Often referred to as the “spirit molecule,” DMT is a naturally occurring compound found in several plants and even in trace amounts in the human brain, typically consumed as part of an ayahuasca brew.
  • PCP (Phencyclidine): Originally developed as an anesthetic; this drug is now abused for its mind-altering effects, known by names such as angel dust.
  • Ketamine: Used medically for anesthesia, ketamine is also abused for its dissociative effects, distorting perception and sound.

Types of Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens are divided into three categories based on their effects on the brain:

  • Psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin, affect serotonin pathways and can dramatically alter one’s sense of reality and self.
  • Dissociative drugs like ketamine and PCP impact glutamate pathways, often causing users to feel detached from their environment and themselves.
  • Other non-classified hallucinogens include substances like MDMA and ibogaine, which have both psychedelic and dissociative properties.

Hallucinogen Addiction

While hallucinogens like PCP, LSD, and psilocybin can create vivid auditory and visual hallucinations, they can also disorient thoughts, cause dizziness, nausea, and elevate blood pressure and heart rate. These drugs can provoke intense anxiety and paranoia, potentially leading to dangerous behaviors or even severe depression, particularly in those with pre-existing mental health conditions.

If hallucinogen use becomes uncontrollable, it may signal an addiction. Iris Wellness Group offers specialized hallucinogen addiction treatment in Chattanooga, TN. For support, call 423-541-0656 or use our online contact form. We are ready to help with resources and confidential guidance to start your journey toward recovery.

Causes and Risk Factors for Hallucinogen Abuse

The question of why some people become addicted to hallucinogens while others do not is complex and multifaceted.

Research has brought us closer to understanding this phenomenon, highlighting several key factors that might influence one’s propensity for hallucinogen abuse:

  • Genetic Predisposition: Studies suggest that genetic factors play a significant role in addiction. Certain genes, shared among family members, may increase an individual’s susceptibility to substance abuse, including hallucinogens. Knowing your family history of substance abuse can provide insights into your own vulnerabilities.
  • Environmental Influences: The environment in which you spend your time—including your social circles, living conditions, and overall lifestyle—can significantly affect your likelihood of abusing hallucinogens. For instance, chronic stress or a lack of a supportive network may heighten the risk of turning to hallucinogens as a form of escape or coping mechanism.

Key risk factors of hallucinogen abuse include:

  • Personal or family history of substance abuse
  • Ready access to hallucinogens
  • Younger age
  • Personal or family history of mental health disorders

How Hallucinogens Effect the Brain

Under normal circumstances, neurotransmitters facilitate communication throughout the brain and body, supporting functions from movement to mood regulation. Hallucinogens disrupt this natural communication process, altering the production and function of these neurotransmitters. This disruption can lead to profound changes in mood, perception, and physical sensations.

Unlike opioids, which boost dopamine levels to create pleasurable effects, hallucinogens can cause the brain to experience sensory distortions—essentially ‘tricking’ the brain into seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. This can affect everything from sleep patterns to pain perception.

Are Hallucinogens Addictive?

Research indicates that while traditional hallucinogens like LSD typically do not lead to addiction, patterns of misuse and dependency can develop, particularly with dissociative drugs and substances like MDMA. These drugs have a higher likelihood of fostering physiological dependence, characterized by withdrawal symptoms upon cessation, thereby increasing their addictive potential.

Hallucinogen Addiction in Chattanooga, TN

What Do Hallucinogens Look Like?

Hallucinogens are diverse in form and appearance, adaptable to various methods of consumption. They can be found as tablets, powders, blotter papers, or natural forms such as dried mushrooms. These substances can be ingested, smoked, snorted, or held sublingually.

Common Appearances of Hallucinogens:

  • LSD: Typically found as blotter paper, tablets, liquid, or capsules, varying in color from clear to white or dyed.
  • Psilocybin: Appears as fresh or dried mushrooms. They may be consumed directly, brewed as tea, or mixed into foods.
  • Mescaline: Generally seen as white tablets, capsules, or a fine powder.

Each type of hallucinogen has a unique appearance, making them identifiable in different settings. Whether used for recreational or experimental purposes, the visual characteristics of these substances play a role in their use and cultural significance.

Signs and Symptoms of Hallucinogen Abuse

If you’re concerned about potential hallucinogen addiction, it’s important to observe your behaviors and symptoms closely. The following signs can help determine if professional addiction treatment might be necessary:

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Spending excessive time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of hallucinogens.
  • Repeated unsuccessful efforts to quit using hallucinogens.
  • Using hallucinogens under hazardous conditions.
  • Persistent use despite adverse consequences.
  • Exhibiting violent or aggressive behaviors.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dizziness and increased blood pressure.
  • Sweating and numbness in extremities.
  • Respiratory issues and vision disturbances.
  • Elevated heart rate and muscle spasms.

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Impaired judgment and memory loss.
  • Delusional thinking and reduced attention span.
  • Paranoia and concentration difficulties.
  • Dissociative states and hallucinations.

Psychosocial Symptoms:

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
  • Agitation and pronounced mood fluctuations.
  • Social isolation and increased irritability.

The Dangers of Mixing Hallucinogens with Other Substances

Mixing hallucinogens with other drugs or alcohol can significantly increase the risk of severe physical and mental health complications, including the potential for overdose or death. For example:

  • Combining PCP with depressants like benzodiazepines may lead to coma.
  • Using LSD with alcohol can mask the intoxicating effects of alcohol, leading users to consume more and increase the risk of alcohol poisoning.

Hallucinogen Withdrawal

Withdrawal from hallucinogens can vary from mild to severe, depending on usage frequency and duration: Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Speech difficulties
  • Severe mood swings
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Heart rate.

Given the psychological and physiological challenges posed by hallucinogens, professional treatment is crucial for recovery.

Hallucinogen Overdose

An overdose on hallucinogens is a critical medical emergency. Signs that indicate an overdose include:

  • Loss of muscle control and rapid eye movements.
  • Tachycardia, coma, and convulsions.
  • High blood pressure, muscle rigidity, and seizures.
  • An unusually high tolerance for pain.

Immediate medical attention is necessary if overdose symptoms occur, and it’s advisable to inform loved ones about these potential signs so they can assist in an emergency. Iris Wellness Group offers specialized hallucinogen addiction treatment in Chattanooga, TN call us today at 423-541-0656 or use our online contact form to begin your drug-free life.

Treatment for Hallucinogen Addiction in Chattanooga, TN

Treatment Options for Hallucinogen Abuse

Detoxification Process

While medical detoxification might not be essential for individuals solely using hallucinogens, many facing substance use disorders are often dealing with polydrug abuse. To determine the need for medical detox, an initial phone screening is conducted by our admissions team. Following a medical assessment at our facility, our clinicians will decide if detox is necessary before transitioning into a partial care or other treatment phase.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

The partial hospitalization program at Iris Wellness Group provides many advantages of an inpatient rehab but allows clients to return home nightly. This program is less costly since it doesn’t require overnight stays or round-the-clock clinical supervision, making it more accessible through health insurance and more affordable for out-of-pocket payments. PHP involves five full days of treatment per week, offering individual therapy, group counseling, and specialized sessions focusing on issues like anger management and relapse prevention. Each treatment plan is tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is suitable for those needing a step-down from PHP or for individuals who have experienced a minor relapse. It’s also ideal for those who wish to continue working while receiving treatment for a less severe addiction. IOP includes group therapy, meetings, and social support activities, focusing on peer support and mentorship from those who have successfully recovered from addiction.

Individual Therapy for Hallucinogen Addiction

Individual therapy addresses dual diagnoses of mental health disorders and addiction, aiming to reduce or eliminate the use of hallucinogens. It incorporates behavioral therapies as part of comprehensive care, providing a private setting for individuals to discuss their challenges and work through the underlying issues of their addiction with a counselor.

Group Therapy for Hallucinogen Addiction

Group therapy involves multiple recovering individuals and one or more therapists. These sessions may include various activities and discussions, offering a communal environment that combats loneliness and promotes interpersonal skills. This format supports individuals in developing social skills necessary for reintegrating into society post-rehab.

Family Therapy for Hallucinogen Addiction

Family therapy is crucial as addiction impacts not only the individual but also their loved ones. This therapy helps family members understand the dynamics of addiction and learn strategies to effectively support recovery without enabling harmful behaviors. It provides emotional support and practical guidance to families affected by substance abuse, fostering a supportive home environment essential for sustained recovery.

Hallucinogen Addiction Treatment in Chattanooga, TN

At Iris Wellness Group we specialize in providing targeted and compassionate treatment for individuals struggling with hallucinogen addiction in Chattanooga, TN. Recognizing the unique journey of each person affected by hallucinogen addiction, our dedicated team offers personalized care plans designed to address the specific needs and challenges of our clients. Our goal is to support individuals on their path to recovery, helping them achieve a healthier, substance-free lifestyle through a comprehensive approach to treatment.

Treatment Options for Hallucinogen Addiction

  • Outpatient Detox: Offers medically supervised detoxification services to safely manage withdrawal symptoms in an outpatient setting.
  • Outpatient Treatment: Designed for those who require flexible treatment schedules without intensive daily commitments.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Ideal for individuals needing more support than standard outpatient care, providing a structured therapy schedule while allowing patients to live at home.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): Serves as a bridge between inpatient care and outpatient treatment, offering comprehensive day-long therapy sessions for more intensive care without an overnight stay.

To complement our range of treatment options, Iris Wellness Group integrates a holistic approach to therapy, targeting the multifaceted aspects of hallucinogen addiction. Understanding that recovery is not one-size-fits-all, we tailor our therapy programs to meet the individual needs of our clients, focusing on not just overcoming addiction but also on fostering long-term wellness and resilience.

Therapies Offered for Hallucinogen Addiction:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Aims to identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors related to cannabis use.
  • Individual Therapy: Offers a private setting for patients to explore personal issues and challenges related to their addiction.
  • Group Therapy: Provides a supportive environment where individuals can share experiences and strategies for coping with addiction.
  • Family Therapy: Engages family members in the treatment process to heal relationships and build a supportive home environment for recovery.

If you or someone you care about be grappling with hallucinogen addiction, it’s crucial to act now. Contact our drug rehab in Chattanooga, TN at 423-401-9630, to embark on the path towards a life free from drug dependence.

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