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PCP Addiction: Signs, Dangers and Treatment

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PCP Addiction Treatment 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

Originally developed as an intravenous anesthetic in the 1950s, Phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP, is a dissociative drug that was eventually discontinued for medical use due to its severe side effects, including postoperative delirium. Known for causing a range of effects from feelings of floating and detachment from reality to anxiety, memory loss, and altered sensory perceptions, PCP is recognized for its significant potential for abuse. As a result, it is classified as a Schedule II drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of PCP use is critical for obtaining the necessary help. If you or someone you care about is struggling with PCP addiction in Chattanooga, TN, Iris Wellness Group provides thorough addiction treatment tailored to address this challenging condition.

What is Phencyclidine (PCP)?

Phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP, was originally developed as a general anesthetic but is no longer used medically in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) classifies it as a recreational drug that appears in various forms such as tablets, capsules, liquid, or white powder. PCP is most often smoked but can also be snorted or ingested. It is frequently soaked into substances like marijuana, mint, parsley, oregano, tobacco, or other leafy plants for smoking purposes. A marijuana cigarette laced with PCP is often referred to as a “dipper.”

Street names for PCP include:

  • Angel Dust
  • Shermans
  • Tic Tac
  • Love Boat
  • Supergrass
  • Zoom
  • Hog
  • Peace Pill
  • Rocket Fuel
  • Wack
  • Embalming Fluid
  • Elephant Tranquilizer
  • KJ
  • Wet
  • Crystal Joint

As a dissociative hallucinogen, PCP significantly alters perceptions, thoughts, and emotions, and can lead to vivid hallucinations. This drug creates a strong sense of detachment from one’s self and the environment, making it particularly potent and hazardous. PCP is not only addictive but also leads to dependence and several severe long-term side effects with chronic use. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported by NIDA, about 2.5 percent of Americans aged 12 and older have tried PCP at least once.

Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of PCP Addiction

Understanding the signs of PCP addiction is crucial for obtaining timely professional help. If you suspect PCP abuse in yourself or someone else, recognizing the varied symptoms that impact behavior, physical health, cognitive abilities, and psychosocial health is essential. Early detection of these signs is critical to addressing and managing the addiction effectively.

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Using PCP in hazardous situations, such as while driving.
  • Repeated, unsuccessful efforts to stop using PCP.
  • Changes in behavior, such as increased aggression or violence.
  • Continuing to use PCP despite knowing the negative consequences.
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of PCP.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Dizziness and high blood pressure.
  • Excessive sweating and rapid heartbeat.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Nausea and numbness in the limbs.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Vision problems and vomiting.

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Memory loss or delusional thinking.
  • Feeling detached from reality.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Trouble concentrating and feelings of paranoia.
  • Impaired judgment.

Psychosocial Symptoms:

  • Increased aggression and agitation.
  • Irritability.
  • Losing interest in activities once enjoyed.
  • Mood swings and withdrawing from social interactions.

These symptoms together indicate a serious issue with PCP use and underscore the necessity for professional intervention. If these signs are familiar in your situation, reaching out to addiction specialists is an important step toward recovery. If you or someone you know is battling with PCP addiction in Chattanooga, TN, contact Iris Wellness Group today at 423-401-9630 to start your journey toward recovery.

Symptoms of PCP Use Disorder

It’s critical to recognize signs of PCP abuse either in yourself or someone close to you, as early detection is key to seeking necessary help. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), lists several indicators of a PCP use disorder:

  • Increasing the quantity of PCP used or extending the period of use beyond what was initially intended.
  • A persistent desire or repeated unsuccessful efforts to reduce or control PCP use.
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of PCP.
  • Experiencing strong cravings or a compelling need to use PCP.
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home due to PCP use.
  • Continuing PCP use despite having ongoing social or relationship problems that are worsened by the drug’s effects.
  • Abandoning important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of PCP use.
  • Using PCP in hazardous situations, such as while driving or operating machinery.
  • Persisting in PCP use despite knowing it’s causing physical or psychological problems.
  • Developing a tolerance to PCP, evidenced by needing more of the drug to achieve the desired effects or noticing diminished effects with continued use of the same amount.

If these symptoms resonate with your situation, it’s crucial to take action. Recognizing these signs is the first step towards dealing with PCP use disorder and seeking effective treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with PCP addiction, don’t hesitate to call us today at 423-401-9630 to start PCP addiction treatment in Chattanooga, TN.

Signs of PCP Addiction

Effects of PCP

PCP significantly alters perceptions and induces a feeling of detachment from both the environment and oneself. Its effects are more intense than those of ketamine, ranging from mild sensory distortions to severe reactions such as seizures. The onset and duration of PCP’s effects depend on the method of intake and the dosage used. When smoked, effects manifest within 2 to 5 minutes, while oral ingestion leads to effects after 30 to 60 minutes, typically lasting between 4 to 8 hours. Some users may experience residual effects for up to 48 hours.

Effects at Lower to Moderate Doses:

  • Detachment from one’s surroundings and self.
  • Numbness accompanied by a blank facial expression.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Impaired coordination.
  • An unfounded sense of physical strength.
  • Involuntary eye movements.

Physiological Effects:

  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing.
  • Elevated heart rate.
  • Higher body temperature.

Effects at Higher Doses:

  • Confusion and hallucinations.
  • Intense agitation at very high doses.
  • A coma-like state, with severe rigidity and catatonia.
  • Risk of fatal outcomes in extreme cases.

These varied effects highlight the dangers and potency of PCP, emphasizing the need to fully understand its profound impact on both mental and physical health.

Onset and Duration of PCP Effects

The onset and duration of PCP’s effects can vary widely depending on the method of administration and the dose taken. When inhaled as smoke, the effects of PCP are typically felt within 2 to 5 minutes. If ingested orally, the effects usually begin to manifest within 30 to 60 minutes.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the intoxicating effects of PCP generally last between 4 to 8 hours. However, some individuals report feeling the effects for a prolonged period, lasting from 24 to 48 hours after consumption. A critical aspect to consider is PCP’s fat-soluble nature, allowing it to accumulate in the body’s fat tissues and release slowly. This can result in sporadic and variable symptoms that may persist for days or even months after the initial use.

The Dangers of Combining PCP with Other Substances

Combining PCP with other substances can greatly escalate the risks linked with its use. When PCP is taken with depressants like benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax) or alcohol, the effects can be particularly perilous. This combination may severely depress the respiratory system, leading to dangerously slowed breathing, which can result in coma or even death from respiratory arrest.

Additionally, some of the effects of PCP, such as psychosis and increased agitation, may require urgent medical attention. This might include the use of sedation to control aggressive behaviors, protecting both the individual and others nearby. The intense perceptual alterations induced by PCP and similar dissociative drugs can create hazardous scenarios. Those under the influence might undertake extremely risky activities that they would normally avoid, such as attempting dangerous jumps or acting on suicidal thoughts. These examples highlight the critical need to understand the heightened dangers when mixing PCP with other drugs.

Causes and Risk Factors of PCP Addiction

The American Psychological Association (APA) emphasizes that environmental influences are critical in the development of PCP addiction. Research has shown that individuals who abuse PCP typically begin using at a younger age compared to those who use other substances. This early onset often correlates with exposure to peer groups that engage in PCP use, significantly increasing the likelihood of adopting similar behaviors. Additionally, there appears to be a link between lower educational levels and PCP abuse, suggesting that certain socioeconomic challenges may impede academic achievement and contribute to substance abuse.

Risk Factors for PCP Addiction Include:

  • Gender: Studies indicate that females may have a higher risk of developing PCP addiction.
  • Age: Younger individuals are particularly vulnerable to this addiction.
  • Family Background: A history of substance abuse within the family can elevate the risk.
  • Mental Health History: Personal or familial history of mental health issues are crucial risk factors.
  • Previous Substance Abuse: Those with past experiences of abusing other substances are more likely to develop PCP addiction.

These insights into the causes and risk factors for PCP addiction underscore the necessity to consider both environmental and individual factors in the approach to treatment and prevention. If you or someone you know is battling with PCP addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out today at 423-401-9630 to begin specialized addiction treatment in Chattanooga, TN.

Dangers of PCP Abuse

Chronic abuse of PCP can precipitate serious mental health issues, such as a state of confused delirium or psychosis, characterized by:

  • Impaired memory and cognitive functions.
  • Persistent speech difficulties.
  • Agitation and violent behaviors.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal.

These symptoms can pose significant risks not only to the user but also to those around them. In 2011, PCP was linked to approximately 75,538 emergency room visits, with 72 percent of these incidents also involving substances like heroin, cocaine, marijuana, prescription pain relievers, and benzodiazepines.

Long-term use of PCP can lead to physical dependence, with users experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as teeth clenching, involuntary eye movements, drowsiness, diarrhea, goosebumps, muscle tremors, and seizures when they stop using the drug.

Intoxication from PCP frequently results in emergency department visits, often due to overdoses or severe psychological effects. Deaths related to PCP use typically occur from suicide influenced by the drug or from accidental injuries sustained while under its effects. The significant dangers associated with PCP highlight the critical need for awareness and precaution in managing its use.

Phencyclidine Addiction Treatment Chattanooga, TN

PCP Withdrawal

The long-term effects of dissociative drugs like PCP are still not fully understood, yet existing studies show that frequent use can lead to tolerance, dependence, and a recognizable withdrawal syndrome when use is discontinued. Over time, PCP use can develop into a substance use disorder or addiction, where the individual continues to use the drug compulsively despite facing negative consequences.

Symptoms of PCP withdrawal vary but commonly include:

  • Intense cravings for PCP.
  • Headaches.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • An increased appetite.
  • Feelings of depression.
  • Extended periods of sleep.

These withdrawal symptoms present significant challenges and highlight the necessity for professional intervention and support for individuals struggling with PCP addiction.

PCP Overdose

PCP use frequently leads to impulsive actions and diminished self-regulation, significantly increasing the risk of overdose. This risk escalates when PCP is combined with other substances, further impairing judgment and decision-making.

The symptoms of a PCP overdose are severe and potentially life-threatening. These may include uncontrollable body movements, hallucinations, delusions, intense agitation, aggression, and states of catatonia or coma, which can escalate to fatal seizures. In overdose situations, individuals may appear comatose or catatonic, or they may show extreme agitation, delirium, and psychotic behavior, all of which require emergency medical intervention.

There is currently no specific antidote for a PCP overdose. Medical treatment is aimed at stabilizing the individual, managing specific symptoms, and administering intravenous fluids. In cases of psychosis or severe aggression, antipsychotic medications may be administered. If the individual is comatose or catatonic, life-saving procedures such as CPR may be necessary. Immediate medical attention is critical in managing a PCP overdose effectively.

Start Your PCP Addiction Treatment in Chattanooga, TN at Iris Wellness Group

Taking the first steps toward recovery from PCP addiction is a courageous decision, and Iris Wellness Group is committed to supporting you throughout this transformative journey. Our comprehensive outpatient programs, including everything from detoxification to Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), are designed to provide the support and strength you need for recovery in Chattanooga, TN. We offer a nurturing and private environment that facilitates your healing and helps maintain your progress toward a healthier, substance-free life. For more detailed information on how we can help, please contact us at 423-401-9630 or complete our online form.

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