Top Hallucinogens Rehab in Colorado
Hallucinogens are drugs that cause you to hallucinate, or experience sights, sounds, smells and textures that aren’t there. While they can sound intriguing, even exciting for some, they come with short-term and long-term effects that can be debilitating. Short-term, people have experienced nausea, unpleasant mood swings, and frightening hallucinations. Long term use is linked to addiction in some hallucinogens, memory loss, long-term psychosis, and persistent paranoia and flashbacks.
Use of hallucinogens goes back to the dawn of time. Throughout history, they were used for religious rites and spiritual journeys, and were derived from plants and fungi. Today, they are still derived from organic materials, but some are manufactured by humans, such as LSD and PCP. The United States has a higher level than Europe of students who have tried hallucinogens by twelfth grade.
PCP, or phencyclidine, is a dissociative drug, meaning it causes people to feel out-of-body experiences, or like reality is not there anymore. It was first synthesized in 1926 and developed in the 1950s as an anesthetic for surgery, and as a veterinary tranquilizer. In the 1960s, medical use in humans stopped due to bad side effects, but it quickly became a common street drug through the rest of the 60s and 70s. It is most commonly found in a white powder form, hence street names like “angel dust,” but can also be found in liquid form, or as a pill or capsule (its name PCP came from the term Peace Pill). It can also be combined with marijuana.
PCP is a hallucinogen that can be addictive, and long-term use can lead to impaired memory, severe anxiety and depression, including suicidal thoughts, persistent speech problems, and hostile, psychotic and paranoid behavior known as toxic psychosis. Overdose and death can happen while taking PCP, including accidental death from jumping off high places and drowning due to hallucinations or dissociate feelings of invincibility.
LSD is a chemical compound developed from fungus that grows on rye. It’s a powerful mood-altering drug, first used to ease uterine contractions during labor and studied throughout the 1950s. It was popularized in the US by the 1960s counterculture movement. At the height of its popularity, stories broke of horrible hallucinations and violent outbursts from users. After congressional hearings, in 1968, the drug was made illegal and further medical research stopped.
Also called “acid,” LSD is usually taken via paper soaked in the product on top of the tongue. It doesn’t’ cause physically dependency, but can be psychologically addictive, and lead to long-term degeneration such as long-term psychotic states and can cause schizophrenia in people predisposed to have it.
Mushrooms have been used as a hallucinogenic since ancient times. Today, they are still used, either raw or dried, or crushed into a brown powder. As a powder, they’re often snorted. They can also be taken as edibles or brewed into tea. This can be hazardous if someone unknowingly ingests food laced with mushrooms. Symptoms of mushroom use are often the same as LSD: distortion of reality, paranoia, and anxiety/nervousness. Other physical symptoms include numbness, increased heart rate, and nausea/vomiting.While mushrooms may not cause physical dependency, picking the wrong one can be fatal. Since there are over 75 species of subtropical mushrooms and many of them look alike, it can be easy for an inexperienced person to mistake a different, toxic species of mushroom for a hallucinogen, which can lead to poisoning and death. The effects of mushrooms are similar to LSD.
Mescaline and Peyote
Peyote is a small cactus with round buttons which are harvested to create a hallucinogen. It’s the oldest hallucinogen known, and was used by pre-Columbian tribes in Mexico, including the Aztecs, and by Southwestern Native American tribes for centuries. In the US, it is legal for tribes to use for religious and ceremonial purposes. Mescaline, an amphetamine, is the ingredient in peyote that produces a “high” effect.
PCP and LSD are often sold as mescaline or peyote, since the drug only grows in a small area in the southwest US and Mexico and is therefore harder to come by and more expensive to purchase.
Peyote is dried and traditionally smoked in a pipe with tobacco or marijuana. It can also be soaked or chewed to produce a liquid. Mescaline usually appears as a powder or a pill, less commonly as a liquid.
Effects can vary. Physically, they can include numbness and shaking, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate, and chills. Psychologically, peyote can alter space and time perception, and hallucinations can range from heightened senses of sound and color to synesthesia (hearing colors and seeing music are some examples), reality distortion, paranoia and frightening hallucinations.
The one long-term effect noted with peyote has been psychoses, like paranoid schizophrenia, but only with people who are predisposed to schizophrenia or were diagnosed with a mental illness.
A decade ago, bath salts entered the drug market, made as a way to create a synthetic material out of legal ingredients to try and bypass anti-drug laws. While many people were worried they were actual Epsom salts, plant food, or other household items, they aren’t. Bath salts are a designer drug thought to be made of MDVP (methylenedioxypyrovalerone) or other compounds. However, officials are still unsure of the exact ingredients, because it’s believed they can be made of many different chemical combinations. As new laws develop banning chemical compounds used for bath salts, drug producers try to stay ahead of the law by using different chemical combinations.
Bath salts can produce a wide range of effects, including hallucinations. Since their ingredients can vary, their composition keeps changing. Official sources are unsure of what exactly goes into each batch since ingredients get replaced. Overdoses can be fatal, and it’s known that bath salts are highly addictive.
Salvia, or “Sage of the Diviners,” is a psychedelic plant native to southern Mexico. Unlike other hallucinogens, salvia blocks opiate receptors in the brain, affecting levels of serotonin. Highs last between 30 and 60 minutes as the leaf compounds are broken down by the digestive system. In the short term, salvia can lead to restlessness, mood swings, uncontrollable mania and laughter, and unlike most hallucinogens, a decreased heart rate. Long-term, salvia can cause dysphoria – depressed feelings and restlessness.
Salvia is still legal in some states, but the DEA is reviewing it for listing as a controlled substance. It is illegal in many European countries, American states, and is regulated as a medicinal substance in Canada. While medicinal purposes are unfounded by research, salvia is used to treat anything from headaches to rheumatism.
Also known as the “date rape drug,” GHB is stereotypically used by rapists, slipped into their unsuspecting victim’s drinks to aid sexual assault. It’s a depressant that causes people who take it to “black out,” especially if it’s mixed with alcohol.
GHB saw a surge in popularity among tens and young adults in the rave scene, as the drug allows users to achieve a sense of euphoria, similar to being drunk, without the bad side effects of alcohol. It’s also harder to detect by police as it leaves the body quicker than alcohol. Regular use can lead to addiction, and withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, tremors, and rapid heart rate. Withdrawal can be fatal and painful, and it can be more difficult not to relapse. Withdrawal should be done at a licensed detox facility or rehabilitation center.
Abuse of Hallucinogens
While hallucinogens vary in degree of addiction and fatality, their long-term abuse can lead to debilitating conditions. Long-term, chronic use can lead to psychosis, memory loss, and flashbacks. In addictive hallucinogens, withdrawal periods can be dangerous.
Like other addictive substances, hallucinogen abuse can cause people to lose interest in things they cared about. They begin showing up late to work or school, or not showing up at all. Their grades or their work performance slips. Their relationships deteriorate, as they are more prone to breaking commitments or arguing with loved ones due to drug use. They may get into even more legal trouble than possession of illegal substances; examples include driving under the influence, theft to get money to buy drugs, turning to selling drugs or sex work to buy more drugs, or becoming violent.
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Hallucinogens, Drug Dependence, and Addiction
The more you use, the more your nervous system builds a tolerance to the dosage you take. To receive the same high, like with other drugs, you eventually have to take more. Eventually, your body and brain chemistry adjust to the dosage you take and begin to run as if taking the drug is an essential part of your body’s functioning. It’s not, but your body now thinks it is, and if it doesn’t get the same dosage you’ve been using or more at this point, withdrawal symptoms can occur. This is called dependency and is the point where drug use medically becomes an addiction. With highly addictive drugs, dependency can occur after one or two uses, where your body reacts negatively when you don’t receive the drug, or don’t get enough to satiate your body.
How do hallucinogens affect the brain?
Most hallucinogens block neurotransmitters throughout the brain and spinal cord. The obstruction of these neurotransmitters causes hallucinations, but can also cause a wide variety of other effects:
Short-term effects can vary, and they include the hallucinations or “trips” that the drugs are named after. There are also several physiological changes that can happen, and some of them can be fatal:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure. In extreme cases, can lead to heart failure.
- Abnormal, rapid breathing and lung failure
- Dilated pupils
- Emotional confusion and disorientation (not knowing where you are)
- Loss of movement control, from lack of coordination to uncontrollable shaking, and slurred or mixed-up speech
- Changed emotions: while this can sometimes lead to a more relaxed state, it can also lead to irritability and aggression
- Nausea and loss of appetite
- Chills and flushes, temperature changes
- Distorted body sensations, such as out-of-body experiences, floating sensations, and body dysmorphia – feeling as if your body has changed or isn’t your own
- Seeing things that aren’t really there, including unpredictable imagery which can be frightening
Even long after you’ve stopped using, residual effects can still be there, especially if you were a chronic user for a long time. These include:
- Flashbacks to previous trips – these can occur weeks, months or even years after initial use, they can be set off by using other drugs, including medication, or by exercise, and they can be pleasant or frightening. Most flashbacks only last a minute or two, but can reoccur
- Decreased motivation and depression can occur because of previous, chronic use
- Impaired memory and concentration
- Possible severe mental disturbances, including psychosis, increased panic, and delusions
- A “bad trip,” a severe, frightening hallucination caused by drugs, can last several hours, and it’s been reported that they can last several weeks to months
What are other risks of hallucinogens?
When you take hallucinations, you have no control over what kind of visions, or perceptions you will have. Highs, or “trips” on hallucinogens are unpredictable. The drug can enhance sound, light and color, but it can also cause nightmare-like hallucinations. Due to their distortion of reality, users have leapt to their deaths, drowned, or engaged in violent acts. Hallucinogens are especially dangerous behind the wheel, as the distortions and feelings of invincibility can make you an unsafe and aggressive driver.
Are hallucinogens addictive?
The answer varies depending on the type of hallucinogen taken. While LSD and mushrooms haven’t been proven to cause physical dependency, people can develop a tolerance for them, causing them to take more and more of the substance. However, other types of hallucinogens like bath salts and PCP, are highly addictive after the first or second use. In any hallucinogen, a psychological dependency can develop, where the user has to take so much to get the same “fix,” and devotes so much time to getting high that they neglect work, school, and other responsibilities.
If the above describes you or a loved one, it’s time to seek help.
Get Help for Your Addiction
Recovery for hallucinogens can vary and can feature deadly withdrawal symptoms. For these reasons, treatment needs to happen under professional, medical supervision. If you or a loved one are using hallucinogens and can’t stop, or your or their hallucinogen use is causing harm to yourself, your loved one, or others, there is help available.
Rehabilitation is an in-patient medical treatment for drug use that makes sure you or your loved one is safe during the process of getting sober. The rehab treatment process begins with intake, where a professional assesses what kind of detox and rehab treatments are best for you. Then, you are taken to a room where you can relax and be monitored for withdrawal symptoms. This is detox and can last for a day to a week, depending on the type of drugs you were on.
In rehabilitation, you’re given the tools to live a sober life after you leave. This can include trauma counseling, working through past pain which drove you to use in the first place. It also includes medication, regimented daily schedules, lectures, group therapies, and life skills training to help you when you leave the facility.