hallucinogens

Hallucinogens: Signs of Abuse, Addiction, and Recovery Options

Do you suspect someone you love is abusing hallucinogens? Hallucinogen abuse is much less common than other types of drug abuse such as alcohol or cocaine addiction.

So when you’re faced with this issue, you might not be sure of what to do. The good news is that help is available.

Just like with other drug problems, hallucinogen abuse can be treated. This article contains some information about hallucinogen abuse and the type of help that’s available to you.

What Are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are substances that alter your perception of reality. If you take a hallucinogen, you might experience extreme changes to your vision; for example, you might see swirling geometric patterns or the walls might appear to move.

You also might experience auditory hallucinations and at higher doses, you might have a total out-of-body experience. Common hallucinogens include drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms.

Most people who take hallucinogens don’t have a desire to repeat the experience again very soon, although a small minority of users might get out of control. Unlike other substances, it’s not possible to function in any normal capacity while you’re taking hallucinogens; you might experience delusions and even the simplest of tasks can become difficult to accomplish.

In comparison to other drugs, some hallucinogens can last for a long time. This makes it difficult to live anything close to a normal life if you’re taking them on a regular basis. For example, an LSD trip could last for as long as 10 hours.

How to Tell if Someone’s Using Hallucinogens

It isn’t that difficult to tell if someone you know is using hallucinogens. Unlike other drugs where people might be able to hide it, this isn’t possible at all with hallucinogens.

If you talk with someone who’s currently high on a hallucinogen, there are a lot of clear signs to look out for. One thing is pupil dilation; when you take a hallucinogen, you’ll quite often get dilated pupils. In some cases, you won’t even be able to see the color of the person’s eye because of how dilated it is.

From a social standpoint, people on hallucinogens will struggle to conform to regular conventions. For example, they might struggle with the fundamentals of conversation. They might answer questions five minutes after you asked, believing that no time has passed.

Incapacitation Is a Big Sign

They might also be completely incoherent, talking about things that don’t really make much sense to anyone. They might also struggle to sit or stand still, and may pace around or shift in their seat.

If someone wants to hide the fact they’re on hallucinogens from you, they’ll make any excuse they can to avoid contact with you. If you try to call them on the phone, they might be reluctant to answer.

Often, when people take hallucinogens, talking to someone on the phone is a strange and awkward experience. If they do contact you, they may do so through text message, but these messages might be semi-nonsensical and full of errors. They might also be sporadic in sending them.

Hallucinogen Addiction

Generally speaking, people don’t get addicted to hallucinogens in the way you might get addicted to alcohol, heroin, or painkillers. Tolerance to hallucinogens builds quickly, meaning you need to keep upping the dose by a significant margin to get the same effect.

If you wanted to be constantly under the influence of LSD, for instance, you’d have to have access to a large supply. For most users, this isn’t viable.

You Can Develop a Dependence

Since the effects of hallucinogens are so extreme, most users only choose to take them sparingly. An average user might only take them a couple of times a year. This means if you’re taking them every weekend, you’re definitely abusing them.

While you might not be under the influence of hallucinogens 24/7, taking them so frequently can warp your perception of reality. If you were living such a lifestyle, you might struggle to keep up with your responsibilities. It might also put a serious strain on your relationships.

Multiple Drugs Are Usually Involved

People who frequently use hallucinogens are also likely to be polydrug users. This means they use multiple drugs at the same time to get the effects they want.

They might often use other substances to counteract the negative side effects of the hallucinogens. For example, they might resort to cannabis, sleeping pills, or benzodiazepines to counteract insomnia caused by taking hallucinogens. If someone’s behaving in this way, they could develop quite a serious drug problem very quickly.

Hallucinogen Recovery

With some drug addictions, it makes sense to attend an inpatient rehab facility. This is because there might be some serious withdrawal effects. For example, with alcohol withdrawal, you might suffer from seizures.

This kind of treatment isn’t really necessary with a hallucinogen problem unless you’re doing other drugs as well. There aren’t many withdrawal effects from ceasing hallucinogen use, so you don’t have to worry about any serious effects on your health when you stop using them.

For most problem users of hallucinogens, an outpatient program is sufficient. People who abuse hallucinogens generally have mental issues that haven’t been properly addressed.

With the right kind of counseling sessions, you should be able to recover and live a normal life. Counseling sessions can help you to learn about mindfulness techniques, stress management, and other life skills.

Get Help with Hallucinogens Today

If you or a loved one needs help with hallucinogens, consider contacting a drug treatment center and inquiring about their outpatient program. Unfortunately, if your loved one doesn’t want to attend such programs, you can’t try to force them.

You should try discussing the possibility with them, but you should never try to force someone to attend counseling or rehab. You shouldn’t try to issue ultimatums to make them go either. Instead, be loving and support; then, when they’re ready to go to rehab, you can be there every step of the way.

Do you or a loved one need help with substance abuse? Then get in touch with us today.

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.