Author: James Anderson

Hallucinogens Effects, Addiction Potential & Treatment Options

are hallucinogens addictive

Researchers are also investigating other drugs sometimes classified as psychedelic and dissociative drugs, such as MDMA, and the way they work in the brain. Much of the research about the addictiveness of hallucinogens is conflicting. Some outlets report that dependence is the same as addiction, but a person can be dependent on a drug and not display any physical or behavioral signs of drug addiction. Dextromethorphan, or DXM, is an over-the-counter cough suppressant and anti-mucus ingredient often found in cold medicines. Abusing DXM can lead to euphoria and visual and auditory hallucinations. Despite its potential for abuse, DXM is not a controlled substance.

are hallucinogens addictive

However, the nature and intensity of hallucinatory encounters vary significantly among people. If you’re with someone who has a bad trip, remain calm and reassuring while providing a safe environment for them to come down from the drug’s effects. The following are some of the most commonly used psychedelic substances. The emergency and referral resources listed above are available to individuals located in the United States and are not operated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). NIDA is a biomedical research organization and does not provide personalized medical advice, treatment, counseling, or legal consultation. Information provided by NIDA is not a substitute for professional medical care or legal consultation.


However, users may develop psychological dependence, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, or hallucinogen use disorder. The effects of hallucinogens like LSD can be described as drug-induced psychosis—distortion or disorganization of a person’s capacity to recognize reality, think rationally, or communicate with others. Clinical trials are ongoing to determine the safety and efficacy of psychedelics. These studies include healthy participants and those diagnosed with specific health conditions.

are hallucinogens addictive

But the drug does not cause physical cravings or compulsive drug-seeking behavior. Ecstasy, or MDMA, has stimulant and hallucinogenic properties. The drug alters mood and perceptions, but it also increases energy and emotional warmth. Like classic hallucinogens, MDMA is also a Schedule I substance. Hallucinogenic drugs can cause hallucinations, which are sensations and images that seem real but aren’t. Some psychedelic drugs cause people to feel out of control or disconnected from their bodies and environment.

What Are Psychedelic Drugs?

LSD use can lead to tolerance, which means people require more of the substance in order to achieve the same effects. This can be risky due to the unpredictable effects that the drug may have. Use of hallucinogens goes back centuries in many cultures, and some are still used in religious ceremonies to experience spiritual or heightened states of awareness. Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 0.2% (or about 493,000 people) had a hallucinogen use disorder in the past 12 months.

  1. This disorder encompasses consuming and misusing hallucinogenic substances that induce altered states of consciousness.
  2. Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 0.2% (or about 493,000 people) had a hallucinogen use disorder in the past 12 months.
  3. The use of these hallucinogens can cause serious harm to you and the people around you.
  4. Therapists may use calming techniques, such as guided relaxation and breathing exercises.
  5. More recently, people have been using them for social or recreational purposes.

Hallucinogen use disorder refers to a persistent, problematic pattern of hallucinogen use resulting in substantial distress. DMT’s effects are intense and range from extreme anxiety and fear to complete peace of mind. The Drug Enforcement Administration hasn’t scheduled it as a controlled substance.

It can also lead to a blending of the senses called synesthesia, which causes a person to hear colors or see sounds. People often take the drug by swallowing or chewing blotter paper infused with the substance. Peyote is a small, spineless cactus in which the main active ingredient is mescaline.

Hallucinogens were used in psychotherapy in the 1960s, but this was halted for mainly political reasons until quite recently. Psychological research has since revived the use of psychedelics in experimental psychological treatment. Psilocybin is a chemical compound found in certain mushrooms or produced synthetically in labs. These hallucinogenic mushrooms can cause confusion, disordered thinking and anxiety. Peyote is a small, spineless cactus containing the hallucinogenic ingredient mescaline.

Some former LSD users report experiences popularly known as flashbacks; this phenomenon is called Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, or HPPD, by physicians. These episodes are spontaneous, repeated recurrences of the sensory distortions that were originally produced by LSD. The flashbacks can range from being pleasant to triggering feelings of anxiety. The experience may include hallucinations, though usually the flashbacks are visual disturbances such as seeing false motion, trails attached to moving objects, or bright or colored flashes. The condition can be persistent and, in some cases, remains for years after the individual has stopped using the drug. However, some hallucinogenic drugs may lead to tolerance and some people report experiencing withdrawal effects when they stop using such substances.

Why do people use psychedelic and dissociative drugs?

They cause people to see, hear and feel things that seem real but do not exist. Some people experience intense trips that result in anxiety, despair and terrifying thoughts. When used in high doses, dissociative drugs can cause dangerous changes to blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature. The drugs can lead to fatal respiratory problems when combined with high doses of alcohol or other central nervous system depressants. The effects of salvia, which generally last for up to 30 minutes, include changes in mood, body sensations and vision. Popular among young adults, LSD causes rapid mood swings and visual hallucinations.

Longer-term treatment may involve withdrawal (detoxification), pharmacotherapy, and residential therapeutic community treatment. While hallucinogens are non-addictive substances, users can still abuse them. Psychological dependence on hallucinogens is a form of mental or emotional addiction. It occurs when you feel compelled to take the drugs regularly. Phencyclidine, or PCP, is an illegal, synthetic, psychoactive drug.

Certain kinds of hallucinogens can also produce rapid, intense mood swings. Some report that these transitions occur so quickly that users feel as if they are experiencing several emotions simultaneously. Hallucinogens can also cause physiological symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure and may induce convulsions and seizures when used at high doses. Some hallucinogens, like PCP, have been known to cause death when taken in high doses, though many PCP-related deaths are a result of its behavioral effects.