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Substance Abuse

When Hallucinogen Abuse Becomes an Addiction

The term “hallucinogen” is used to describe a wide and diverse group of drugs that can significantly alter an individual’s perception, thoughts, and feelings. As the name alludes, hallucinogens are known to cause auditory and visual hallucinations.

Drugs that fall under the hallucinogen category can be naturally occurring and synthetic. When an individual is using hallucinogens, it seems that they are transported into an alternate reality. The artificial reality they find themselves in can be perceived as a “good trip” (positive experience) or a “bad trip” (negative experience). Some individuals enjoy the thought of being able to completely detach from reality and hallucinate. Individuals who experiment with hallucinogens do it mostly for the experience.

Hallucinogens have also been used as cures in spiritual rituals by indigenous peoples all around the world, going back centuries. Individuals who begin using hallucinogens recreationally do run the risk of abusing them by attempting to take more to achieve the desired results of perception change. Individualized treatment for hallucinogen abuse as with any other substance can effectively help an individual to recover from the lifestyle of abusing hallucinogens.

As time goes on, treatment should be sought out because tolerance can build up quickly when using certain hallucinogens. Proper mental health and substance abuse treatment can make a world of difference. If an individual continues to abuse hallucinogens, they may experience a psychological breakdown and certain, such as LSD, ecstasy, and PCP can contribute to brain damage.

Substance Abuse FAQ’s

What are hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are drugs that alter normal perception and have the capability to cause strong hallucinations which distort the perception of reality.

What is the origin of hallucinogens?

You can find some hallucinogens that originate from mushrooms like Psilocybin, or from cacti like Mescaline, as well as other plants like cannabis and Salvia. Even though LSD is only used in the synthesized form, LSA, a related drug, is found in nature, extracted from a fungus that grows on rye.

What are hallucinogens' common street names?

Some street names include LSD, Cid, Acid, Battery Acid, Doses, Dots, Blotter, Boomers, Golden Dragon, Heavenly Blue, California Sunshine, Loony Toons, Hippie, Microdot, Zen, Pane, Tab, Purple Heart, Window Pane, Superman, and Yellow Sunshine.

How are hallucinogens abused?

LSD: There are multiple ways that LSD can be abused: Swallowing, Sniffing, injecting and smoking. If it is in liquid form, it can be rubbed into the skin. Psilocybin: Mushroom are more likely to me eaten just as they are, inserted into food recipes, and even brewed into teas. PCP: Can be snorted, swallowed, injected or smoked. Ketamine, as well, can be injected, smoked, snorted or swallowed. Mescaline: Is more commonly swallowed but can also be chewed on or smoked.

What are hallucinogens' effects on the mind?

When you are under the effects of hallucinogens, people often report touching, seeing, hearing, or smelling things that are either distorted in some way or do not exist all together. Hallucinogens tend to intensify feelings as well as sensory experiences. For example, you could see brighter colors and hear sharper sounds. If you are on a bad trip your senses could also become mixed, where you could see sounds or hear colors.

What are hallucinogens' effects on the body?

People who abuse hallucinogens have a higher chance of experiencing an Increase heart rate, high blood pressure, increased body temperature, agitation, dizziness, impaired coordination, as well as nausea and vomiting.

What are hallucinogens' overdose effects?

If you take large amounts of any hallucinogens, it could cause intense and unwanted side effects. Taking large amounts of drugs like PCP and Ketamine could result in overdose, respiratory arrest, seizures, coma and ultimately, death.

Which drugs cause similar effects as hallucinogens?

LSD, Ecstasy, Ketamine, and DMX are all drugs that affect the addict the same way as hallucinogens do.

What are the withdrawal effects of hallucinogens?

Exposure to hallucinogens can cause the user to experience flashbacks. This happens when the person who is abusing he hallucinogen goes through a trip when the drugs have worn off. This may not affect you immediately but previous users have experienced them months even years after they have discontinued use. People who are withdrawing from hallucinogens could also experience diarrhea ad chills if you stop taking the drug abruptly.

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Sign, Symptoms, and Common Behaviors of Hallucinogen Abuse

The common signs and symptoms of hallucinogen use may vary depending upon on the hallucinogenic drug. Each hallucinogen has its own chemical make-up and properties, but the hallmark trait of an individual who is abusing hallucinogens is mild to severe dissociative behaviors.

The physical signs are visual and audial distortions, dilated pupils, anxiety or paranoia, faintness, irritability, and irrational behavior. An individual may begin to talk about things that are strange or perhaps begin to incoherently ramble about nothing.

If an individual is experiencing a bad trip, they may begin to cry or become violent and have severe paranoid delusions that only subside after the drug has worn off.

Prolonged use of certain hallucinogens can result in psychotic breaks, and an individual who finds themselves unable to stop should seek help immediately.

When Hallucinogen Abuse Becomes an Addiction


Ketamine is a drug that is normally used as an anesthetic for humans and animals. Much of the Ketamine that is available on the streets is taken from veterinary offices. Ketamine comes as an injectable liquid, powders, or pills. Ketamine provides a high that allows the user to feel extreme euphoria and detachment from the world around them. It can also cause temporary paralysis in its users some refer to this as a k-hole.


Lysergic acid diethylamide or (LSD), is a potent hallucinogenic drug. It is a man-made chemical that is derived from the Lysergic acid and comes in pill, powder, and liquid form. A person using LSD will have great distortions in time, space, size, and shape. An individual may begin to have extrasensory experiences such as seeing music or hearing colors. LSD has a low potential for abuse.


3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a synthetic drug that can drastically alter the mood and perception of its users. The synthetic chemicals combine to make the user feel warm, comfortable, and loving feelings. MDMA is a drug that is most often abused at “raves” which are all-night dance parties. MDMA comes in capsule or tablet form but can also be crushed and snorted. MDMA affects the dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels of the brain.

Peyote & Mescaline

Peyote comes from a small spineless cactus. It has been used ceremonially in rituals to connect its users with spirits that help them to detach from reality. Individuals abusing peyote may have dry mouth, flushed skin, headaches, increased energy levels, loss of appetite, as well as nausea or vomiting. Peyote & Mescaline have no known medical uses and fall under the classification of a Schedule I drug.


Psilocybin is a naturally occurring compound that is produced by over 200 species of mushrooms known as “magic mushrooms”. Psilocybin produces vivid extrasensory-like experiences that can last for up to about 6 hours. Individuals seeking to use psilocybin recreationally may go out to fields and mushroom hunt as many of the magic mushrooms do grow outside naturally, while others can purchase kits to grow psychedelic mushrooms in their own homes.


Salvia Divinorum is a plant that has psychedelic properties. Salvia is known as the “sage of the diviners” and it can be consumed by smoking, chewing, or brewed into a tea. Salvia produces intense hallucinogenic effects that last anywhere from 1-2 hours. Some may begin to laugh uncontrollably and lose their composure. Salvia’s legality varies from state to state.

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Reputable Sources are a Foundation for Life Changing Treatment

A Better Today Recovery Services firmly believes that substance abuse treatment needs to be both individualized and proven to be effective. The influence of addiction varies from person to person making the need for various methodology and effectiveness important for a long-lasting recovery.

If you are going to trust us with you or your loved one’s treatment plan, we want to be entirely transparent about the sources we utilize. We take pride in offering up to date and relevant information that are factual and backed by years of research. Learn more about our treatment methods listed below. It might be a dry read but we believe knowledge empowers people to make good choices.

NIDA. (2016, January 11). Hallucinogens. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens on 2019, February 26

NIDA. (2015, February 1). Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/hallucinogens-dissociative-drugs on 2019, February 26

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