Hallucinogens are drugs that results inan altered state of consciousness and can have several affects on the body.They result in distorted perception, thoughts, and feelings. The main outcomeof consumption of these drugs is hallucinations or other similar sensations thatresults in seeing images that seem real but are not. Hallucinations also tendto cause the user to feel that they are out of control, which leads to asensation that they are disconnected with their body and/or their environment.Various different types of hallucinogens can be ingested in different ways.This includes smoking, snorting, eating, absorbing, and other such means ofingestion.
The most well-known and common hallucinogens include LSD, Psilocybin(mushrooms), PCP, and Salvia. Statistically, individuals between the ages of 18and 25 are most likely to abuse hallucinogens. Hallucinogens interfere with actionsof the brain by impacting several chemicals responsible for differentfunctions. The area of the brain which hallucinogens target controls the body’smood, cognition, and perception. Other regions of the brain also get affected whichare responsible for regulating arousal and physiological responses to stressand panic. Hallucinogens may also result in irregular sleep, body temperature,muscle control, pain perception, and memory. On average, the effects ofhallucinogens will begin within the first hour and could last anywhere fromfour to six hours. However, depending on the drug, hallucinogens maypotentially last for up to nine hours.
Other short-term effects ofhallucinogens include increased heart rate, nausea, intensified feelings andsensory experiences, and changes in sense of time. They may also result inlong-term effects such as persistent psychosis and flashbacks. These aresymptoms of serious mental illness; the affected experience chronichallucinations and delusions without having used any drug. Studies have gathered data whichconcludes that hallucinogens can become addictive. For example, people who stoprepeated use of PCP end up with drug cravings as well as symptoms of withdrawalsuch as sweating and headaches. Additionally, a tolerance can be built up tohallucinogens after repeated usage. People who take LSD have stated that overtime they needed to take higher dosages to achieve the same effect.
There arecurrently no medications to treat addictions to hallucinogens which have beenapproved by the government. Research is being conducted to determine whetherbehavioral therapies could be effective in treating addiction to hallucinogens.The most common combatant to hallucinogen addiction are impatient programssince the people are less likely to relapse. However, others have shown tobenefit more from outpatient programs with a therapist. Warning signs of people abusinghallucinogens include physical changes, behavioral changes, and financialchanges.
Physical changes include tremors, shakiness, delirious speaking,disorientation, and sweating. Behavioral changes include strange speaking, disorientation,confusion, paranoia, aggressiveness, unreasonable fear, or withdrawal.Financial changes can be seen in their requesting of money without there beingexplanation of how it will be used or even theft from others. The most typicalgroups of people who abuse hallucinogens are veterans, teens and collegestudents, and professionals.
Veterans are likely to use these to combatco-occurring disorders such as PTSD. Teens and college students are likely touse such drugs because of peer pressure, stress, or ignorance. Professionalsare likely to abuse hallucinogens in a similar respect to alcohol abuse.