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Damaging Long-term Effects of Hallucinogens

Damaging Long-term Effects of Hallucinogens

Common visual disturbances of hallucinogensinclude movement in the periphery fields, halos around objects and blurry objects

Hallucinogens like LSD or magic mushrooms are commonly abused recreationally, partly because they are not physically addictive and have a reputation for being safe. It is true that most people will not become addicted to these substances, but many people are unaware of the dangerous long-term effects that hallucinogens can have. Abusing hallucinogens can cause serious problems (such as permanent changes to your mental health and run-ins with the law), so, if you have abused hallucinogens, then consider the risks before using these drugs again.

Hallucinogens: What Is the Deal?

The use of hallucinogens, or psychedelics, is fairly widespread, but less common as other drugs such as marijuana or cocaine. LSD and mushrooms produce similar effects, although LSD may produce effects for as many as 12 hours, and mushrooms tend to last only 6 hours. It is unknown how exactly hallucinogens work in the brain, but drugs tend to have chemical structures that are similar to neurotransmitters. Furthermore, the effects of hallucinogens vary wildly, so they give users different effects depending on time, place, mood and other factors. Hallucinogens are potent chemicals, and users are often unsure of the exact dose they ingest, which also contributes to their unpredictable symptoms. If something goes wrong, you may experience a bad trip that results in severe anxiety and mental anguish. Hangover effects may persist for several days after using a psychedelic. Good trips can lead to positive feelings, but a bad trip can result in increased depression or anxiety.

Short-term Effects of Hallucinogens

Psychedelic drugs change your perception of reality, because they alter your vision and distort the way you perceive time. You may also go from feeling happy one moment to afraid or sad the next, as hallucinogens can affect your emotional state. Some users also experience synesthesia, where two or more senses blend; in other words, a user might hear a smell or see a sound. After taking hallucinogens, you may experience any of the following issues:

  • Uncontrollable laughter or happiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Increased heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

If you experience any of these issues, you should know that long-term damage is also possible.

Long-term Effects of Hallucinogens

People who take hallucinogens may suffer from any of the following problems:

  • Hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD) is a mental disorder characterized by visual disturbances weeks or months after using these drugs. To suffer from HPPD, patients must have previously abused hallucinogens. Common visual disturbances include movement in the periphery fields, halos around objects and blurry objects. HPPD is often confused with flashbacks, but the difference between the two are that this condition is persistent. This disorder may be treatable for some, but years of treatment may not reduce symptoms. A number of off-label medications treat HPPD, and some anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications have shown promise in managing the problem.
  • After you take hallucinogens, you may experience a flashback weeks, months or even years after doing so. Flashbacks usually only last a minute or two, and they can be pleasant, but they can also be frightening. Flashbacks do not always occur, but when they do they are unpredictable. They may be brought on by stress or another drug, but their cause is unclear. During a flashback, people are usually aware that the effect is drug-induced, but flashbacks that occur without warning can still cause distress.
  • No link has been proven between hallucinogens and mental health disorders, but, if you are genetically predisposed to schizophrenia or psychosis, then using a hallucinogen could increase your risk. Chemicals such as LSD are highly potent, so they greatly disrupt the brain. Some users experience psychosis while under the influence of psychedelics, but others may not show signs of psychosis for months after use. One study found that, of nearly 100 patients who were hospitalized for psychosis, 63 percent of admissions used hallucinogens within three years of being hospitalized. Studies have shown that there is no causal link between hallucinogens and mental health disorders, but taking a psychedelic drug causes you to take a risk that you do not need to take; these risks can lead to dangerous health problems.

If you abuse hallucinogens, then seek professional help to quit and to recover.

Treating Hallucinogen Abuse

If you have been abusing hallucinogens and need help quitting and recovering, then call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day to speak with you about why addiction affects you. They can even let you know how addiction treatment can help. During treatment you can receive medication and therapy to reduce HPPD symptoms and other problems. When you call do not forget to ask if your health insurance will help pay for rehab. With professional assistance, anyone can overcome drug abuse, so pick up the phone and give us a call right now.

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