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Choosing the Best Private Psychedelics Addiction Treatment Center

Psychedelic drugs are closely associated with 1960s culture. In fact, it’s difficult to overlook the influence of drugs during this time period. Strawberry Alarm Clock encouraged people to “Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around.” Art contained fantastic swirls and loops of color, and homes were decorated with black lights and curtains of beads that would appeal to someone on a drug-induced trip. People like Timothy Leary held highly publicized “love ins,” where drug use was common. There’s no question that this was a heady period for psychedelics abuse.

That doesn’t mean, however, that psychedelics disappeared when the 1960s ended. In fact, according to the Office of Applied Studies, in 2008, 1,406 adolescents used hallucinogenic drugs for the first time. During that same year, 3,695 adolescents used marijuana for the first time. It’s clear that these drugs still have an appeal, and many people who use these drugs face serious consequences as a result of their use.

A History Lesson

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History of PsychedelicsIt’s almost impossible to discuss psychedelics without discussing Timothy Leary. This Harvard psychology professor began experimenting with LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs, including mushrooms, in the 1950s. According to a website produced by the University of Virginia, he began experimenting on himself and his friends, and eventually began experimenting on prison inmates, trying to determine how the drugs worked and how they could be used. While Leary may have believed he was conducting his experiments in a rigorous manner with tightly controlled parameters, he was also considered a bit of a rogue character who tended to promote the drugs instead of investigating them. As an article in the journal The Lancet makes clear, Leary’s work encouraged people to take the drugs illegally, for recreational or enlightenment purposes, but it did not encourage doctors to study the drugs for legitimate medicinal purposes. It’s possible, in fact, that the recreational nature of Leary’s work made the drugs even more suspect and made the behavior surrounding their use seem even more criminal. Most psychedelic drugs have been considered illegal for many years as a result.

The term “psychedelics” is an umbrella term that covers many different individual drugs. Some of these drugs come from natural sources, such as plants or molds, but others were born in the laboratory and cannot be created via natural methods. The one aspect that all of these drugs have in common is that they create an altered state in the user. Examples include:

  • LSD
  • Peyote
  • Magic mushrooms
  • PCP
  • Marijuana

All of these drugs tend to work slightly differently, so it pays to describe them on an individual basis.

LSD

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this substance was discovered in 1938, and its active ingredient comes from a mold that grows on rye and other grains. LSD can be sold in tablet form, but often, the liquid form of the drug is dropped in decorative designs on tiny pieces of absorbent paper, which the user can place on or beneath the tongue. The sensations caused by LSD use can be intense, and they can vary from user to user. Some people report rapid shifts in mood, switching from euphoria to panic and back again within the space of a few minutes. Some people experience horrifying or frightening thoughts that they cannot seem to work through. The drug can also cause sweating, dilated pupils, tremors and an increased heart rate.

Mushrooms and Peyote

These natural substances have been used in religious ceremonies for decades, as participants look for ways to increase their consciousness and connect with the divine. The way that these drugs work isn’t completely understood, but researchers quoted in an article for The Guardian suggest that the drugs may shut down parts of the brain that are associated with connectedness and perception of reality. People who use these substances report a dream-like state in which creativity is rampant, and colors, sounds and sensation seem much more vivid and accessible. The drugs do more than cause effects in the mind, however. Flushing of the skin and sweating are common with peyote use, while mushroom use can cause nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.

PCP

This drug is more commonly known by its street name: Angel Dust. Originally, this drug was developed for use as an anesthetic, but its use was discontinued when studies suggested that the drug caused more harm than good, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. People who use PCP experience hallucinations, delusional thoughts, feelings of invincibility, anxiety and feelings of panic. The drug can also cause drooling, unusual eye movements, loss of balance, nausea and vomiting. At high doses, the drug can cause a severe slowdown in breathing, and this can lead to death.

Marijuana

This drug is produced from the stems, seeds and leaves of the hemp plant, and users typically burn the product and inhale the smoke. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, rapidly moves from the lungs to the brain, where it produces a sensation of warmth and happiness. This drug is included in the psychedelics group as some users report a distorted sense of time and space, experiencing changes in their sense of sight, smell and hearing. Not all users experience this sensation, however, and people who do may not always experience it when they use marijuana. Marijuana can also cause dry mouth, red eyes and an increased sense of hunger.

Use is Problematic

The short- and long-term risks of using these drugs can be staggering. For example, a study in the journal Anxiety Disorders found that people with a history of psychedelics abuse had a higher risk of experiencing panic attack disorder at some time in their lives. A panic attack is often described as an impending sense of doom or death, and is accompanied by a racing heart, sweating, trembling and pain. This is not a side effect anyone would willingly sign up for.

The article published in The Guardian suggests that magic mushroom users face a higher-then-average risk of poisoning. Mushrooms are difficult to classify, even for people who are accustomed to doing so on a daily basis, and many people accidentally ingest toxic forms of mushrooms when they intend to ingest hallucinogenic forms. In addition, an article in the magazine Science Daily suggests that people who use magic mushrooms just once can experience changes in personality that can last for a year or more. The researchers suggest that these changes could, possibly, be beneficial for some people, but it’s still considered a gamble. After all, few people would choose to change their personalities on a permanent basis, if they can avoid doing so.

People who abuse drugs like PCP face a serious risk of addiction. As a study published in the journal Life Sciences makes clear, PCP acts upon the dopamine pathway, increasing sensations of pleasure and decreasing sensations of pain. This pathway is considered the “addiction pathway,” and it forms the basis for a wide variety of addictions, including heroin addiction. In addition, PCP can cause such severe mania and feelings of unreality that the person could do something life-threatening such as jumping off a building, getting into a fight or running into traffic. The risk of premature death is certainly present.

Those who use LSD can face flashbacks – a period of distorted sensations of unreality that can last from a few minutes to a few hours. These flashbacks can take place for months or years after the user has stopped taking LSD, and some people need medical management similar to the therapy provided to people with schizophrenia.

Marijuana use has also been closely linked to addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. People who abuse the drug report that they’re unable to stop their use, even though they know the drug isn’t beneficial for them, and they experience physical pain and longing for the drug when they stop using it.

Spotting Use and Getting Help

While the effects and symptoms of psychedelics can vary widely, there are a few hallmark symptoms of use to watch for:

  • Increased use of pro-drug phrases and drug-related paraphernalia
  • Extreme shifts in mood
  • Mania or expressions of invincibility
  • Frequent requests for money
  • Scent of marijuana in the air
  • Slow breathing or sedated appearance

While some of these drugs, such as PCP and mushrooms, aren’t technically considered addictive as they do not tend to create compulsive use in laboratory experiments on humans and animals, there are some people who can become addicted to the sensations that the drugs provide. They may enjoy the heightened sense of connectedness or the feeling of increased perception. If these people use the drugs each day, to the exclusion of other activities, that could also reasonably be called addiction. In other words, anytime someone is using a substance on a regular basis and is unable/unwilling to stop, it’s a reasonable time to suggest addiction help. These drugs carry such serious risks, both in the long and the short term, and people really do need to stop taking them. Addiction therapies can help the person understand why they take the drugs, and how they can stop taking drugs and avoid future temptations. This could be an excellent way to keep the person safe from drug-related problems down the line.

If you know someone who is suffering from an addiction to psychedelics, it’s important to get them the help they need. Contact us for more information. We can put you in touch with some of the nation’s top addiction treatment programs today.