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Types of Help for Psychedelic Drug Addiction

Find out about the different options available to you to cope with psychedelic drug addiction.

While hallucinogen addiction is not as common as issues with opioid addiction or even addiction to stimulants, the NIDA states 4% of 12th graders admit to past year drug use of these substances. That is higher than the abuse of cocaine, OxyContin, and Ritalin alone. Psychedelic drugs are still being abused in higher amounts than most people realize, and it is important to know and understand the types of help for psychedelic drug addiction.

Detox

Most psychedelics cause some sort of tolerance and will often create a cross-tolerance with other drugs of this type. In many cases, individuals who are abusing these drugs are able to merely stop taking them for a while and that tolerance will wear off on its own. However, certain psychedelic drugs can cause stronger abuse syndromes, some that even lead to dependence and addiction.

  • Those who abuse PCP will become addicted quickly and suffer a host of withdrawal symptoms in the process. According to the NHTSA, these can include:
    • Violence
    • Shaking
    • Psychosis
    • Depression
    • Tremors
    • Physical distress
    • Lack of energy
  • MDMA can cause lack of energy and depression when an individual suddenly stops taking the drug after a long period of abuse.
  • According to CESAR, “For several days following the use of mushrooms, users may experience a period of psychological withdrawal and have difficulty discerning reality.” This effect will likely be stronger for the individual who commonly abuses mushrooms every day and then stops abruptly.

For the most part, it is not common to experience withdrawal from psychedelics, but certain drugs (like molly/ecstasy and PCP) are more likely to cause a withdrawal syndrome when abused in the long term. If someone does experience these issues, they should seek treatment at a detox center.

These facilities can be either inpatient or outpatient-based, and the severity of the patient’s condition should be considered before they are admitted to one or the other. Usually, medications are used to help minimize the withdrawal effects. For example, someone undergoing PCP withdrawal and experiencing severe psychosis may be given antipsychotic meds to help with this issue.

Treatment Centers

For full-blown addiction syndromes, which are rare with psychedelic abuse, patients should attend treatment at a rehab center. Again, depending on the severity of their condition, whether or not they are experiencing issues with comorbid disorders, or whether they have a strong support system at home will affect their need to attend either an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility.

These centers offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Medication to help treat withdrawal
  • Therapy sessions, both individual and group-based, to help patients work through their addictions and learn to change their behavior
  • A caring and dedicated staff
  • Help with placing patients in aftercare following treatment (if necessary)
  • A controlled environment and 24-hour care (inpatient facilities only)
  • Treatment for other issues pertaining to or influencing your addiction
    • Co-occurring mental or physical conditions which have either influenced or been caused by an addiction to psychedelics
  • Help with other important aspects of reshaping your life after addiction
    • Vocational counseling, nutritional classes, re-socialization, legal help

These facilities help patients get back on their feet after suffering from a debilitating addiction. If your symptoms are severe enough, you may want to consider inpatient treatment. However, if your friends or family members are helping you and supporting your decision to attend treatment, then you may want to attend outpatient treatment and get better results, especially since they are usually much less expensive.

Support Groups

support groups psychedelic treatment

Support groups are a great method of treatment for psychedelic drug abuse.

In many instances, psychedelic drug abuse does not lead to addiction. According to CESAR, one of the most powerful hallucinogens, LSD, is not considered to be addictive in the way other drugs are. “Though tolerance to LSD develops rapidly, it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior that is typical of addictive drugs, such as crack and heroin.” One of the reasons for this is “the inconsistent effects and potential adverse reactions lead to erratic use of LSD.”

Still, abuse of drugs like LSD, psilocybin (or psychedelic mushrooms), or peyote can become long-term and harder to quit than sheer will allows. That is why support groups can also be beneficial for individuals in these situations. Some groups, like Narcotics Anonymous, will allow anyone struggling with drug addiction to attend and be strengthened by the mutual-help group mentality.

These meetings can often be found anywhere near you and usually at least once every day. Most support groups meet in facilities like churches, outreach centers, and other places that are easily accessible. Attending these meetings can be a great help to you and can allow you to remind yourself of the issues you have had with psychedelic drugs that have caused you to quit.

Therapy

Whether you choose to attend individualized drug counseling, intensive behavioral or psychotherapy, or another type of counseling, it is important to do so after long-term psychedelic drug abuse. These substances can cause intense mental disturbances and hallucinations, some of which stay with an individual their whole life. This is part of the reason why, no matter what avenue you choose for addiction help, you should still consider therapeutic treatments.

The NIDA also lists two of the most intense consequences of long-term psychedelic abuse:

  • Persistent psychosis
    • This can last for years after the individual stops abusing the drug and can be characterized by
      • An inability to determine fantasy from reality
      • Disorganized thinking or an inability to think rationally
      • Visual disturbances
      • Extreme paranoia
      • Mood disturbances
  • Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)
    • This condition often occurs with LSD, PCP, and psilocybin use in the long term. The condition is “sometimes mistaken for neurological disorders (such as stroke or brain tumor).” It can be extremely disturbing and last up to a year after the individual stops abusing these drugs, causing
      • Hallucinations
      • Visual disturbances
        • Halos
        • Trails
      • Flashbacks to former instances of psychedelic drug abuse

Though addiction to these drugs is rare, it does happen, and those who take these substances in the long term will require some kind of help when it comes to ending their use of them and recuperating from their effects. Attend some sort of psychedelic drug addiction treatment or reach out to others, as one of the best ways to get help is to ask a friend or family member.

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