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How the Short Term Effects of Hallucinogens Can Turn Into Long-Term Problems

Although the short term effects of hallucinogens may seem harmless, they can lead to lasting and even permanent consequences.

Hallucinogen abuse has for the most part remained in the background of an ongoing addiction epidemic taking over the country. Compared to opiate and stimulant drugs, most hallucinogens carry little to no risk for abuse and addiction. Overall, the short term effects of hallucinogens pose little to no threat for the casual user; however, short term effects can turn into long term problems with ongoing drug use.

Unlike the “high” effects of opiate- and stimulant-type drugs, hallucinogens produce altered states of consciousness through their effects on the brain’s chemical system. Over time, the repeated interference with brain functioning opens the door for the short term effects of hallucinogens to cause ongoing problems in a person’s daily life.


According to Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, hallucinogens as a group are best known for their ability to induce altered states of consciousness in terms of perceptions, moods and environment. Hallucinogens take the form of plants, mushrooms and synthetic formulations, each of which produces varying effects depending on type.

Effects of Hallucinogens

Over time, hallucinogen abuse can lead to a depression disorder.

In general, three classifications of hallucinogens exist:

  • Dissociatives – PCP, ketamine, mushrooms
  • Psychedelics – peyote, LSD
  • Deliriants – deadly nightshade, datura

These classifications represent the primary effect each group produces. Differences in effect result from the areas of the brain most affected by the different drug types. Likewise, short term effects of hallucinogens can vary depending on the type of drug used.

Feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-609-2774 (Who Answers?) to ask about hallucinogen rehab treatment programs.

Short Term Effects of Hallucinogens

According to, hallucinogens leave users unaware of their surrounding environment while creating an alternate reality inside the mind. While short term in duration, these effects can be danger in and of themselves.

Short term effects of hallucinogens typically take the following forms:

  • Changes in emotions
  • Distorted sensory perceptions
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Violent behavior displays
  • Confused thinking
  • Elevated blood pressure rates
  • Lack of muscle control
  • Loss of coordination
  • Pleasant and/or horrifying hallucinations
  • Distorted body awareness, such as feelings of floating or being outside one’s body

Recognizing Psychedelic Drug Abuse in Men

Potential Long-Term Hallucinogen Effects

The majority of hallucinogen drugs exert their greatest effects on the brain’s serotonin system. Serotonin, a primary neurotransmitter chemical, regulates a person’s mood state, behavior, memory and sex drive. According to Bryn Mawr College, the altered states of consciousness brought on by hallucinogens result from their effects on the serotonin system.

With regular drug use, the short term effects of hallucinogens can have a lasting impression on the processes most affected by these drugs. Over time, users run the risk of developing long-term problems in the form of:

  • Emotional instability
  • Recurring flashback episodes of previous drug trips
  • Aggressive tendencies
  • Confused thinking
  • Decline in reasoning and decision-making abilities
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Impaired visual field, such as cloudy or graininess
  • Heart problems
  • Psychotic-like thinking and behavior
  • Depression disorder

Overall, the short term effects of hallucinogens hold the potential to alter the brain’s system in fundamental ways with some effects being long-term in nature. While these drugs are nowhere as dangerous as the more addictive drug types, a person can develop a psychological dependence on their effects, which essentially drives the addiction cycle.

If you or someone you know struggles with hallucinogen abuse and need help finding treatment, call 800-609-2774 (Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addiction specialists about available treatment options.

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