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Are Hallucinogens Addictive When Used Every Now and Then?

Although most hallucinogens don't cause addiction, there are some exceptions and other negative side effects of abusing these drugs.

Hallucinogens include a hodgepodge of different plants and synthetic substances, all of which produce psychoactive effects that vary in potency and type of effect. Compared to the addiction potential of stimulant and opiate-based drugs, hallucinogens pale in comparison as a group, though a few of these drug types can be addictive.

For someone who uses hallucinogens every now and then, the risk of addiction runs low; however, these drugs are known to produce unpredictable effects so different people can react to these drug in different ways.

Are hallucinogens addictive when used on a regular basis? This really depends on the type of drug, but it helps to keep in mind that any drug capable of altering the brain’s chemical makeup holds some potential for abuse and addiction.

Call our toll-free helpline at 800-609-2774 (Who Answers?) for information on rehab programs that treat hallucinogen abuse and addiction.


What most distinguishes hallucinogens from other drug types is their ability to alter a person’s mood and perceptions of the surrounding environment. In this respect, some hallucinogens produce full-blown hallucinations while others may only distort one’s sense of time and space. LSD, a drug that best represents the hallucinogen drug group, produces a range of effects depending on the dosage amount taken.

Are Hallucinogens Addictive

Confused thinking is a common sign of hallucinogen addiction.

Other more commonly used hallucinogens include:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, like most all addictive drugs, hallucinogens have chemical structures that resemble the brain’s own neurotransmitter chemicals. This similarity accounts for the inherent potential for addiction when using hallucinogens on a regular basis.

If you only use these drugs every now and then, the potential for addiction really depends on how your system reacts to any one drug type.

Hallucinogens and the Brain

A good majority of hallucinogen drugs exert their greatest effects on the brain’s serotonin system. Serotonin, a primary neurotransmitter chemical, regulates movement, thought processes and emotion.

According to Villanova University, hallucinogen interactions with the serotonin system produce the following effects:

  • Hearing voices
  • Seeing imaginary colors and shapes
  • Feeling intense emotions, both pleasant and frightening
  • Out-of-body sensations

While not physically addictive, the answer to the question “are hallucinogens addictive” is yes when it comes to psychological dependence. With psychological dependence, the mind comes to need a drug’s effect to cope with everyday life.

Some of the most addictive hallucinogen drugs include:

  • PCP
  • MDMA
  • Ketamine
  • DMT

Treatment for Psychedelic Abuse and Comorbid Disorders

Signs to Watch For

With the more addictive hallucinogen drugs, frequent or daily use would eventually take on a life of its own, driving a person to engage in compulsive drug-using and drug-seeking behavior. Signs of addiction tend to show up within a person’s emotions and behaviors.

Signs to watch for include:

  • Preoccupation with getting and/or using the drug
  • Neglecting other important life areas, such as work and family
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Confused thinking
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Decline in work performance
  • Decline in appearance or hygiene

When all is said and done, the question “are hallucinogens addictive” has to do with how any one drug interacts with the brain’s chemical system. As with any other type of drug abuse, once addiction takes hold the need for some form of treatment help increases the longer the problem persists.

Call our toll-free helpline at 800-609-2774 (Who Answers?) if you need help finding a rehab program that can address your specific treatment needs.

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