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Psychedelics and Addiction Treatment: Is It Necessary?

Certain psychedelic drugs can cause severe addiction syndromes that won't subside without professional treatment.

It is often believed that every drug of abuse can cause a severe addiction syndrome, but this is actually untrue. Some drugs do require professional addiction treatment for those who abuse them regularly but others cannot actually cause the kind of uncontrolled, compulsive use associated with addiction. Many psychedelics actually fit into this category, though not all do.

Non-addictive Psychedelic Drugs

Psychedelics and Addiction Treatment

Certain psychedelic drugs, such as PCP, can cause an addiction syndrome that requires treatment.

Certain psychedelic drugs, including LSD, peyote, and psychedelic mushrooms, do not cause addiction syndromes in the way most Schedule I substances do. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, there are four reasons for this:

    The drugs mentioned have a long duration of effects, meaning “the user will not have to purchase the drug on a rapidly recurring basis.” The drugs mentioned cause tolerance to develop so quickly and rapidly that a person cannot gain much of anything out of repeated ingestion. The drugs mentioned cause “inconsistent effects and potential adverse reactions,” which make people less likely to use them on a consistent basis. The drugs mentioned may sometimes create hallucinations so powerful and, often, frightening that many individuals will abstain from the use of them for a while in order to recover from their previous experience.

This is why many psychedelics do not cause addiction and, therefore, do not require addiction treatment. Usually, someone who has been using LSD, peyote, or psychedelic mushrooms will stop heavy use for one or several of these reasons, preventing themselves from becoming dependent on the drug or taking it consistently or compulsively.

Some psychedelic drugs, such as salvia divinorum, have not been studied enough to show a serious or consistent addiction syndrome and have also not presented as a serious problem in any users. For whatever reason, there are many psychedelic drugs that are not likely to lead to addiction and unlikely to require formal addiction treatment for the individual to stop using them.

Addictive Psychedelic Drugs

On the other hand, there are certain psychedelics that are addictive and, after a person takes them for a long period of time, will cause serious problems that can only be solved with treatment. PCP is one such drug, and the syndrome associated with its long-term abuse is highly dangerous. MDMA (also called molly or ecstasy) can be addictive when abused often enough, as can THC (the main psychedelic component in marijuana).

Types of Help for Psychedelic Drug Addiction

Is Psychedelic Addiction Treatment Necessary?

If an individual has begun to experience serious consequences associated with their drug abuse (job loss, financial problems, getting kicked out of school, getting arrested, losing relationships, etc.) and still is unable to stop taking the drug, or if they feel they have lost control over their drug use, addiction treatment is necessary. This type of problem does not usually occur with some psychedelics, but it can with others.

Therefore, it is important to take every individual on a case-by-case basis, considering what drug they have been abusing and how it has affected their life in order to decide if they require treatment. If you would like to learn more about psychedelics or treatment for their addiction syndromes, call 800-895-1695.

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