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PCP and Mental Illness – Am I at Risk?

As one of the most powerful hallucinogenic drugs on the market, PCP can cause a range of physical and psychological problems, especially when used on a regular basis. While PCP abuse in its pure form has declined over the past few decades, street drugs like marijuana are often laced with PCP.

According to Medscape, PCP was originally used as an anesthetic and tranquilizer in the 1950s and 60s. PCP’s medicinal uses were soon discontinued due to its adverse effects. Not surprisingly, PCP and mental illness risks run high if you use this drug on an ongoing basis.

Knowing what signs to watch for can help you determine whether some form of treatment help is needed.

Call our toll-free helpline at 800-592-1193 to ask about PCP rehab program options.

PCP Brain Effects

PCP’s anesthetic properties account for its hallucinatory effects. Once ingested, PCP increases dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine production while decreasing glutamate outputs. These neurotransmitter chemicals regulate:

  • Learning
  • Pain/pleasure sensations
  • Memory
  • Emotions

PCP essentially shuts off communications between the brain and body, leaving the user incapable of interacting with his or her surrounding environment. With regular drug use, these interactions create residual effects, which account for the risks associated with PCP and mental illness.

PCP Behavioral Effects

PCP and Mental Illness

PCP abuse can cause drastic emotional shifts.

The dissociative state brought on by a PCP “high” creates a floating sensation where users feels separated from their bodies. This effect can incite strong emotions that vary depending on how a person reacts to the experience.

Behaviors commonly exhibited during a PCP “high” include:

  • Holding conversations with voices that no one else hears.
  • Screaming at people that aren’t there.
  • Drastic shifts in emotion, such as crying and laughing for no apparent reason.
  • Running away from an imagined threat.

Over time, dissociative states may start to linger long after the drug’s effects wear off. PCP and mental illness risks increase considerably as a result.

PCP and Mental Illness – Signs to Watch for

Depression

Dissociative states impair your ability to connect with others and experience genuine emotion. In turn, your risk of developing a full-blown depression disorder increases the longer these conditions persist.

According to the University of Maryland, frequent PCP use can lead to severe depression to the point where a person becomes suicidal.

Recurring Flashbacks

It’s not uncommon for regular PCP users to relive previous “high” experiences, also known as flashbacks. During a flashback episode, the brain’s chemical system also “relives” the experience in terms of the disruption in chemical process that occurs.

Before long, recurring flashbacks have lasting effects on a person’s sensory perceptions and emotional state. PCP and mental illness risks increase when recurring flashbacks persist over long time periods.

Is PCP the Most Dangerous Hallucinogenic Drug?

Social Withdrawal & Isolation

As with any form of drug abuse, the longer a person engages in PCP abuse the more he or she wants to keep using it. Not surprisingly, regular users start to develop odd perceptions and behaviors over time.

These effects can breed overly-suspicious perceptions of others to the point where a person starts to withdraw from social interactions altogether. Regular users may also start to exhibit odd behaviors that drive others away.

These developments make for prime conditions for mental illness to take root in a person’s life.

If you or someone you know struggles with PCP abuse and are considering getting treatment, we can help. Call our helpline at 800-592-1193 to discuss treatment options with one of our addiction counselors.

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