Hallucinogen effects work on a person’s consciousness and sensory perceptions, so this class of drugs tends to attract a certain type of user. While nowhere as addictive as opiates, sedatives or stimulants, hallucinogens still produce certain aftereffects, especially in cases of long-time drug use.
Withdrawal symptoms of hallucinogens can take any number of forms, which plays into who’s most likely to develop signs of withdrawal. Length of time using also affects the likelihood a person will experience withdrawal symptoms of hallucinogens.
Hallucinogen effects can take any number of forms depending on:
- The type of drug used
- The user’s mood state
- The surrounding environment
- The user’s tolerance level
Hallucinogen effects stem from their ability to activate certain neurotransmitter-producing cells in the brain and central nervous system. According to the Institute for Substance Abuse Treatment Evaluation, most hallucinogen drugs target glutamate and serotonin neurotransmitter chemicals among others. These chemicals regulate many of the body’s essential processes, including:
- Emotional responses
- Movement and coordination
- Sensory perceptions
Consequently, withdrawal symptoms of hallucinogens tend to target one or more of the above processes. In general, the longer a person abuses this class of drugs, the more severe withdrawal symptoms of hallucinogens become.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Hallucinogens
- Drug cravings
- Inability to experience joy or contentment
- Fluctuations in body temperature
- Feelings of rage
- Panic attacks
- Psychotic episodes
Who Experiences Withdrawal Symptoms of Hallucinogens?
People Who’ve Developed Physical Dependency
Once withdrawal symptoms of hallucinogens take shape, brain chemical imbalances have developed to the point where a person requires the drug in order to feel some semblance of normalcy. In effect, these conditions indicate a physical dependency is at work. While only a handful of hallucinogens actually produce withdrawal symptoms (LSD, ketamine and others), physical dependency nonetheless becomes the first stage in the abuse/addiction cycle.
People Who’ve Developed an Addiction
More than anything else, hallucinogen users face a high risk of addiction, as these drugs tend to breed psychological dependency with regular, long-term use. Once addiction takes hold, withdrawal symptoms most affect a person’s emotional state and day-to-day behaviors to the point where other important areas in his or her life start to suffer, such as:
- Work performance
- Close relationships
- Physical health
- Mental health
Long-time hallucinogen abuse leaves the brain in a chemically imbalanced state that can persist long after a person stops using these drugs. Former addicts with a long history of drug use are often left with a certain degree of brain damage within the cognitive and sensory regions.
Under these conditions, withdrawal symptoms of hallucinogens may take the form of:
- Persistent feelings of paranoia
- Violent outbursts on an ongoing basis
- Schizophrenic-like behaviors
- Full-blown psychosis
According to Bryn Mawr College, long-time users also face a risk of experiencing ongoing flashbacks of previous drug experiences or “trips.” A former addict may experience flashbacks at any given time, which can greatly disrupt his or her ability to function in daily life.
Ultimately, hallucinogens have a cumulative effect on the brain’s chemical balance as well as on brain function in general. This means, the longer a person continues to use these drugs the more likely he or she will experience withdrawal effects.
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