Dependence Of The Hallucinogen Type

Hallucinogens include LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), psilocybin, mescaline, and methylene dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Generally, other than LSD, the other hallucinogens are not available on the street.

In recent years a number of samples of a street product called “Ecstasy” have contained relatively pure methylene dioxyamphetamine (MDA).

Symptoms And Signs

These substances induce a state of excitation and mood change from euphoric to depressive. Psychic dependence on hallucinogens varies greatly but usually is not intense. There is no evidence of physical dependence when the drugs are abruptly withdrawn. LSD can develop a high degree of tolerance but disappears quickly. Individuals who are tolerant to any one of these drugs are cross-tolerant to the others.

The greatest dangers to the user are psychological effects and impaired judgment. Some persons, particularly those who are repeated users of the hallucinogens, especially LSD, may experience drug effects after discontinued use. These effects are commonly referred to as “flashbacks” which usually consist of visual illusions. “Flashbacks” can be brought on by use of marijuana, alcohol or barbiturates, by stress or fatigue or may occur without apparent reason. What produces “flashbacks” is not known, but they tend to decrease in frequency over a period of six months to one year.

Dependence On Phencyclidine (PCP)

PCP has emerged as an important drug of abuse. It is not easily classified and should be considered separately from the hallucinogenic drugs.

PCP was tested as an anesthetic agent in humans in the late 1950’s. It was withdrawn because people experienced severe anxiety and delusions. Clinical testing stopped in 1962 and PCP appeared as a street drug in 1967.

Occasionally injected or ingested, it is most frequently sprinkled on smoking material and inhaled. Since the frequent reports of problems with PCP in 1978, the number of reports has declined significantly.

Symptoms And Signs

A giddy euphoria usually occurs with low doses often followed by bursts of anxiety. Effects of higher doses include a withdrawn catatonic state. In treatment, Diazepam (Valium) is often helpful.