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Are Psychedelics Dangerous?

Many people think it is unfair to lump psychedelics in with more harmful and addictive drugs like heroin and cocaine. In fact, some psychedelic drugs such as ibogaine and ayahuasca are even touted as potential treatments of addiction. In truth, psychedelics often are much less physically harmful than other substances. However, given their unpredictable nature and potential to exacerbate mental disorders, a person suffering from the disease of addiction will, most likely, receive no benefit from engaging in psychedelic drug use.

Psychedelics encompass a wide variety of different drugs, each with their own potential consequences. PCP, for example, is a much more dangerous hallucinogen than LSD, and carries a much greater risk of overdose and death. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “High doses of PCP can cause seizures, coma, and death, though death more often results from accidental injury or suicide during PCP intoxication. Interactions between PCP and depressants such as alcohol and benzodiazepines (prescribed to relieve anxiety or promote sleep—alprazolam [Xanax®], for instance) can also lead to coma.” LSD, while not as immediately dangerous, can cause increased blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature; dizziness and sleeplessness; numbness, weakness, and tremors; and strong emotion shifts.

In the long-term, drugs like peyote and LSD can create persistent psychosis or “Hallucinogenic Persisting Perception Disorder,” commonly referred to as flashbacks. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “Although occurrence of either is rare, it is also unpredictable and may happen more often than previously thought, and sometimes both conditions occur together. While the exact causes are not known, both conditions are more often seen in individuals with a history of psychological problems but can happen to anyone, even after a single exposure.” Symptoms of persistent psychosis include visual disturbances, disorganized thinking, paranoia, and mood disturbances. Symptoms of Hallucinogenic Persisting Perception Disorder include hallucinations, visual disturbances, and symptoms that can be mistaken for more serious neurological disorders such as stroke or brain tumor.

Hallucinogens, in general, interfere with the actions of brain chemicals that are responsible for mood, sleep, body temperature, sensory perception, muscle control, pain perception, and memory. The addictive potential varies from one drug to another, but it is possible for one to develop an addiction even without physical dependence. Overtime, long-term use of the psychedelics that are generally regarded as “safe” can produce some major physical and mental health complications.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists, holistic experts, and spiritual guides to help clients develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431