hallucinogens withdrawal and detox

Modified: 22nd Jul 2019

What are hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens refer to a diverse group of drugs capable of altering perception, thoughts, and feelings. These are capable of inducing hallucinations (as the name suggests), and distorting a person’s perception of reality.

These drugs come in a variety of forms. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is one among many hallucinogens. Certain mushrooms have hallucinogenic properties as well.

In fact, these hallucinogens are prevalent even among 10th and 12th graders (at 4.2% to 6.7% respectively).

What Causes Hallucinogen Withdrawal?

Hallucinogen withdrawal results from chemical imbalances in the brain. This varies in degree due to the frequency and usage of the substance, as well as the specific drug used.

Hallucinogenic drugs mess up the neurotransmitters in the brain. Glutamate, as well as serotonin, are among these neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters play essential roles in moderating multiple major bodily processes.

Serotonin, in particular, helps launch the sympathetic nervous system. Serotonin is the body chemical that triggers and regulates the body’s “fight-or-flight” response.

Long-term use of hallucinogens may lead to widespread brain damage. This can persist for years even after the person stops using them.

Hallucinogen Withdrawal Symptoms

While hallucinogens vary in form and type, they have common symptoms present. If you or a loved one are experiencing hallucinogen withdrawal symptoms, you can identify them through the following.

There are two types of withdrawal symptoms that occur with hallucinogens. These are physical and psychological, yet psychological symptoms are far worse than physical symptoms.

Every hallucinogen will display unique withdrawal characteristics. This means tat lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) would have specific withdrawal symptoms compared to others.

Here are the notable psychological symptoms of hallucinogen withdrawal:

  • Panic Episodes
  • Speech Problems
  • Psychotic-Type Breaks From Reality
  • Severe Mood Swings
  • Feelings of Rage
  • Low Impulse Control

While here are the physical symptoms:

  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Blood Pressure Increase
  • Breathing Rate Increase
  • Stiffening of Muscles
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Body Temperature Fluctuation

LSD has specific withdrawal symptoms that are unique to its users. There are others who do not experience these symptoms. Still, it can bring an intense impact on the user’s thoughts, moods, and perceptions to the point that it alters them completely.

LSD withdrawal symptoms may include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood Swings
  • Concentration Problems
  • Confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Paranoia
  • Random flashback episodes of drug-related hallucinations
  • Schizophrenic-type Symptoms

Due to this, there may be ongoing psychological distress. These can lead to impaired functioning for varying time periods after ceasing. This will require long-time LSD users to take on professional addiction treatment in order for them to stop.

Duration of Hallucinogen Withdrawal

What dictates the withdrawal duration and intensity of withdrawal lies in the drug’s potency. Usage frequency and the length of time the drug has been used also affect withdrawal. The user’s physiology and the drug dosage are also key factors to the withdrawal.

Keep in mind that each hallucinogen bears different effects and withdrawal duration. Some of these have defined timelines while others do not. Hallucinogens like LSD have no recorded withdrawal timeline profiles.

However, other hallucinogens like MDMA have a better-understood timeline present. The following details hold the breakdown of that timeline:

Hallucinogen Withdrawal Timeline

Days 1-3. Withdrawal symptoms will begin manifesting within a couple of days of quitting. The user may experience anxiety, insomnia, and irritability.

Paranoia, loss of appetite, and depression are also present. It’s also the same with fatigue and the inability to concentrate. These symptoms may manifest quickly and with intensity.

Days 4-10: Withdrawal symptoms may last for about a week, lessening at a gradual pace as time goes on. Certain symptoms would continue for a bit longer, like cravings, depression, insomnia, as well as memory and concentration-related problems.

Days 11+: From this point on, depression may still remain intense. This is due to changes in your brain chemistry.

Your brain chemistry requires re-adjusting to being outside the influence of substance abuse. Struggles with other symptoms may continue to persist, such as insomnia, memory and concentration problems.

It’s a different case when taking LSD. Painful flashbacks and emotional disturbances can occur for days or reach up to even months or years.

There is no specific timeline for withdrawal. It may take months to be completely free from the influences of drug abuse.

Detoxing from Hallucinogens On Your Own

The risk is high if you plan to detox on your own. With the way hallucinogens affect the user’s body and mind, you run the risk of long-term mental health issues as well as the risk of relapse. Seeking immediate help is highly advised.

There are treatment options available for you. The most effective treatment would be the combined work of therapy and residential rehab.

Medical Detox for Hallucinogens

A medical detox can help in addressing and treating hallucinogen withdrawal. This is thanks to how it provides a safe environment and medical supervision. The patient can go through the treatment without any complications.

While the effects of withdrawal vary for each person, so are the hallucinogens that they may have taken prior. Careful monitoring of the patient is critical for the person’s recovery.

How Medical Detox Works and What to Expect

The type of treatment required depends on the hallucinogen used, and how long the patient was using it for.

The most effective method for this is the inpatient and outpatient detox. Facilities for these provide comprehensive therapy and essential treatment.

Inpatient detox provides medical supervision and daily monitoring. These facilities provide a calm and secluded environment for patients. The presence of supportive staff members allows for a comfortable process as well as the availability of medical support 24/7.

As for outpatient detox, the patient can make regular visits for treatment. This provides more freedom and the ability to maintain daily work schedules. This makes it suitable for those with a less-severe mental dependency on the drug.

Medications Available for Hallucinogens Detox

There are no medications available for treating hallucinogen addiction directly, as the addiction is more geared towards the psychological than the physical. The treatment utilized to address this is therapy.

However, certain withdrawal symptoms get addressed by anti-depressant medications and Benzodiazepines. These are only used to ease aggression and aggressive behavior during withdrawal.

This is why medical supervision is highly advised when undergoing the treatment.

Get Help Treating Hallucinogens Addiction Today

In treating addiction and the withdrawal symptoms brought by hallucinogens, finding the right medical detox facility is important.

What you will need is an effective medical detox program with a supportive medical staff to help you. If you need help with detoxification, rehab, and treatment, contact us today.