Dissociative Drugs

Dissociative Drugs

Dissociative drugs are a class of substances with hallucinogenic properties and are known for inducing perceptual changes involving sight, sound, and connections with one’s surroundings. They also produce feelings of dissociation from both the environment and oneself. While many dissociative drugs have no approved medical purpose, some forms are used as an anesthetic and others can be obtained as over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicines.

Common dissociative drugs include the following:

  • PCP (Phencyclidine) or Angel Dust
  • Ketamine (Special K)
  • DXM (Dextromethorphan)
  • Salvia divinorum

How Do Dissociative Drugs Work?

Dissociative drugs act on the brain by obstructing signals to the conscious mind from different regions of the brain. Research suggests that this blockage may happen as the drugs interrupt the functioning of glutamate, a brain chemical involved in processes such as cognition, emotion, and pain perception. This may explain the hallucinations, sensory deprivation, and dream-like states experienced by those who use this class of drug.

Also, some dissociatives have general depressant effects as well, which is why they are sometimes prescribed to sedate patients who are experiencing significant pain or for general anesthesia during an operation.

Additionally, dissociative drugs alter the activities of dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter that promotes the feelings of euphoria associated with drug abuse.

Short-Term Effects

Dissociative drug users report experiencing visual and auditory distortions and a sense of floating. They also report feelings of being detached from reality (dissociation). Often, dissociative drugs begin affecting the user within a few minutes of consumption and last for several hours.

Adverse effects may include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Impaired motor function
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Tremors
  • Numbness
  • Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Increase in blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and respiration

In high doses, dissociative drugs use can result in psychological distress including intense feelings of panic, fear, paranoia, grandiosity, and aggression. Using these drugs combined with high doses of alcohol or other central nervous system depressants can lead to respiratory arrest, which results in death.

Each type of dissociative drug can have its own specific effects in addition to the aforementioned general effects. The severity of these effects is often related to the amount of the drug the user consumes. Like hallucinogens, the effects of dissociative drugs can be unpredictable.


At moderate to high doses, PCP use can lead to seizures and severe muscle contractions. Persons high on PCP can become aggressive, violent, and engage in psychotic behavior.


At moderate to high doses, Ketamine use can cause heavy sedation, immobility, and amnesia. Some users encounter a near-death experience also known as a “K-hole” in which they become severely detached from the senses and reality.

Salvia Divinorum

Users of salvia report experiencing emotional mood swings ranging from depression to uncontrollable laughter. These effects are incredibly intense but only last for up to about 30 minutes.

Although it’s classified as a dissociative drug, salvia divinorum works on the brain a little differently than other substances by activating the kappa opioid receptor on nerve cells.


Although safe when used as directed as a cough suppressant, DXM (dextromethorphan) can induce effects similar to PCP and ketamine when taken in extremely high doses (200 to 1,500 milligrams).

Because DXM is most commonly abused in the form of cough syrup, which may also contain antihistamines, effects can also include a heightened risk of respiratory distress, seizures, and increased heart rate.

Long-Term Effects

Some long-term effects of dissociative drug use can include memory loss, speech problems, depression, suicidal ideations, anxiety, and social isolation, and may persist for a year or longer after cessation of drug use.

Also, chronic users can develop a tolerance for dissociative drugs, and upon discontinuation, they experience withdrawal symptoms that include cravings, headaches, and sweating.

Treatment for Dissociative Drug Addiction

Dissociative drug addiction occurs when a person consistently uses a substance without a prescription from a physician, taking it in amounts higher or more often than directed, despite understanding its potentially harmful effects.

The long-term impact of dissociative drug use is not fully understood, and there is some debate as to whether these drugs are chemically addictive in the same way as, say, heroin or other opioids. However, there is little doubt that chronic use of these drugs can lead to psychological dependence and tolerance, two conditions that rapidly lead to drug-seeking behavior and addiction.

Persons who are abusing dissociative drugs face significant risks to their mental and physical health and should seek help immediately from addiction specialists and participate in an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Our center offers both formats that include evidence-based approaches such as behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, counseling, and group support.

You can restore sanity to your life and experience the long-lasting happiness and wellness you deserve. Call us now to find out how we can help!

Is Acid Addictive?

Is Acid Addictive | Recovery In Tune

Acid is not considered to be chemically addictive. However, regular users can develop a tolerance and psychological dependence and may therefore benefit from professional substance abuse treatment.

Treatment programs are designed to help people stop using LSD and other drugs or alcohol. The most appropriate mode of treatment depends on how much the person is using the drug, if they abuse other drugs or alcohol, and whether they suffer from co-existing mental health conditions.

What Class Drug Is Acid?

LSD (Acid) is in a class of drugs known as hallucinogens, and alter a person’s perceptions of reality, causing auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations for up to 12 hours. LSD is technically not an addictive drug. Most traditionally addictive drugs encourage compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, but LSD rarely does, and also does not result in physical cravings for more.

However, people who frequently use acid often develop a tolerance – meaning that, over time, they need to increase their dose to achieve the desired effects. And although LSD does not cause chemical dependence, it can be psychologically addictive. Moreover, those who enjoy the sensory changes produced by LSD may want to keep using the drug to continue these experiences.

In addition, many acid users are also poly-substance abusers, meaning that they routinely use more than one substance. One study discovered that the drugs most often used concurrently with LSD are alcohol and marijuana.

How to Recognize LSD Abuse

Hallucinogen use disorder is typically diagnosed in people under the age of 30, and recovery rates are very high. Most who struggle with substance abuse will continue to compulsively use drugs even when that use leads to adverse consequences. It is believed that specific changes in brain circuitry may occur as a result of continued drug abuse, which may reduce the ability of a person addicted to drugs to resist the compulsion to keep using them.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), a person who experiences at least two of the following symptoms within a 12-month period may meet the diagnostic criteria for a hallucinogen use disorder:

  • Using more of the drugs than planned.
  • Having difficulty controlling drug use.
  • Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, and recovering from drug use.
  • Experiencing cravings for hallucinogenic drugs.
  • Failing to carry out essential life responsibilities in areas such as work, school, or home because of drug use.
  • Continuing to use LSD despite consequences that result from use.
  • You neglect other activities that were previously important, such as work, friendships, social engagements, etc.
  • Using LSD under hazardous conditions, such as when driving.
  • Continuing to use LSD even though it causes or exacerbates a psychological or physical condition.
  • Developing a tolerance to the drug, so that increasingly higher doses are needed to achieve the desired effects.
  • Experiencing physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued.

Short-Term Effects Of LSD

An LSD high or “trip” can result in a number of short-term effects. Most users experience the effects of LSD within about 30 minutes of administration, and trips can last several hours.

Time may seem to lag or accelerate, and users usually see, hear, and feel things that are not apparent to others. Users frequently report synesthesia, which is a sort of overlapping of senses, such as “hearing” color or “seeing” sounds.

Using LSD typically results in some of the following effects:

  • Increased heart rate and body temperature
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lack of physical coordination
  • Sweating

Good and Bad “Trips”

Positive experiences while using LSD are also known as “good trips,” and some report that the distortions of time and sensation feel good or that the high was a religious or mystical experience. However, sometimes, a person who has taken LSD will have a “bad trip” and encounter terrifying hallucinations, feel as if they do not exist, or experience feelings of panic and anxiety and wish for the experience to end.

It’s difficult to predict what type of experience a person will have while high on LSD, but repeated use increases the risk of having a bad trip.

Long-Term Effects Of Acid

A person who uses LSD regularly for a prolonged period will quickly develop tolerance, and it will take more and more of the drug for them to experience the coveted effects.

In addition to the development of tolerance, some who use LSD over a prolonged period may encounter some mental health problems.

Drug-Induced Psychosis

When a person uses LSD, it can cause persistent distortions in a person’s perception of reality. These distortions can occur even when the person has not recently used LSD and can include difficulty distinguishing reality from false perceptions and impaired social interaction.

Hallucinogen Persisting Perceptual Disorder

Some LSD users report “flashbacks” or unexpected disturbances in visual observations or other perceptions of the environment, even when they have not used LSD for a long time. These flashbacks can range from mild to intense experiences and can last for variable periods of time.

Treatment for Acid Addiction

Seldom is acid addictive in the same way as other drugs like alcohol and opioids – and rarely is it as problematic. Nevertheless, LSD addiction can impair the lives of those who abuse it and may exacerbate other conditions, such as mental illness and polydrug addiction.

Persons who are addicted to acid are encouraged to participate in a long-term addiction treatment program that includes psychotherapy, counseling, and group support. Most people with hallucinogen use disorder can expect a full recovery.

You can regain your life and enjoy the happiness and wellness you deserve! Contact us now to find out how we can help!

What is Ayahuasca?

What is Ayahuasca? | Recovery in Tune

Ayahuasca is a traditional brew or tea native to the Amazon that can produce an altered state of consciousness in users. It is made from two plants – B. caapi and P. viridis, the latter of which contains DMT or dimethyltryptamine. DMT is a naturally-occurring molecule similar in structure to serotonin and is responsible for the powerful experience that ayahuasca users seek.

Dimethyltryptamine is found in hundreds of plant species, and some believe that endogenous DMT (produced naturally in the body) is involved in out-of-body or spiritual experiences.

What is Ayahuasca? – A Brief History

It is unknown how long indigenous peoples have used ayahuasca, but the first records of Europeans encountering it dates back to the 16th century. Missionaries from Portugal and Spain who traveled to South America discovered native people using it, and described it, albeit controversially, as the work of the devil.

In traditional cultures, ayahuasca is often used by shamans/spiritual leaders to facilitate communication with nature. It is also used by the shamans to help identify spiritual deficits in others – for example, in Brazil, ayahuasca ceremonies are held in which participants use the drug and sing and chant.

In Western society, people have become interested in the mind-altering effects of ayahuasca and DMT, especially after hearing stories told by others detailing how using the drug has been successfully used to treat a variety of conditions such as depression and alcoholism.

How Does Ayahuasca Work? What are the Effects?

It’s important to understand that the ayahuasca vine itself doesn’t necessarily have psychoactive properties, but when combined with the p. viridis plant to create a brew, a psychedelic effect is produced.

The B. caapi vine contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, that induce sickness when ayahuasca is consumed. The primary job of the MAOIs is to stop the stomach from metabolizing the active ingredient in the P. viridis leaf, the potent psychoactive chemical DMT.

Within a half hour after drinking ayahuasca tea, users report experiencing hallucinations and other effects that usually peak after about an hour, and can last for up to six hours. These effects, although they may seem similar at first glance, are usually described as being somewhat different and more emotional/spiritual than say, LSD or psychedelic mushrooms.

Despite the differences in psychoactive experiences, effects on the brains are similar to those of other hallucinogens. All such substances, including LSD and MDMA, impact neural activity in certain brain regions such as the visual cortex – this is why experts believe these drugs induce variations in emotional senses, a higher level of consciousness and increased introspection.

Ayahuasca use also increases activity in the limbic system, which is associated with the processing of memories and emotions. It can also result in a meditative state and calm overactive brain actions such as those that result in depression and anxiety.

Is Ayahuasca Legal?

While DMT is illegal in most countries, the plant sources that contain it are not necessarily. This fact has resulted in the purchase of these plants online, even in the United States where DMT is classified as a schedule I substance (indicating a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical value.)

Indeed, the legal status of DMT-containing plants in the U.S. is a bit vague. The plants and preparations themselves are not illegal, as they do not include illicit chemicals. However, brews or teas made from these plants ARE illegal because of DMT’s schedule I status.

However, concerning this fact, there have been challenges set forth by religious organizations, and as a result, some court cases have allowed certain groups to import ayahuasca to the U.S. for religious purposes.

Is Ayahuasca Tea Safe? What are the Potential Side Effects and Risks?

There are a few effects of using ayahuasca that can be serious. One, when using any mind-altering substance, the user is at risk for behaving and acting in ways that are dangerous to oneself or others.

What is Ayahuasca? | Recovery in Tune

Two, overuse of ayahuasca, or the use of ayahuasca with other medications such as antidepressants can lead to a potentially fatal condition known as serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome occurs when the body builds up an excessive amount of serotonin, which can lead to headaches, disorientation, agitation, and high blood pressure.

Other potentially fatal risks linked to ayahuasca use include seizures, respiratory arrest, and coma. There have been a handful of reported deaths linked to ayahuasca use, usually due in part to the existence of a heart condition or an interaction with other drugs.

The purge effect of ayahuasca (vomiting and diarrhea) can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Other side effects may dizziness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, agitation, chest pain, and in high doses, seizures.

In people who have pre-existing mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia can also incur severe side effects when using ayahuasca. Some people report experiencing severe anxiety, fear, and paranoia.

Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Although the use of ayahuasca or DMT is not known to cause a chemical addiction, there is still the potential for a psychological addiction. Also, people who experiment with hallucinogens may be more likely to use other, more dangerous substances such as alcohol or heroin.

Drug addiction and alcoholism, however, can be effectively treated through a comprehensive, evidence-based program that includes behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support. Our center offers these services in inpatient, partial hospitalization, and outpatient formats.

Our clinical staff specialize in addiction and provide our clients with the tools they need to fully recover and sustain long-lasting sobriety. You don’t have to do it alone – you can regain your sanity and experience the health and wellness you deserve.

Long-Term Effects of LSD

long-term effects of LSD

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide, also referred to as acid) is a popular hallucinogenic drug used for its mind-altering, psychedelic properties. It’s most popular among teens and young adults, but can be used by anyone of any age. Currently, more than 3.1 million Americans report experimenting with LSD at least once, and many use it on a regular basis.

LSD is a synthetic (human-made) drug derived from the fungus ergot. LSD interacts with the body by attaching to serotonin receptors, causing a cross-activation between receptors with no additional serotonin production.

Effects include heightened sensations, hallucinations and delusions, and alertness. The average “trip” can last anywhere from 4-14 hours. Other effects may include the following:

  • Visual distortions
  • Altered sensory experience, such as enhanced colors
  • Synesthesia (e.g., “seeing” sounds)
  • Euphoria
  • The sensation of slowed time
  • Visualization of geometric or colored patterns

Although from a physiological perspective, LSD is considered one of the least dangerous drugs, it’s also a substance that can cause long-term mental and emotional side effects.

Short-Term Effects of LSD

The precise effects of LSD can vary widely between users, partly because the scope of effects is based on how well LSD is able to attach to serotonin receptors, and also because the substance itself varies considerably in terms of quality, strength, and dosage due to unregulated production and distribution. Moreover, some users may experience euphoria and enjoyable hallucinations while others might have a terrifying experience or a “bad trip.”

LSD use can result in a number of short-term symptoms, most often euphoria and visual and auditory hallucinations. Most users will also experience:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations or increased heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Fever and sweating
  • Dehydration
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of touch with reality

Many users experience marked differences between one trip and another. One dose of LSD can cause a person to be very elated, and another dose on another day can result in frightening hallucinations. Over the short-term, LSD is not considered toxic, although users are mentally impaired while using it and may be more open to suggestion.

Long-Term Effects of LSD

While LSD is considered to be chemically addictive and it poses a lower risk of abuse and dependence than many other illicit drugs, regular use can result in tolerance. Tolerance, in rare instances, can provoke addiction-like behavior and sensory blunting. Sensory blunting occurs when the user becomes more accustomed to how they feel on the substance than they do when clean, and thus the sensory and emotional input experienced while the user is sober feels blunted or dull in comparison to experiencing a high.

Long-term effects of LSD may include:

  • Emotional blunting (chronically dissatisfied, feeling bored)
  • Lack of motivation or enjoyment
  • High tolerance
  • Depression
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Flashbacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Irrationality

Unfortunately, users with co-occurring mental disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorder are much more likely to experience mental side effects such as depression and anxiety from using LSD.

The risks that result from long-term LSD use are primarily psychological, and users may experience worsening anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, and moodiness in the weeks and months following excessive LSD usage. Fortunately, however, getting clean usually results in the abatement of most symptoms.

A Word on Flashbacks and Overdose

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) also commonly referred to as flashbacks, is a condition in which the user re-experiences a trip weeks or months after it occurs. This can be disturbing, but HPPD is not linked to any physical changes or neurological damage and is relatively rare.

In the very rare event of an overdose, users of LSD take very large amounts of the drug to the point of being life-threatening and require hospitalization. Individuals experiencing an LSD overdose can have an elevated heart rate and blood pressure and develop hyperthermia, otherwise known as overheating.

LSD Abuse and Treatment

Like other drugs, LSD can be hazardous – however, due to minimal side effects and the lack of habit-forming tendencies, many users who take LSD assume it’s completely safe. Rather, they may experience emotional blunting, be more apt to put themselves in dangerous situations when tripping and lose interest in real life events.

Moreover, people who use drugs such as LSD excessively often alter focus, and switch their interest to the drug and away from attention to personal responsibilities. They also may be more apt to experiment with other, more dangerous drugs such as opioids or alcohol.

If you or someone you are close to is using LSD, treatment is available. LSD is not chemically addictive, but it can still contribute to behaviors and issues that require medical assistance and therapy geared toward sobriety. This is especially critical for families where excessive LSD use can alter and damage relationships, and family counseling is needed to repair relationships so the family can regain their health and happiness.

Our center offers comprehensive, evidence-based treatments facilitated by professional medical and mental health staff who specialize in addiction and can provide patients with the tools they need to recover and regain the life and wellness that they deserve.