Narcotic substances are used—and abused—for a variety of different effects. Some drugs have simple, understandable effects, such as an addiction to painkillers to relieve physical discomfort. Other drugs create an emotional effect known as “euphoria,” which is a sense of well-being, happiness, and joy. Still others do something very, very different.
Referred to early on as “psychedelics”, a certain class of drugs actively stimulates the nervous system, creating sensations that aren’t there. Users can potentially see, hear, taste and even smell and feel things that aren’t actually there. This type of drug is known as a hallucinogen, and because it has faded in and out of heavy use over the decades, there’s already an extensive body of knowledge when it comes to treatment for hallucinogens.
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Use of Narcotic Hallucinogens
The use of narcotic hallucinogens has actually been a part of human society for many generations in certain cultures. Before there was a more comprehensive, scientific understanding of neurons, the structure of the brain, or nervous system stimulation, the properties of certain plants such as cacti containing peyote, or mushrooms with psilocybin were considered spiritual. The hallucinogenic properties of these plants were used in shamanic traditions because it was believed the hallucinations themselves were visions caused by spirits and/or gods.
Today, we have a much clearer, more technical and scientific understanding of how these narcotics work. In the 20th century, we have even found laboratory methods to synthesize and magnify these properties into new, more powerful drugs. PCP, and, more commonly, lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, are drugs that are commonly manufactured, sold and used for their ability to cause users to experience a dramatically different world of sensation from what they are used to in their everyday world. So despite our increased knowledge of how these narcotics work, people can still use, abuse and become addicted to them, requiring treatment for hallucinogens to overcome this addiction.
How Hallucinogens Work
Although hallucinogens like LSD and PCP were originally used for medical purposes, today, these substances are considered illegal in the United States. The reason for this is that they can cause some medically interesting phenomenon, and, in the case of LSD, was actively used in the treatment of schizophrenic patients and other psychiatric activities, but the results are not well understood.
LSD is normally consumed orally. The drug is so powerful that a tiny amount can dissolve onto a piece of paper, which is then placed under the tongue so it can be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Once this occurs, a gradual rise in hallucinatory experiences begins, which has been nicknamed a “trip,” because, unlike other drugs, the LSD effect lasts for several hours. It’s because LSD is easy to make, lasts for long periods, and is often cheaply sold that it has become a mainstay of drug use and LSD addiction treatment is required today.
LSD works by interfering with neurotransmitter activity in the brain. Serotonin is a substance used in many neural activities, including sight, sound, and even emotions. LSD produces a substance that is similar to serotonin, but the receptors in the nervous system that look for serotonin respond even more strongly to LSD than normal serotonin. Because the LSD is so powerful and sensitive it creates “noise” in the brain, similar to how amplifying the sensitivity of a microphone allows people to hear much more than just a person speaking.
Treatment for Hallucinogens and LSD
Fortunately, while LSD is frequently abused, unlike many narcotic substances, such as heroin, alcohol, or even tobacco, LSD is not a physically addictive substance. It does not create an actual physiological dependency where the body craves the substance, which makes treatment for hallucinogens a little easier. In some ways, treatment options for LSD are similar to treatment options for gambling, eating disorders, or any other primarily psychological addiction.
Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily true of all hallucinogenic substances. PCP does have the physically addictive properties of other narcotics, while mescaline and psilocybin are still not well understood. However, if you or someone you know needs the help of an LSD treatment center, your chances of success are bolstered by the fact that, at least with LSD, you don’t have to wrestle with physical withdrawal symptoms or physical cravings.