9 Drugs That Cause Hallucinations
What Are Hallucinations?
Hallucinations are instances where you experience sensory perceptions that appear genuine but only exist in your mind. There are several types of hallucinations, including:
- Visual hallucination – visual disturbances or seeing people, lights, or things that are not there
- Auditory hallucinations – if you hear voices or sounds that nobody else hears.
- Olfactory hallucinations – a type of hallucination that involves smelling things that are not there
- Tactile hallucinations – feeling touch or movement that is not real.
- Gustatory hallucinations – tasting things that are not there or have an unpleasant taste in your mouth (common in people with epilepsy)
There are several reasons a person may experience hallucinations, including:
- Psychotic symptoms or symptoms of a mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
- A change or loss of vision from issues like macular degeneration or Charles Bonnet syndrome
- Going through difficult periods of grief, depression, or anxiety
- Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
- Infections, brain tumors, and other medical problems
- Lack of sleep
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Drug-induced hallucinations caused by an adverse drug reaction or taking known hallucinogenic drugs
It is essential not to ignore hallucinations and speak to a doctor, pharmacist, or mental health professional if you experience these symptoms.
Drugs That Cause Hallucinations
There are two hallucinogenic drug classifications: Classic Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs. Both will cause a person to experience sensations that are not real. Still, a dissociative drug will also cause the user to feel outside of their own body or out of control and disconnected from their body and environment.
Classic hallucinogens include drugs like:
- D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or acid)
- Psilocybin (mushrooms)
- Peyote (mescaline)
- N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT)
- 251-NBOMe (a potent synthetic hallucinogen)
These drugs will have short-term effects alongside hallucinations that can last for up to 12 hours in some cases, including:
- Increased heart rate
- Changes in time perception
- Feeling relaxed
- Uncoordinated movements
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Spiritual experiences
There are two rare long-term effects associated with classic hallucinogens. These are:
- Persistent psychosis – a drug side effect wherein continuing mental health issues that include visual disturbances, paranoia, mood swings, and disorganized thinking
- Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) – “flashbacks” or recurrences of drug experiences like visual disturbances
Dissociative drug examples include:
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
- Dextromethorphan (DXM)
- Salvia divinorum (Salvia)
Short-term effects that dissociative drugs may cause include:
- Loss of coordination
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- High body temperature
In high doses, these drugs may cause seizures, panic, memory loss, amnesia, psychotic symptoms, and difficulty breathing.
Some long-term effects of using these drugs may be:
- Memory loss
- Weight loss
- Speech problems
- Addiction in some cases, like using PCP
Learn about the household drugs that are used to get high below:
How Do Hallucinogens Affect the Brain?
Hallucinogens affect brain health by disrupting communication between chemicals in the brain, central nervous system, and spinal cord. Some short-term effects of hallucinogen drugs include:
- Interference with serotonin activities in the brain, a chemical that affects mood, sleep, body temperature, sensory perceptions, hunger, sexual behavior, and intestinal muscle control
- Interference with glutamate in the brain, which regulates emotion, learning, memory, pain perceptions, and environmental responses
High doses of hallucinogens can cause extremely unpleasant symptoms and, in some cases, can be deadly, primarily if used alongside other drugs. The alteration of perception can also be dangerous in some cases, as people behave in risky or odd ways. Certain hallucinogens can be addictive, and people may develop a tolerance to them, but more research is needed on the addiction potential of hallucinogens.
Drug Addiction Support at Muse Treatment Center
There are no FDA-approved treatments associated with hallucinogenic drugs, as there has not been enough research in this area. There is evidence that behavioral therapy within the context of substance abuse and addiction treatment may help treat addiction to hallucinogens and dissociative drugs. Some antidepressant and antipsychotic medications may improve mood and treat psychosis caused by HPDD. Therapy can also help people cope with confusion, fear, and living life while experiencing visual disturbances.
At Muse Treatment Center, we not only treat drug or alcohol addiction but also provide treatments for mental health conditions in an integrated dual diagnosis program, treating disorders co-occurring with drug addiction, including psychotic disorders, PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Treating them simultaneously will prevent your drug abuse from masking mental health symptoms or allowing your mental health issues to exacerbate your substance abuse issues.
If you have been using drugs that cause hallucinations and need drug addiction support, contact Muse Treatment at (800) 426-1818 today. Our staff is non-judgmental and caring. Whether you have an alcohol addiction, a heroin addiction, or a PCP addiction, we can help you heal not only your body but your mind and your spirit as well through inpatient and outpatient treatment programs that integrate medical detox, therapy, counseling, peer support, education, and holistic treatments. Contact us today to find out more about our treatments for hallucinogenic drugs.