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Examining PCP

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What are the Effects of Abuse, Addiction, and Withdrawal

PCP is a hallucinogenic substance that can affect the brain in various ways. Back in the 1950s, this drug was used as an anesthetic.

Navigation: PCP Overview, PCP Abuse, PCP Addiction, PCP Withdrawal and Treatment, Rehab Is Your Best Chance

PCP or Phencyclidine is a dangerous hallucinogen that can create powerful psychoactive and physical effects on its users. While previous decades boasted heavy PCP use, modern use of PCP is increasing as well. The trend of heavy PCP use is slowly reemerging.

Like many harmful substances, early exposure to drugs like PCP can deeply affect the mind. This means teenagers have a higher risk of developing a psychosis later on in life if they abuse this hallucinogen. Here we will take a closer look at what PCP does to the mind and body, and what happens when a person becomes addicted to it.



PCP Overview

PCP is a hallucinogenic substance that can affect the brain in various ways. Back in the 1950s, this drug was used as an anesthetic. But in the 1960s and 70s, it emerged as a popular recreational drug.

Many people abused PCP because of its ability to make users “detach” and dissociate from their surroundings. PCP can alter a person’s perception of reality while also producing a strong euphoric sensation.

PCP is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, but have a lower abuse potential when compared to Schedule I drugs. Common street names for PCP include angel dust, hog, amoeba, STP, super grass, peace pills, boat, animal trank, belladonna, zoom, sherm sticks, and embalming fluid.


PCP Abuse

PCP can come in the form of a clear or yellow liquid, or in a powder or tablet form that easily dissolves in water. It is typically smoked, snorted, or taken orally, but it can also be sprinkled on other drugs. Some users inject PCP directly into their bloodstream in order to get a more intense high.

A Washington D.C. report mentioned that “10% of adults within D.C.’s justice system tested positive for the drug.”

Additional findings revealed 1 percent of 12th grade students had PCP in their system in recent years. In fact, there was a 400 percent increase in PCP-related emergency department visits between 2005 and 2011. Men accounted for 69 percent of these numbers. The most common ages were between 25 to 39 years of age in 2011.

It is very common among recreational users to combine PCP with other drugs like heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, LSD, mescaline, marijuana, and cocaine. These users are at a higher risk of overdose. They also account for a significant portion of PCP-related emergency room visits. In some cases, the other drugs are mixed with the PCP without the user’s knowledge, making it even more dangerous.

PCP is known for uncomfortable withdrawal effects. If a person tries to quit using PCP, they may suffer from delusions, irritability, and anxiety while “coming down” from the drug.

According to a 2017 report, 2.2 percent of people aged 12 and older had experienced PCP use in their lifetime. Meanwhile 2.7 percent of people aged 26 and older had used PCP at least once in their lifetime.

PCP Addiction

PCP is an addictive drug. It has a chemical structure that is similar to ketamine. When taken, PCP impacts the brain’s chemical composition. Upon ingesting PCP, people experience joy. The effects of the drug can kick in quickly depending on how much the user has taken or how they took the drug. People injecting PCP can feel its effects within 2 to 5 minutes. If taken orally, PCP’s effects can kick in after 30 minutes, with intense side effects occurring at 2 to 5 hours.

People can become dependent on PCP in no time. If someone takes it recreationally for the sensory distortions or pseudo-spiritual effects, they are more likely to abuse the drug repeatedly. They are also more likely to become dependent over time.

A person who is addicted to PCP may display symptoms such as confusion, hallucinations, euphoria, increased heart rate, numbness, feelings of detachment, memory loss, rapid respiration, psychological distress, anxiety, paranoia, chills, seizures, muscle cramps, vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation, aggression, fear, panic, and dehydration. PCP overdose may lead to death.

The effects of PCP can be unpredictable, and users can have varying experiences with the drug. Some users can get empathetic or anxious after taking PCP, while others can become aggressive. It is hard to tell what symptoms will occur because it depends on a number of factors like dosage taken, history of substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, and the person’s mental state.

An addicted person will be unable to control their intake of PCP. They will keep using the drug even when they are already struggling with its physical and mental effects. They may even prioritize PCP over everything else.

PCP addicted individuals tend to neglect their responsibilities and lose interest in things they used to find enjoyable. They may strain their relationships with loved ones or struggle at work and school. PCP addiction may also cause suicidal thoughts, mania, flashbacks, and social isolation.

The drug is especially dangerous to mix with alcohol and other depressants because it increases the chance of respiratory problems and death.

PCP Withdrawal and Treatment

Once a person develops dependence or addiction to PCP, they will find it much more difficult to quit on their own. If they suddenly stop taking it, they will endure painful withdrawal symptoms. But because PCP is an addictive hallucinogenic drug, it also has psychological effects like confusion and paranoia.

Treatment is essential for curbing cravings and side effects. Drug dependence also leads to intense cravings, which only causes the user to relapse every time they try to quit. In fact, addiction is also defined as repeated failed attempts at quitting a drug.

But there is hope. PCP addiction and dependence can be treated in a safe environment with the help of medical professionals.

If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.


Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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