Addiction Treatment

Hallucinogen Abuse, Addiction & Treatment Options

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Hallucinogens are substances that disrupt the interaction between brain cells and specific neurotransmitters, leading to altered perceptions and sensations. Drugs like LSD and ecstasy primarily target serotonin receptor cells in the brain and spinal cord. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter crucial for regulating sensory perception, mood, sleep, and appetite.
The side effects of hallucinogen use include:
Statistics from 2019 indicate that nearly 130 million people in the U.S. used LSD or other psychoactive substances like marijuana.
Effective treatment options for hallucinogen addiction are available, and seeking professional help is crucial for those struggling with the adverse effects of these substances.
Some of the most commonly abused hallucinogens in the United States include:


Discovered in the late 1930s by a Swiss chemist, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is derived from fungal material that can be cultivated on specific grains. Typically consumed in pill form or as a “blotter,” which is an acid-coated strip of paper placed on the tongue until it dissolves, LSD induces psychoactive effects with an extremely small amount (less than 20 milligrams). Acid “trips” can last anywhere from two to six hours, contingent on the ingested quantity and the drug’s quality.

Is LSD Addictive?

Hallucinogens, including LSD, do not induce addiction in the same manner as opioids and alcohol, as they do not impact dopamine levels or the brain’s “reward” center. Nonetheless, frequent LSD use can lead to an increase in tolerance. Tolerance and addiction represent distinct states, each accompanied by different withdrawal symptoms. Long-term LSD users may occasionally encounter hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD or “flashbacks”), reminiscent of an LSD trip without ingesting the drug.

Can You Overdose on LSD/Acid?

No verified reports suggest fatalities resulting from an LSD overdose. Instances of severe harm or death associated with LSD typically involve risky activities, such as attempting to fly out of a window or driving recklessly during hallucinations. While taking excessive LSD could exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions, leading to health complications or death, no conclusive evidence supports the occurrence of a fatal LSD overdose.

To learn more, read LSD Overdose Or Bad Trip?

Ecstasy (MDMA or “Molly“)

Ecstasy is a laboratory-made psychoactive stimulant that alters sensory perceptions by destabilizing serotonin levels in the brain. Side effects may include agitation, confusion, euphoria, a false sense of well-being, and loss of inhibition. Popular among “ravers” at large parties, Ecstasy can lead to sexual experimentation and heightened experiences with loud music and flashing lights.

Is Ecstasy Addictive?

Building tolerance to Ecstasy can result in withdrawal symptoms, making it potentially more addictive than other hallucinogens. Withdrawal may cause depression, anxiety, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, and cravings, potentially leading to further substance abuse.

Can You Overdose on Ecstasy?

An overdose on Ecstasy can occur when taking too much or mixing it with other substances, leading to stroke, heart failure, brain swelling, seizures, and heatstroke. Fatalities, especially from heatstroke at rave parties, have been reported when excessive amounts of the substance dramatically increased internal body temperature.

Psilocybin Mushrooms

Commonly known as “magic mushrooms,” psilocybin mushrooms contain psychoactive chemicals, psilocin and psilocybin. Users ingest them in dried form or as a tea, producing hallucinatory effects, euphoria, drowsiness, and relaxation.

Are Mushrooms Addictive?

While nonaddictive, mushrooms may be habit-forming, with tolerance developing quickly. Classified as a Schedule 1 drug, psilocybin mushrooms have a low potential for abuse, but research on long-term effects is inconclusive.


Ketamine, an anesthetic used in hospitals, is abused for its dissociative, hallucinatory effects. Users may feel a sense of leaving their body or having a near-death experience, leading to extreme euphoria. Ketamine on the street may be stolen from medical facilities or impure.

Is Ketamine Addictive?

Yes, ketamine is addictive, requiring inpatient rehab treatment and medical detoxification before behavioral therapy. Ketamine addictions can lead to ulcerative colitis and potential neurological impairments, with psychological withdrawal symptoms and overwhelming cravings.

Can You Overdose on Ketamine?

A ketamine overdose is possible with excessive intake or mixing with other substances, resulting in loss of consciousness, slow breathing, stupor-like symptoms, and coma.

Hallucinogen Addiction Treatment Options

Treating hallucinogen addiction involves counseling and behavioral therapies to address the underlying reasons for drug use. While no FDA-approved medications specifically treat hallucinogen addiction, antidepressants and benzodiazepines may be temporarily prescribed for severe cases. Outpatient and inpatient treatment options are available, with counseling sessions playing a crucial role in successful outcomes.
For more information about addiction treatment for hallucinogens, please call Heartfelt Recovery today.