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Hallucinogens: Drug Abuse Signs and Symptoms

Understanding Hallucinogens

Also known as: Lysergic acid diethylamide: LSD, Acid, Blotter; Psilocybin: Magic Mushrooms, Shrooms; Phencyclidine: PCP, Angel Dust, Boat, Ozone, Wack; Ecstasy: E, X, XTC

Know the Signs:

  • Distorted sense of sight, hearing and touch
  • Dilated pupils
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Faintness
  • Irrational behavior

Different hallucinogens have different effects, depending on the dose and the user. If someone has one or more of these common warning signs, they may be using hallucinogens.

Quick Facts About Hallucinogens
  • Hallucinogenic drugs distort your perception of reality. Hallucinogens cause your sense of space and time to become distorted and cause you to see objects that aren't really there.
  • The body can quickly form a tolerance to a hallucinogen, so a person would have to take more and more of the drug for the same effect. This is very dangerous because taking stronger doses of any drug may cause severe side effects, including overdose.
  • Hallucinogens have long-term effects that may include decreased motivation, prolonged depression, anxiety, increased delusions, panic and psychosis.
  • There is no way to predict a "bad trip." There is no consistency in hallucinogenic drugs, so each "trip" may differ depending on the drug's strength and purity. The psychological effects of the hallucinogen also depend on the user's frame of mind.

Your Brain on Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens change the way the brain interprets time, reality and the environment around you. They also affect the way you move, react to situations, think, hear and see. This may make you think that you're hearing voices, seeing images and feeling things that don't exist.

Your Heart on Hallucinogens

The use of hallucinogens leads to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Hallucinogens can put you in a coma. They can also cause heart and lung failure.

Your Well-Being

The use of hallucinogens may change the way you feel emotionally. They may cause you to feel confused, suspicious and disoriented. Many PCP users are brought to emergency rooms because of PCP overdose or its disturbing psychological effects, including delusions and paranoia.


The effect of hallucinogens varies from time to time and person to person, so there is no way to know how much self-control you might maintain. They can cause you to mix up your speech, lose control of your muscles, make meaningless movements and act in irrational, aggressive or violent ways.

Know the Risks

Hallucinogens can cause flashbacks. Effects of the drugs, including hallucinations, can occur weeks, months and even years after use.

Know the Law

Hallucinogens are illegal to buy, sell or possess.

Questions About Hallucinogens?

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