Phencyclidine, more commonly known as PCP or “angel dust,” is a mind-altering, illicit drug. PCP is known as a hallucinogenic drug, seeing as it causes changes in perception and auditory and visual hallucinations. When used recreationally, PCP is generally smoked, though it can be ingested in numerous ways – it can also be taken orally, nasally, or injected intravenously.
Because this drug is known to cause feelings of detachment and dissociation, it can be extremely dangerous not only for users but for those around them. Feelings of invincibility and extreme aggression often cause those on PCP to exhibit violent behaviors. Many PCP users have severely injured themselves and others while high on the drug.
The drug was originally developed in the late 1950s, and it was initially used for medicinal purposes. Medical professionals utilized PCP as an anesthetic, however, doctors ceased using the drug once its serious side effects became clear. Side effects included mania, paranoia, hallucinations and irrational behaviors and thinking.
PCP is now a Schedule II drug, meaning that it is considered very dangerous and extremely habit-forming. If someone has developed a dependency on the drug, hospitalization will be necessary. So, why do people take this drug at all, considering all of its negative effects?
What Does Being on PCP Feel Like?
Those who take PCP initially take it to experience the intense high that it provides. However, a PCP high is very dissimilar to the high associated with many other types of illicit substances. When an individual uses PCP, neurotransmitters within the brain are affected and the reuptake of “feel good” chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine are interrupted.
This disconnection prevents the brain from processing things as they normally would. The effects of the drug take over the brain and the body quickly, typically within 30 minutes of ingestion (and more quickly if the drug is smoked or injected). The effects of PCP can last for up to one full day depending on the amount taken. But what does a PCP high feel like?
In so many words, a PCP high feels like a complete lack of control over your mind and body, which can be terrifying for some users – especially those who ingest the drug accidentally, which might occur if another drug (like ecstasy or marijuana) is laced with PCP. Some individuals who have used the drug reported that it feels like the mind is being compelled by primary urges and emotions and that uncontrollable and reactionary behaviors are almost inevitable.
A lot of the time, these behaviors are violent. There have been numerous crimes – including murders – carried about by people who were on the drug. Those on PCP cannot rationalize with themselves. They can’t think, “This is a bad idea, I probably shouldn’t do this.” They act on drug-fueled impulse and often wind up behind bars because of it.
PCP Abuse and Addiction
PCP abuse and addiction are very serious, and when abused for an extended length of time the drug can cause lasting physical, mental and emotional issues. Those struggling with a PCP addiction must seek medical help immediately – attempting to detox alone can be dangerous, and because psychological cravings are so intense, PCP abusers will generally go back to using before the withdrawal process is complete.
At Garden State Treatment Center, we specialize in treating men and women who are struggling with PCP abuse and addiction. We understand the psychological implications of the drug, and we have on-site psychiatrists in addition to physicians and licensed therapists on staff. If you have been struggling with an addiction to PCP or any other psychoactive drug, give us a call today. We’re here to help.