PCP addiction symptoms and treatment
Table of content
- What is PCP?
- What are the factors that may increase your chances of developing PCP addiction?
- What are the PCP addiction symptoms?
- What are the common complications and impacts of PCP addiction on your health?
- What are the treatments that your doctor may recommend if you are diagnosed with PCP addiction?
PCP, or phencyclidine, is a very dangerous drug of abuse that was originally developed for use as a general anesthetic. However, its medical use was not long-lived because it frequently led to hallucinations and psychosis in patients. PCP also has a high potential for abuse and, today, people who engage in its recreational use seek the substance for its mind-altering and hallucinogenic effects.
The symptoms of PCP addiction include continued use despite experiencing health problems, failed attempts to stop taking PCP, deterioration of physical appearance, hallucinations, delusions, intense cravings, euphoria, and frequent mood swings.
These debilitating effects are just some potential answers to what is PCP capable of and how it may affect someone’s daily functioning. Regular use of the substance can result in physical and psychological dependence. In this case, afflicted people may require professional help to overcome addiction.
The treatment options available for PCP addiction include medically assisted detoxification, psychotherapy, and 12-step programs. Treatment plans should always be tailored to the specific needs and situation of an individual.
What is PCP?
Phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP, is an illegal hallucinogenic drug that can trigger altered perceptions of reality, a sense of detachment, aggression, and irrational behaviors. Hallucinogenic drugs make a user think that he or she is seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not real.
PCP effects may last anywhere between a few minutes to several hours, depending on the method of use. Smoking the Schedule II controlled substance is the most frequent route of administration, but it may also be taken orally, by injection, or snorted. Unsuspecting users may also consume the drug unknowingly, as PCP can be mixed with other addictive drugs, such as methamphetamine, LSD, ecstasy, or marijuana.
What are the factors that may increase your chances of developing PCP addiction?
There are several causes of PCP addiction that can increase a person’s risk of suffering from the condition. The factors increasing the chances of developing PCP addiction are listed below.
- Genetics: PCP addiction can have underlying genetic causes. If an individual has certain genes or hereditary influences, such as a first-degree relative who previously struggled with a substance abuse problem, they may have an increased likelihood of displaying addictive behaviors around PCP.
- Environmental influences: Environmental factors that may cause a person to turn to PCP use include growing up in a home with a family member who abuses PCP, easier access to the drug, and childhood exposure to violence and abuse. All these factors significantly influence a person’s risk for PCP addiction.
- Co-occurring mental health disorders: Certain mental health conditions may co-occur with PCP addiction, including depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Some people will develop substance abuse issues first, while others may suffer from mental illnesses before turning to sherm drugs to cope with negative emotions.
- Personal history of substance use: Prior abuse of addictive substances may intensify drug use, leading an individual to also abuse other drugs, including PCP. Evidence exists that most people who have used illicit drugs in the past find it easy to access such substances.
- Early-onset PCP use: Early initiation of PCP use significantly increases one’s likelihood of developing PCP use disorders later in life. The use of drugs at an early age is also associated with various health, behavioral, and psychosocial problems.
- Method of use: It has been proven that the quicker a drug reaches the brain, the greater its addictive potential. That said, the method of drug use may increase one’s risk for addiction. In the case of PCP, smoking or injecting the drug tends to be more addictive than when it is administered by other routes.
What are the PCP addiction symptoms?
The long history of PCP indicates that the substance has caused varying side effects on different people, and these signs may manifest in more ways than one.
The mood-related PCP addiction symptoms are listed below.
- Psychological cravings
- Continued use despite awareness of resulting psychological problems
- Sedation or becoming overly calm
- Mood swings
- Intense anger
The behavioral PCP addiction symptoms are listed below.
- The drug is used in higher doses or more frequently than intended
- Repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut down or quit PCP use
- The individual spends a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from PCP
- Inability to fulfill major life responsibilities
- Important activities are given up due to the use of PCP
- Impaired personal relationships
- Unusual behavior results in other individuals ostracizing the afflicted person
- Social withdrawal due to odd perceptions of others and dreamlike states, which preclude the ability to communicate effectively
- Interpersonal conflicts due to arguments over drug use
- Consequences of drug intoxication
- Physical fights
The physical PCP addiction symptoms are listed below.
- Physical cravings
- Continued use despite awareness about resulting physiological problems
- Tolerance or the need for increasing amounts of the drug to produce desired feelings
- Slurred speech
- Blank, wall-eyed stare
- Tachycardia muscle spasms
- Lung secretions
The psychological PCP addiction symptoms are listed below.
- Inability to make decisions
- Lack of motivation
- Getting caught up in self-delusions to the point of being convinced that the delusions are real
- Difficulty paying attention
What are the common complications and impacts of PCP addiction on your health?
PCP health effects can last up to more than a year after quitting drug use. It is a dangerous drug of abuse that comes with several health risks even with one-time use. The common complications and PCP health effects are listed below.
- Memory loss: PCP blocks NMDA receptors, which control a wide array of neurological functions, including learning, breathing, locomotion, and memory formation. NMDA-receptor blockade in humans can induce amnesia or memory loss.
- Persistent difficulties with speech and thinking: Long-term use of PCP can cause a disorganized way of thinking, which in turn leads to language and communication problems. Also known as formal thought disorder, it is a core feature of schizophrenia, but it may also be present in many psychiatric disorders.
- Anxiety and depression: Even with low doses, PCP can cause anxiety. Chronic use of the dissociative drug can lead to severe anxiety and depression, as well as suicidal behavior. These symptoms that mimic schizophrenia also occur in people without a history of mental illness.
- Weight loss: Another long-term effect of PCP use is weight loss and nutritional concerns, as someone who abuses the dissociative drug experiences nausea and vomiting as side effects. Over time, these symptoms can influence appetite and calorie intake.
- Suicidal thoughts: PCP can profoundly alter one’s mood and sensory perceptions, making users act on violent or suicidal thoughts. This may lead a PCP addict to engage in harmful and potentially fatal behaviors. PCP statistics indicate that the most common reasons for emergency room visits among PCP users are violent or suicidal behaviors.
- Flashbacks: PCP addiction can cause a condition known as hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD). HPPD causes an individual to repeatedly experience a PCP high but is often limited to the drug’s negative effects, such as panic and disorientation. During a flashback, one can feel the effects of PCP that may persist for more than a year after drug cessation.
What are the treatments that your doctor may recommend if you are diagnosed with PCP addiction?
Treatment for PCP abuse and addiction aims to minimize the risks and withdrawal side effects associated with long-term use of the drug. Treatment plans are also tailored to the specific needs and unique situation of an individual. The most common methods of treatment for PCP addiction are listed below.
1. PCP withdrawal
The first step in the process will be to withdraw from the drug safely. Because PCP withdrawal can cause dangerous symptoms such as seizures, it is crucial to detox under medical supervision. Medically assisted detox helps manage withdrawal symptoms more safely and easily.
2. Addiction treatment therapy
Just like any other addiction treatment, therapy is widely used as one of the PCP addiction treatment options. Individual and group therapy sessions help identify and change destructive behaviors and thought patterns that may be contributing to poor decisions around PCP use.
3. Outpatient treatment program
Following the completion of the withdrawal process, addiction treatment therapy will begin, either in an inpatient rehab or as part of an outpatient treatment program. Unlike inpatient treatment, an outpatient therapy program allows an individual to stay at their home and visit a mental health professional over the course of weeks or months.
4. Sober living houses
Another option for the outpatient treatment program are sober living houses, which are recommended because you and your housemates can support each other and be medically monitored regularly. Sober living homes offer a drug-free living environment that helps make the transition from treatment programs to real-world adjustment.
5. Support groups and 12-step programs
Sober living homes, 12-step programs, and continuing therapy are all options for ongoing recovery. Treatment and aftercare will give someone in recovery the skills and support they need to live a sober life and avoid relapse.
Which PCP addiction treatment is the most effective?
The most effective PCP addiction treatment may differ from patient to patient. There is no one-size-fits-all single intervention for PCP drug abuse. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a facility that takes into account the afflicted person’s specific needs, unique case, and situation, which should all be taken into consideration as part of the treatment plan.