Long-Term Effects of Hallucinogens on the Brain

Long-Term Effects of Hallucinogens on the Brain

Long-Term Effects of Hallucinogens On The Brain

For some time now, hallucinogenic drugs have been used as a social activity and a way for people to have fun. They provide an escape from the real world, in a way, as they can take you to a dream-like world. Even though addicts might find hallucinogens’ short-term effects enjoyable, the long-term effects of hallucinogens on the brain can be very damaging.

Long-Term Effects of Hallucinogens on the Brain

What are hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are a wide-ranging group of drugs that alter perception, thoughts and feelings. These aptly named drugs are known for causing extremely realistic hallucinations. The more common hallucinogens include:

  • LSD (acid) is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is a fungus that grows on rye and other grains.
  • Psylocybin (shrooms) is harvested from mushrooms that grow in tropical areas of the United States, Mexico and South America.
  • MDMA (ecstasy or molly) is a synthetic psychoactive drug that is similar to amphetamine and mescaline.
  • PCP is a synthetic drug originally developed as an anesthetic, but was discontinued due to its side effects of delirium and hallucinations.
    • Ketamine (Special K) is a derivative of PCP.
  • DXM (dextramethorphan) is a drug found in cough medicine and cold tablets or gel capsules.
  • Peyote is a small, spineless cactus the produces mescaline that Native Americans use in religious ceremonies.

Side Effects

Persistent psychosis means dissociation from reality. Users may experience mood disturbances, visual disturbances, and disorganized thinking after having been addicted to hallucinogens. It is also common to experience acute panic attacks that resemble paranoid schizophrenia. These attacks can include hallucinations, delusional thinking, and abnormal behavior.

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) is having hallucinations, seeing halos and trails attached to moving objects. A person suffering from HPPD will also experience after images, sparkles and flashes of bright bolts of light. These symptoms are sometimes mistaken for neurological disorders like a brain tumor or a stroke, so the real root of the problem is addressed much later than it needs to be, if at all.

Former addicts will often experience flashbacks, or recurring sensations from previous use of hallucinogens. When they have a flashback, they feel as if they are using the drug even though they are completely sober. These may take place for months after someone stops using hallucinogens. Triggers for flashbacks can include stress, fatigue, other drugs, even exercising.

Amotivational Syndrome is marked by apathy, passivity, and little interest in life. A person suffering from this will also become socially withdrawn and perform well below their potential.

Other common long-term effects are:

  • difficulty with speech and thought
  • weight loss
  • depression
  • memory loss
  • violent behavior
  • increased panic
  • impaired concentration
  • increased possibility of delusions
  • severe mental disturbances

Do you have any questions about the long-term effects of hallucinogens on the brain? Let us know. And if you or someone you know is struggling with overcoming an addiction, call us today at 855.981.2020. 


Artesian Recovery & Wellness Centers, LLC is all about recovery that lasts. Our holistic approach is what sets us apart from traditional treatment centers.  A fresh start is a beautiful thing, so let us join you on your path to recovery.  Contact us today.

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