What kind of drugs are hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are psychoactive drugs that interrupt the normal function of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is significant to communication and mood. These disruptions cause subjective changes in an individual’s emotions, and perceptions by inducing experiences that differ dramatically from normal thoughts and consciousness. Hallucinogens are in essence, compounds found in plants and mushrooms that contain alkaloids which are organic based containers for nitrogen.

There are notably three categories of hallucinogenic drugs characterized as psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants.


Drugs such as LSD (acid), psilocybin mushrooms, Mescaline which comes from a small, spineless cactus plant called Peyote and DMT (dimethyltryptamine), among others fall under the umbrella of psychedelic substances. These drugs bind to 5-HT2A which is a receptor in the brain that is chemically similar to the compounds in those drugs.

The potency of these drugs. LSD is one of the most powerful of the psychedelic drugs. The experiences of drug induced trips are never the same. The intensity and effects can differ with each use and from person to person even if the same drug is taken in the same amount and in the same environment. The effects of the drug range from mild to dramatic and includes some of the following:

  • Feeling very relaxed
  • Visual perception of various vivid colors and patterns.
  • Euphoria, tingling all over the body and a sense of weightlessness
  • Increased energy. A sense of urgency.
  • Heightened sensory perceptions

Adverse effects of Psychedelics

  • Physical effects can be cramps, muscle tension and stiffness, nausea, fever and general feelings of malaise.
  • Cramps and muscular tension.
  • Nausea, vomiting and fever.
  • Overwhelming sensory experience
  • Feelings of helpless, crying, screaming or laughing.
  • Extreme cases some psychedelic experiences can make the user feel as if they are in another world or another body.
  • Feeling invincible as if you can fly.


Ketamine (anesthetic), PCP (Phencyclidine) and DXM (dextromethorphan) an active ingredient in the cough suppressant Robitussin create dissociative experiences for users. These chemical substances work by interrupting the associative pathways of the brain which cause various sectors of the brain to be isolated from each other so that communication between sectors is hindered. The medicinal use of these drugs are for pain reduction and relief. The drugs accomplish this by blocking neural pain signals from reaching the sensory cortex. At high doses these drug create powerful dissociative effects.

  • Ketamine which is also referred to as Special K, Cat Valium or just “K” is a dissociative drug that is used as an anesthetic for both humans and animals. This drug is typically abused in its powdered or pill form. It is usually snorted when it is used for illicit purposes.
  • DXM (dextromethorphan) is a common ingredient used in cough syrups and expectorants and sold as an over the counter medicine. It is commonly referred to as “robo” on the street. People who abuse this drug for its dissociative properties typically purchase the extra strength cough syrup which contains approximately 15 mg of DXM per teaspoon. It is also available as pills and capsules.
  • PCP (Phencyclidine) is also available in a variety of formulations such as powder, tablets, and capsules and liquid. It is an anesthetic drug that is primarily used for surgical procedures. On the street PCP is known as; rocket fuel, love boat, embalming fluid, hog, super weed and ozone. For illicit purposes, it is snorted, injected, smoked or swallowed. Many users combine PCP with other substances like marijuana or alcohol.

Common Effects of Dissociative

The following effects are common to dissociative drugs:

  • Visual and auditory distortions
  • A sense of detachment from reality.
  • Total disconnection with the environment
  • Feeling as if you are floating
  • Some users have reported memory loss, anxiety
  • Impaired motor function
  • Body tremors and numbness.
  • Increase in blood pressure and body temperature

Usually the effects of these drugs vary and can begin within minutes of ingestion and last for hours.


Pharmaceutical drugs that, when taken in high doses produce deliriant effects include Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) uncured tobacco and Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) to name a few. The effects of deliriants tend to create a severe and fragmented disconnection from reality. Other effects of deliriants include:

  • Dehydration
  • Dilation of the pupils
  • Vivid sinister hallucinations
  • peripheral disturbances
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Suspicions of being watched
  • Losing touch with reality
  • Confusion
  • Rage

Hallucinogenic Treatment

Treatment for hallucinogen dependence may require the elimination of most sensory stimulation until the effects of the drug has been diminished. When necessary, specialized medications may be administered in order to control or minimize extreme agitation or seizures.

Many patients being treated for this type of addiction are also affected by adverse reactions to multiple drugs and/or alcohol complications. Research studies indicate that inpatient and behavioral treatments are extremely helpful for patients recovering from hallucinogenic addictions.

If you or a loved one has been habitually using hallucinogenic drugs, we can help. In our state of the art Drug Treatment Centers we provide evidence-based fully integrated treatment programs that incorporate both holistic and conventional treatment modalities that work synergistically to achieve full rehabilitation. Call Drug Rehab Treatment Centers today at 877-855-3470.