PCP (Phencyclidine) Withdrawal Symptoms

What is PCP? Phencyclidine, PCP, is a “dissociative” anesthetic. PCP was first created in 1926 and marketed under the name Sernyl in the 1950s as a surgical anesthetic and was later used by veterinarians as an animal tranquilizer.

By 1965, the drug was discontinued due to its adverse side effects and was restricted to “veterinary use only” in 1967. The most common side effects reported were postoperative psychosis, dysphoria (feeling of unease or general dissatisfaction), paranoia and anxiety.

PCP (Phencyclidine) Withdrawal Symptoms

PCP as a Dangerous Recreational Drug

In the 1960s to the late ’70s, PCP rose in popularity as a hallucinogen under many different names: Angel Dust, Rocket Fuel, Love Boat, and the Peace Pill (which led to the acronym of PCP). The psychedelic drug is used for its mind-altering effects and can be snorted, swallowed or smoked. The side effects of sedation and dissociation cause the user to feel detached or as if they are in a trance. Users report feeling “out of body” and looking down at their bodies from above.

PCP can be a hidden ingredient in a multitude of other street drugs, such as THC, methamphetamine, mescaline, and in more recent years, MDMA and formaldehyde. In 2000, the DEA found that PCP was found in batches of ecstasy, specifically sold as “green kryptonite”, orange pokemon” and “purple teardrops”. PCP powder is often sprinkled on marijuana or tobacco cigarettes and smoked.

PCP is listed as a Schedule II hallucinogen under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs, which include cocaine and oxycontin, have a high risk of abuse, leading to psychological and physical dependence.

What are the Side Effects of PCP?

PCP affects the receptors of the neurotransmitter glutamate which oversees the perception of pain as well as learning, memory, and emotion. PCP also affects the neurotransmitter dopamine, which causes the euphoria that the drug users seek.

Short Term Side Effects
When taken in low doses, the user may experience numbness and relaxation, a sense of euphoria, difficulty concentrating, slurred speech, loss of motor control, erratic and impulsive behavior, misperception of strength and speed, and a feeling of being invulnerable. At a higher dose, the user might have visual or auditory hallucinations, high blood pressure, breathing problems, increased body temperature, delusions of grandeur, panic or paranoia.

Long Term Side Effects
There are many long term effects after using PCP over an extended period of time. Some of these effects include impaired memory and decision making abilities, speech problems, severe depression and suicidal thoughts, weight loss, flashbacks, hallucinations and delusional thinking which continues while not using.

Due to the out of body feeling and delusional thinking, people on PCP might feel threatened by their environment and respond with violence to themselves or others. A person on PCP might also misinterpret their surroundings and their own speed, and attempting, to cross the street, get hit by oncoming traffic. Because of the addictive nature of the drug, people that use PCP frequently will crave more in volume and frequency and can engage in risky or illegal behaviors to obtain more of it. PCP is both mentally and physically addictive and it is strongly recommended to seek a safe environment to detox from the drug.

Withdrawal Symptoms

PCP withdrawal symptoms can last up to a year or even two from last use. Most hallucinogenic drugs are only psychologically addictive, however, PCP also has physical withdrawal symptoms that start shortly after the drug use is suspended.

The physical withdrawal symptoms are seizures, central nervous system damage, memory loss, speech issues, quick and extreme weight loss, lack of reflexes, and severe depression. There is even a possibility of slipping into a coma after quitting PCP. The psychological withdrawal symptoms include extreme confusion, panic attacks, depression, impulse control issues. Severe depression can lead to suicidal ideation and suicide.

All of these symptoms can be extremely dangerous and it is important to seek a safe place to detox from PCP and to set yourself or your loved one up for the best chance at a new life free from the nightmare of drug addiction. A medical detox facility followed by residential rehab is the suggestion for those suffering from PCP addiction.

Allure Detox Treats PCP Addiction

Allure Detox in West Palm Beach is the best choice for you or your loved one to safely remove this addictive chemical from the body in a stable and medically supervised environment. The addict will be stabilized and monitored by specialists during the detox process of intensive 24-hour care. The surroundings are peaceful, quiet and beautiful. The staff is caring and compassionate and will ensure that the addict has a plan for continued recovery once the initial detox phase is complete.

At Allure Detox, our clients leave with the best setup to maintain their sobriety and to grow in recovery. We have the resources and staff to ensure a safe detox and to provide you with all the knowledge you need to begin creating a life you love free from addiction. Please reach out today and a member of our team will be happy to answer your questions.


  • What are PCP (Phencyclidine) Withdrawal Symptoms?
  • How do you get off of PCP (Phencyclidine) and reduce the chances of relapse?

Published on: 2020-03-08
Updated on: 2024-04-10