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.
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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.
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?
Phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP or angel dust, is a dissociative drug that was originally developed as a general anesthetic for surgery but is now primarily used recreationally. Using PCP can lead to psychological dependence and, upon stopping, individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to note that my information is up to date as of September 2021, and there may have been new research or findings since then.
The withdrawal symptoms of PCP can vary in severity and duration depending on various factors such as the duration of use, frequency, dosage, and individual differences. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Cravings: A strong desire to use the drug again.
- Depression: Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed.
- Anxiety: Feeling nervous, restless, or tense.
- Irritability and Agitation: Becoming easily annoyed and feeling restless.
- Fatigue: Feeling extremely tired and lacking energy.
- Memory Issues: Difficulty remembering things or problems with concentration.
- Increased Appetite: An abnormal increase in hunger.
- Sleep Disturbances: Trouble falling or staying asleep, or experiencing changes in sleep patterns.
- Physical Discomfort: This may include headaches, sweating, or other physical symptoms.
- Social Withdrawal: Avoiding social interactions and preferring to be alone.
- Hallucinations or Delusional Thoughts: In severe cases, individuals might experience hallucinations or thoughts that are not based in reality.
- Suicidal Thoughts: In extreme cases, individuals might experience thoughts of self-harm or suicide, especially if they have a history of mental health issues.
It’s important to recognize that withdrawal from PCP can be difficult and potentially dangerous, especially if the individual has been using the drug for a long time or in high doses. If someone is experiencing withdrawal symptoms from PCP or any other substance, it is essential to seek medical assistance. Professional help can provide the support and treatment necessary to manage and overcome withdrawal symptoms safely.
How do you get off of PCP (Phencyclidine) and reduce the chances of relapse?
Getting off of PCP (phencyclidine) and reducing the chances of relapse is a process that should be managed with the help of healthcare professionals. Here’s a general outline of steps someone might take, but it’s very important to work with a healthcare provider experienced in addiction treatment for personalized guidance and support.
- Recognize the Problem and Seek Help: The first step is recognizing that there is a problem and that help is needed. It is important for the individual or their loved ones to seek professional help.
- Medical Evaluation and Detoxification: A healthcare provider will likely perform an evaluation to determine the extent of the PCP use and its impact on the individual’s health. Detoxification is often the first step, which involves managing the physical process of getting the drug out of the individual’s system and treating any withdrawal symptoms. This should be done under medical supervision as withdrawal from PCP can be unpredictable and sometimes severe.
- Treatment Plan: A comprehensive treatment plan will be developed, which may include therapy, counseling, medications, and support groups. The goal is to address the underlying issues that led to PCP use and develop strategies for managing cravings and avoiding triggers.
- Therapy and Counseling: Various forms of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, or family therapy, may be used to help the individual understand the causes of their substance use, develop coping skills, and make behavioral changes.
- Medications: Sometimes medications may be used to help manage cravings or treat co-occurring mental health disorders that may be contributing to substance use.
- Support Groups and Community Resources: Participating in support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, can be very beneficial. Engaging with a community of individuals who have had similar experiences can provide much-needed support.
- Long-term Maintenance and Relapse Prevention: Recovery from substance use is an ongoing process. It’s important to continue with therapy, support groups, and any other components of the treatment plan even after the initial intensive phase of treatment has ended. This may include developing a relapse prevention plan.
- Family and Friends Support: The support of family and friends can be crucial in recovery. Encouragement and understanding from loved ones can be an important component of the recovery process.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Engaging in a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise, a balanced diet, and engaging in fulfilling activities can also be an important part of recovery.
- Ongoing Monitoring: Regular check-ins with healthcare providers and counselors can help to keep the recovery process on track and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed.
Remember, overcoming addiction and preventing relapse is often a long and challenging process, and it’s important to have the right support in place. If you or someone you know is struggling with PCP or another substance use disorder, I strongly encourage you to seek the help of a healthcare professional.