PCP, or phencyclidine, is also known on the streets as angel dust, animal trank, rocket fuel, wack, ozone, or embalming fluid. It also goes by a few other names, such as love boat and supergrass, when added to drugs with leaves such as marijuana or tobacco. It is common for marijuana to be laced with PCP because PCP is best held by leaves. PCP in its original form is a powder, and those who participate in PCP use often snort the powder, swallow or chew the drug in pill or tablet form, or smoke it by using a leafy drug. When in the pill form, PCP often goes as the “peace pill.”
PCP is a hallucinogenic drug that was originally developed for its anesthetic properties for humans and tranquilizing properties for animals. It makes sense based on the original medical use for the drug that it is a potent and extremely dangerous drug. Although the medical community had hope in this drug’s use at first, the concerning side effects quickly led to it no longer being used legally. Side effects of the drug post-operation included psychosis, violent behavior, high levels of anxiety, and dysphoria. Now, this hallucinogenic drug is entirely illegal in the United States. It was during the time when the drug was being transitioned out of the medical setting that it became more and more popular as a street drug. Despite the drug being illegal, issues with PCP use and PCP addiction still exist.
The Short-Term Effects of PCP Use
PCP is under the category of hallucinogenic drugs, and it causes dissociation, amnesia, and sedation. Both the effects of the drug and the amount of time they last in the body depend on several factors including the individual, other drugs used, and the way it was administered. Any size dose of this drug is extremely dangerous due to being unsure of how the body will react. Teenagers are a population particularly impacted by PCP abuse while compared to other demographics, and this PCP use can be detrimental to their developmental growth and learning abilities. Typically, physical reactions at low doses include difficulty speaking, loss of coordination, and feeling numb. At high doses, PCP causes effects that resemble schizophrenia, such as hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions. It can also cause seizures, coma, or death, which frequently occur due to the hallucinations and/or delusions the drug abuse has induced.
The Long Term Effects of PCP Abuse
Long-term, chronic PCP abuse can lead to symptoms that persist even when not using the drug, and additionally, can last up to a year after the individual decides to go to a treatment center and stop using. Symptoms that an individual with a PCP addiction might experience make it difficult to function in everyday life, such as taking care of kids, being able to maintain employment, or continuing a normal social life with positive and healthy relationships. Some of these symptoms which impact functioning may include memory loss, difficulties in cognitive functioning, weight loss, severe depression and/or anxiety, distressing flashbacks, or even continued symptoms similar to schizophrenia-like hallucinations. Again, even when not used actively, individuals who engage in chronic PCP abuse can begin to experience symptoms such as these around the clock. Whether the individual had pre-existing mental health issues or developed them as a result of use, the effects this drug can have on mental health can be detrimental.
Regular substance use of many drugs can cause not only psychological addiction but also physical dependence on the drug; PCP is no outlier to this phenomenon. PCP detox can be a shock to the nervous system, causing unpleasant PCP withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms could include agitation, seizures, increased body temperature, hallucinations, or issues related to motor control or function. This makes it extremely important for an individual with PCP addiction to enter PCP rehab so that their withdrawal symptoms can be monitored by professional addiction doctors and nursing staff.
What Does PCP Addiction Treatment Look Like?
The thought of entering a treatment center for a substance use disorder can seem very daunting, however, the staff in our treatment centers at Archstone Behavioral Health are trained to treat patients with respect, dignity, non-judgment, and empathy. The professionals within our treatment programs have worked with countless individuals with drug addiction issues, including PCP addiction, and are encouraged to treat addiction like it is: a sickness. As a result, our staff thinks that every individual who walks through the door is brave to seek treatment and deserves the best care and best chances possible to defeat this disease of addiction.
If you fear that you or a loved one is experiencing substance abuse, including PCP addiction, you can begin by talking to a trusted health care provider or by calling our treatment center line and learning more about treatment options. Those who are addicted to PCP are in serious danger; do not delay in making steps towards entering one of our addiction treatment programs.