Substance use disorder can negatively impact anyone’s health and well-being. With the various substances out there, people may find themselves developing dependencies on substances that are difficult to break. One of the addictive substances that people seek treatment for is phencyclidine (PCP).
PCP is a dissociative substance with highly addictive properties. Finding treatment for angel dust use is crucial for an individual’s recovery. Gateway Foundation covers how a substance use disorder with PCP affects people and how you can find the best treatment for angel dust use.
What is PCP/Angel Dust?
PCP is a highly addictive substance with numerous street names, including angel dust, peace pill, elephant tranquilizer, embalming fluid, dust, rocket fuel and more. Angel dust was originally used as an anesthetic by doctors and as a tranquilizer for animals. Doctors discontinued anesthetic use first because patients developed psychosis and other negative symptoms. Eventually, veterinarians stopped using it on animals, and now the substance is labeled as a Schedule II substance in the United States. Schedule II drugs are illegal to possess and are seldomly prescribed by medical professionals.
This dissociative substance is not as popular as other substances, but it’s still a problem for those suffering from substance use disorder. People who use the substance experience a range of symptoms that cause them to continue regular use, including hallucinations that alter colors, sounds, sights and other environmental aspects.
The purest form of PCP is a crystalline powder that can easily dissolve in liquids like water or alcohol. Since angel dust is an illicit substance distributed on the streets, suppliers can contaminate it with other items that vary in color and consistency. PCP can also be a tablet, capsule or in liquid form.
The use of PCP in the United States continued steadily after the decline in the 1980s. The method of use depends on the form PCP is in. People using powdered angel dust will snort it, in liquid form they can inject it or drink it, and in capsule or tablet form they can swallow it. PCP can also be contaminated with other substances like tobacco or cannabis and people can smoke the substance. Some dip joints or cigarettes into a liquid solution of PCP.
Signs and Symptoms of PCP/Angel Dust Addiction
Some common signs that a person is using angel dust include instances of psychosis or severe alterations in a person’s physical health or behavior. People should know how to notice this behavior in themselves or in their loved ones if they’re concerned about PCP use.
The signs and symptoms of PCP or angel dust use can help determine how severe a person’s substance use disorder is. Understanding their addiction may convince someone to seek out addiction treatment facilities like Gateway Foundation. Signs and symptoms of PCP use include:
- Cravings and lack of control: A person using PCP can experience intense cravings and lack control over their need to use the drug. PCP can also be challenging to quit using.
- Continued use: Individuals who use PCP and develop a dependency will continue to use the drug even after learning about all of the negative side effects it has on their health and wellness. Addiction can take powerful control over a person’s mind.
- Euphoria or high: Substances like angel dust impact the brain’s reward system and provide a rush of positive feelings. This feeling of euphoria can be the beginning of substance use disorder for some individuals.
- Poor self-care: People suffering from substance use disorder may exhibit poor hygiene or grooming behaviors because of drug use. Neglecting to bathe, brush their teeth, comb their hair or other self-care habits can be a sign that someone is using PCP.
- Ignores work or school obligations: Individuals using PCP may begin to slack in their work or school life. They can miss important obligations that cause their grades to fall or put them in danger of losing their job. These individuals may start missing work or school altogether because of their time committed to drug use.
- Spending significant time on PCP: People using PCP may start using all of their time to purchase or use the drug. This intense fixation on angel dust can impact all areas of their life.
- Mood swings: The dissociative nature of PCP may cause individuals to have intense mood swings or anger. It’s helpful to keep an eye out for this change in behavior when looking at your use or a loved one’s.
- Physical symptoms: PCP use can show itself in various physical symptoms that change the person’s behavior or personal health. Some of these physical symptoms include slurred speech, stuttering, muscle spasms, blank stares, increased breathing rate, profuse sweating, shallow breaths and more.
- Risky activities: Regular use of PCP can lead to an individual participating in risky behaviors or activities like driving under the influence, sharing needles, unprotected sexual activity or other unsafe situations.
- Distancing from loved ones: A person using PCP may begin distancing themselves from their family or friends because of substance use. They want to spend all of their time using the substance and may feel ashamed of their substance use around family members. Distancing themselves may be a tactic to avoid confrontation about their substance use disorder or to hide their substance use.
- Neglecting activities or hobbies: Substance use disorder may cause an individual to distance themselves from their favorite pastimes. Individuals who may be struggling with PCP may start to allot most of their time to substance use rather than activities they enjoy.
- Sedation: A person using angel dust may appear to be overly calm or in a state of sedation.
- Hallucinations and psychosis: Major signs of a person’s PCP use are hallucinations and signs of psychosis. Hallucinations can be mild with low substance use, but heavy angel dust use may cause dangerous hallucinations that can impact a person’s safety. A person may be unable to distinguish their hallucinations from reality or experience paranoia, anxiety and delirium.
- Psychological symptoms: An individual experiencing substance use disorder for PCP may show signs of various psychological symptoms. Some signs may include amnesia, trouble making a decision or newly diagnosed mental illness.
- Poor nutrition and weight loss: Substance use disorder can cause an individual to neglect their diet or make poor nutritional decisions leading to weight loss.
- Money issues: Individuals using PCP may suddenly run into money issues and ask friends or family for money without reason. They may resort to behaviors that are not typical for them like stealing money or items in order to purchase drugs.
What Causes PCP Addiction?
Substance use disorder can affect people from various backgrounds, genders, religions or ages. There is not one thing that causes addiction — various factors may contribute to a person’s risk of developing substance use disorder. These factors are mostly out of a person’s control and are not a guarantee for substance use disorder.
A person’s genetics can play a significant role in their likelihood of developing substance use disorder. The genetic influence of substance use can explain why some individuals can use substances and not develop an addiction while others can easily become dependent on PCP.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a person’s likelihood of having a substance use disorder can increase by half because of genetics. If a person has a close relative like a parent or grandparent that currently or previously struggled with substance use disorder, they may want to take precautions around substance use or other addictive activities because of their genetics.
Numerous environmental factors can increase a person’s chances of developing an addiction to PCP.
The first environmental factor that influences the risk of addiction is parental involvement. Teenagers or young children whose parents or guardians are not involved in their upbringing may turn to substances like PCP to handle their feelings toward their parental figures.
Another environmental factor is peer pressure. The social group a person hangs around can influence their decisions on substances like angel dust. It’s important to consider the actions of people and the person’s ability to handle making boundaries for themselves when it comes to substance use.
Mental Health Conditions
A common diagnosis for individuals with substance use disorder is co-occurring disorders or the presence of addiction and a mental health condition. The process of co-occurring disorders can swap depending on the individual. Some people will have substance use disorder before a mental illness or vice versa.
Certain mental health conditions — like generalized anxiety disorder or depression — can increase the risk of becoming addicted to angel dust. People may turn to this substance to help cope with symptoms. Over time, self-medicating can make the symptoms of substance use worse and strengthen the dependence a person has on PCP.
The substance a person chooses to use can determine their likelihood of addiction. PCP has an array of powerful symptoms that can draw people in and cause them to regularly use the substance. As a Schedule II drug, it has a high potential for addiction.
Angel dust is popular in the club scene, so individuals who frequent locations like clubs or parties may have more exposure to PCP and be more likely to use the drug. PCP can also have serious withdrawal symptoms, which can make people take higher doses of the drug to experience the symptoms and prevent withdrawal.
The age a person begins to use a substance can impact their risk of developing substance use disorder. Early use of PCP can impact brain development and other areas of a person’s wellbeing that can impact the way their brain processes feelings of angel dust.
Method of Use
The way a person uses PCP can impact their chances of being addicted to the substance. Smoking or injecting the substance commonly has stronger impacts on the body, which can intensity the addictive properties of PCP.
Short and Long-Term Effects of Untreated Angel Dust Addiction
The health effects of PCP are a top reason for seeking treatment. Using angel dust can lead to adverse health effects that can impact a person in the short and long term. These angel dust drug effects can vary between people who use PCP and the level of dosage.
Lower levels of PCP can introduce short-term effects and prolonged use may bring long-term health effects. Some long-term effects can be permanent, which is one of the many reasons why it’s important to seek treatment as quickly as possible to prevent serious damage from angel dust.
People who try PCP for the first time may not intend to continue using the substance regularly, but the symptoms of the dissociative drug can affect a person’s mind and ability to make decisions. The constant battle of trying to achieve the “high” feeling from PCP can swiftly spiral into substance use disorder. The short-term effects from this substance are the beginning of the possible negative health impacts.
The type of short-term effects a person experiences or the severity of the effects depend on the dose of PCP they take or the method of use. The effects may last for the duration of the person’s “high” or extended past the timeframe.
Some of PCP’s short-term health effects include:
- Euphoria or “high'”
- High body temperature
- Numbness throughout the body
- Perspiration or looking flush
- Poor balance or coordination
- Trouble focusing or concentrating
- Distorted understanding of the surrounding environment because of hallucinations.
- High heart rate
- Obsession over minute details
- Blank expression
- Severe muscle spasms
- Mood swings
- Anxious feelings
- Quick eye movements
- Bloodshot eyes
- Feeling minimal pain
- Sudden onset of extreme panic or fear
- Becoming confused or paranoid
- Memory loss
- Cold sweats
- Feelings of detachment
- Unlikely behavior
- Lack of motivation
PCP can also cause an individual to have poor judgment skills, believe they have super strength and have the inability to not feel pain, which is a dangerous combination that can lead to serious injuries.
It’s best to seek out treatment as quickly as possible to prevent these short-term health effects from causing too much harm. The treatment programs at Gateway Foundation for PCP can help handle these effects and get a person’s life back on track.
Repeat exposure to PCP can lead to multiple long-term health effects. Over time, individuals will start to buildup a tolerance for PCP and their normal dose won’t provide the symptoms their brain craves. A person may start to take higher doses to feel those same symptoms they once had and prevent withdrawal symptoms. These higher doses can lead to more damaging and long-term health effects that might be irreversible.
Finding treatment programs for PCP is crucial when a person starts to notice the severe health problems they’re facing because of PCP use. Even when these troubling health effects aren’t enough to convince a person to seek treatment, hopefully, a loved one notices and convinces them to find a treatment facility.
PCP use can bring up various health effects that impact the heart. Some of the ways that these short-term effects can lead to long-term heart health problems include:
- High blood pressure: Also known as hypertension, this condition can begin during initial PCP use. Regular use can make this condition persist and lead to more damaging effects on the heart. High blood pressure that’s out of control can lead to heart attack or stroke.
- High heart rate: An increased heart rate over time can lead to other heart problems like a heart attack or stroke.
All of these effects continuing over time may lead to heart disease or other serious heart health impacts that can carry on throughout the person’s life.
Significant lung damage from PCP comes from smoking the substance along with others like marijuana or tobacco. Smoking can cause various issues with the respiratory system, so it’s essential to find treatment and combat any of these long-term effects on the lungs:
- Respiratory failure: Using marijuana cigarettes tainted with substances like PCP can cause respiratory failure.
- Cancer: Smoking substances can cause various types of cancers, including lung cancer, stomach cancer, throat cancer and bladder cancer.
Brain and Mental Health Problems
Individuals who struggle with a PCP addiction can experience changes in the brains chemistry, which can trigger certain issues like memory problems, depression, trouble concentrating and poor judgment. Numerous health problems can continue even after an individual stops PCP use. The dissociative substance can make significant changes to the mind that will cause lasting mental health problems.
Some of the things that PCP can do to the brain include:
- Memory loss: Having memory trouble can impact a person far after they stop taking PCP.
- Mental health conditions: Individuals experiencing flashbacks from PCP hallucinations are at risk for developing conditions like depression or anxiety.
- Prolonged hallucinations: People can experience auditory or visual hallucinations without taking PCP. This situation can lead to more serious conditions like psychosis.
- Speech impediments: Regular PCP users can notice changes in their speech. A long-term effect of PCP is developing a speech impediment because of cognitive or physical changes.
PCP use during pregnancy is harmful to the unborn child. This substance can cause significant changes to the development process of the unborn child when it is introduced to the womb. The effects that this drug can make include:
- Irregular spinal cord and brain development
- Premature birth
- Respiratory distress because of underdeveloped lungs
- Baby suffering withdrawal symptoms after birth, which can be fatal
PCP can cause an individual to experience other serious long-term health effects that can be permanent, including:
- Getting a needle-sharing disease like Hepatitis, HIV or other skin infections
- Experiencing damage to organs like the stomach from not eating or drinking during PCP binges
- Potential for overdose, which can cause serious damage to the entire body or possible death
How to Know When It’s Time for Treatment
Substance use disorder is a condition that impacts many individuals across the country. Struggling with PCP use, other drugs or alcohol is a tough battle to conquer without the right help and resources. It’s important to seek help when struggling with PCP angel dust addiction, but how can people know when it’s the right time for treatment?
Regardless of how severe a person’s substance use disorder is, any time is the right time for treatment. The sooner a person participates in a treatment program, the better their recovery process can be. There are some signs to look out for when determining whether you or a loved one should sign up for a PCP treatment program.
You Have a High Tolerance for PCP
People will start with small doses of PCP at first, but as they continue using, they’ll need a higher dose to feel the same symptoms they did previously. This is because of the tolerance a person builds to the drug. When an individual takes dangerously high doses to experience the same symptoms, it’s time to seek treatment.
Your Withdrawal Symptoms Are Strong
Withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to experience or potentially life-threatening depending on the problem’s severity. The symptoms of PCP withdrawal can include:
- High body temperature
If a person is trying to stop PCP use, but the withdrawal symptoms are too challenging to handle on their own, treatment can help them get through this process.
Your Overall Health is Declining
Angel dust use can cause damage to a person’s physical and mental health, which takes a significant toll on the body. From heart issues to declining mental health, it’s crucial to get treatment before experiencing severe health problems.
Your Job or School Work is Struggling
A person’s performance at work or school can suffer from substance use. Spending too much time obtaining PCP and using the substance can hinder a person’s ability to meet deadlines at work or complete school work on time. If an individual notices a decline in their grades or they are in danger of losing their job, treatment is the best option.
Your Relationships are Strained
Substance use can play a big role in the decline of relationships with loved ones. People using PCP may distance themselves from their friends and family, hide their drug use problems from them or unintentionally push loved ones away because of their behavior. Finding help for PCP use is an effective way to mend broken relationships because of substance use.
You Can’t Stop Using PCP on Your Own
PCP use can start controlling a person’s life and their actions. With intense withdrawal symptoms and cravings, stopping the use of the substance can feel impossible. Treatment programs can guide people through the recovery process and encourage them along the way to make sobriety attainable.
Types of Treatment Available for Angel Dust Addictions
Treatment plans for PCP use must be individualized based on a person’s needs. Not every treatment will be beneficial for every person. That’s why Gateway Foundation offers numerous treatment services to help individuals through their recovery.
Finding the right therapy options and support programs can make a big difference in a person’s progress through recovery. Learning about the types of programs and services Gateway offers can help make the treatment process run smoother.
The different types of treatment that Gateway offers include:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Handling intense emotions and behavior is essential for a successful recovery from PCP. Dialectical Behavior Therapy can help provide individuals with the coping methods they need to work through their strong emotions without losing control over their actions. This type of behavior is also helpful for those with co-occurring disorders and mental health conditions. Individuals will learn how to accept more situations and ideas while keeping their feelings leveled.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Thinking and behavior patterns are a big part of substance use disorder. Altering the way a person thinks or their beliefs can impact their thoughts on using PCP or other substances. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can teach individuals various coping skills for when any tough life challenges come their way. This type of therapy can help teach new behavior and thought patterns that can hep individuals handle stress and live a healthier lifestyle without PCP.
- 12 Step Support: A crucial part of many recovery processes is supporting other people in recovery. Support groups like 12 Step Support can help people feel a connection to others and find structure in their recovery. The 12 Step Support program will provide helpful resources and tools to help continue down the path of sobriety. This is beneficial as an ongoing program after a person completes their treatment program.
- 12 Step Facilitation: Participating in a new treatment or support program can be easy when you have someone to talk through the process, ask any questions or share feeling about the program. The 12 Step Facilitation program is a beneficial option for individuals who want more information on the 12 Step Support program. A counselor will explain the concept of the 12 Step program, provide support throughout the process and give individuals a safe space to ask questions or share thoughts on the process.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Acceptance can be a challenging concept for people struggling with substance use disorder. The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy program can simplify the idea of acceptance. This therapy program teaches individuals to accept their emotions and the entire process of recovery. Learning how to accept various parts of recovery can help people move on through the recovery process.
- Mindfulness-Based Sobriety: An essential part of a successful recovery is living in the moment. Mindfulness-Based Sobriety treatment can encourage people to work on their feelings and tasks in the moment and take everything in the recovery process one step at a time. This treatment can help create a healthy mindset that will benefit people during recovery and beyond.
- Trauma Therapy: Substance use disorder can be linked to a history of trauma or abuse. For some individuals, simultaneously treating substance use disorder and trauma is the best way to recover and stay sober. Trauma can look different for every person, and Trauma Therapy from Gateway Foundation can help individuals heal or understand their trauma and how it may have led them to use PCP. This process can provide clarity for patients and help them feel confident in their recovery.
- Coping Skills Therapy: An important part of achieving long-term sobriety is developing healthy coping skills for handling substance triggers, mental health conditions and other behavioral problems that individuals experience during substance use. Coping Skills Therapy can help people learn health methods that work for their lives and can help them move forward in their recovery process.
- Group and Individual Therapy: Both Group and Individual Therapy programs are essential to an individual’s progress. Group therapy can provide a safe environment to discuss substance use or other life problems with people who understand each other and their struggles. Group and Individual Therapy can be a large part of the healing process for individuals.
- Motivational Interviewing: The Motivational Interviewing program is beneficial for individuals who require more motivation through their recovery process and for those who already have motivation. This program encourages others to be active in their treatment plan and consider the benefits of being sober and the negatives of substance use.
- Recreational activities: The goal of treatment programs at Gateway Foundation is to promote a healthy lifestyle free of harmful substances. One of the treatment services available for patients is access to recreational activities for patients to have fun and enjoy their time spent in treatment.
- Relapse Prevention: Substance use disorder is a chronic condition, meaning that relapse is a possibility. The Relapse Prevention program at Gateway can help individuals continue ongoing treatment that teaches them helpful tips for staying sober after treatment.
The Process of Treating PCP Addiction
Receiving treatment for PCP use looks different for every patient. The different levels of care that Gateways offers can help patients work through their PCP addiction in a way that works best with their schedule or the severity of their substance use disorder.
The various levels of care that create the process for treating PCP addiction include:
- Withdrawal management: Quitting angel dust and other drugs can be a difficult process. The withdrawal management treatment at Gateway Foundation can help patients safely process withdrawal symptoms. We provide patients with medical staff that can help handle serious withdrawal symptoms and encourage patients.
- Residential/inpatient treatment: Certain patients require more care and structure during their recovery process. The residential treatment program at Gateway can provide patients with around-the-clock care so they have a safe and encouraging environment to go through recovery.
- Partial hospitalization: For patients who need a recovery plan that works with their schedule but is also structured enough to keep them safe during the process, partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are a great option. PHP treatments are for individuals who need extensive treatment for substance use disorder but have a strong support system and home. The schedule for partial hospitalization is similar to work or school schedules.
- Outpatient treatment: People who need treatment for their substance use disorder but can’t miss out on work, school or other obligations can participate in outpatient treatment. People can schedule treatment appointments at any time during the morning, afternoon or nighttime to fit with their schedules.
- Sober living: Care after treatment is beneficial for remaining sober and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If entering into the real world after treatment seems like too much, using a sober living home is a great step for patients to ease their way back to normal.
The Benefits of Angel Dust Addiction Treatment
Participating in a PCP addiction treatment program can help people get back to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Deciding to move forward with angel dust addiction treatment will provide numerous benefits for patients, including:
- Being in a safe environment
- Accessing multiple types of therapies and treatment programs
- Having a day full of structure and plans
- Using 24/7 support from medical and mental health professionals
- Setting goals for a better life
- Having ongoing support after treatment
- Learning new coping strategies to use for life
- Gaining advice to help mend strained relationships
Frequently Asked Questions About Angel Dust Addiction Treatment
Do you still have questions about substance use disorder and angel dust? Check out these commonly asked questions for more help.
Who is at Risk for PCP Addiction?
Any individual can be at risk for substance use disorder, but factors like genetics, environment and drug choice contribute to their risk.
How is Substance Use Disorder Diagnosed?
A medical professional will assess a patient’s overall health and determine whether they have substance use disorder and the severity of the condition.
Why is PCP Addictive?
PCP changes the chemistry of the brain. It is addictive because of the hallucinations, feeling of invincibility and other symptoms.
Contact Gateway Foundation for Angel Dust/PCP Treatment in Illinois
If you’re ready to make a change in your life or a loved one’s life, Gateway Foundation is here to help. With 16 locations in Illinois, we’re prepared to help individuals recover from PCP use and get their lives back on track. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and services for substance use.