As a dissociative drug, phencyclidine (PCP or “angel dust”) causes hallucinations and feelings of dissociation. Soon after the medical field developed PCP, it discontinued the drug because of its ability to cause aggressive behavior and psychosis. However, some people use angel dust for recreational purposes. Because of its effects on the brain, PCP can become addictive. Let Gateway Foundation assist if you or a loved one has an addiction to angel dust.
WHAT IS PCP/ANGEL DUST?
PCP is a shortened form of the chemical name phencyclidine. This hallucinogen has effects similar to stimulants and anesthetic drugs, depending on how much is taken. PCP alters a user’s perceptions and feelings, often putting them in a trancelike state. A PCP use disorder usually begins when users are drawn to the high that the drug induces and desire that experience over and over again. Addiction can produce intense cravings and PCP-seeking behaviors, despite the negative consequences associated with drug use.
PCP is also known by the street names angel dust, supergrass and rocket fuel.
HOW IS PCP USED?
Angel dust is most often sold as a white powder that has a distinct, bitter chemical taste. However, it can also come in capsule, tablet or liquid forms. The drug is commonly snorted, injected or swallowed. In its powder form, it can also be mixed with marijuana, tobacco or even dried parsley or mint and smoked.
HOW DOES PCP AFFECT THE BODY?
What does PCP do to a person, and why do people do PCP? The drug has different effects on different people.
Most users prize PCP for its ability to change how they perceive reality, creating shifts in light, color, sound and touch. Others use it for the out-of-body experience it provides, causing people to feel detached from their environment. While some people feel joyful from their PCP high, others experience severe anxiety and panic. This panic can induce violent behaviors toward themselves and others. Some people also struggle with intense delusions or paranoia.
At low to moderate doses, the effects of PCP impact the mind and senses. Users may experience hallucinations, seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there. PCP can also have a similar effect to alcohol intoxication, affecting a user’s emotions, muscular coordination, ability to think clearly as well as causing generalized numbness of the hands and feet.
At higher doses, PCP can induce seizures or cause users to fall into a coma. PCP’s unpleasant psychological effects can also result in accidental death or suicide. Hallmark symptoms high doses include delirium, paranoia and an inability to distinguish reality from fantasy.
Another effect PCP can have on users is an experience called a flashback. During this experience, users feel the side effects of PCP days, weeks or even months after their last use.
HISTORY OF PCP
PCP, or phenylcyclohexyl piperidine, was developed in the 1950s as a surgical anesthetic. Veterinarians also utilized it as an animal tranquilizer. Doctors soon realized that patients were experiencing a number of adverse side effects after PCP was administered, including post-operative psychosis, severe anxiety and feelings of unease. By 1965, the use of the drug was discontinued. It was restricted to veterinarian use only in 1967.
The 1960s saw the emergence of PCP as an illicit drug. The hippie counterculture movement used the drug for its mind-altering side effects. The sale of PCP was made illegal in 1978. PCP is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance because of its high potential for misuse as well as physical and psychological dependency. Today, over six thousand people throughout the U.S. admit to having tried this highly dangerous hallucinogen.
SIDE EFFECTS, SYMPTOMS, AND RISKS OF PCP USE
PCP impacts many of the brain’s neurotransmitters — chemicals responsible for sending signals. Neurotransmitters allow the various parts of the brain to communicate with each other and influence a wide range of functions. Angel dust affects neurotransmitters related to reward and mood, including dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. It also blocks NMDA receptors that impact learning, emotions, memory and feelings of pain. A person who takes PCP may experience these side effects:
- Anxiety, mood swings and agitation
- Loss of sensation and balance
- Feelings of impending doom
- Leg and arm numbness
- Stiff muscles
- Memory loss
- Low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
In high doses, PCP can have incredibly dangerous effects such as:
- Damage to the skeletal muscles
Due to its effects on a person’s perception, PCP use can also cause self-injury or violent behavior. Angel dust users can cause harm to themselves or others because of these behaviors.
SIGNS OF PCP/ANGEL DUST ADDICTION
These signs may indicate that you or someone you know has an addiction to PCP:
- Performing “runs” involving binge use of PCP for days at a time
- Ignoring relationships, obligations or hobbies to use PCP
- Having uncontrollable urges to use PCP
- Spending large amounts of time and money on using and getting PCP
- Showing a decline in self-care and general wellness
It can become difficult to tell when you have a PCP addiction because of the way that addiction develops. An angel dust drug treatment program in Illinois can perform a screening to see if you show the signs.
TREATMENT OPTIONS AT PCP DRUG REHABILITATION CENTERS
Drug addiction treatment centers for PCP take a variety of approaches to treating angel dust addiction. Modern substance use disorder treatment aims to address all the ways addiction impacts someone’s life. You can receive two broad categories of angel dust use disorder treatment:
- Medical services: Some approaches to PCP addiction care involve the use of medication to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Clinic doctors may also treat any conditions that contribute to the patient’s PCP use. They sometimes make referrals to other providers to address specialized health issues related to the addiction.
- Behavioral support: Addiction changes the way the brain works, in turn modifying the patient’s behaviors. Behavioral services, such as therapy and group counseling, help patients learn new habits. Some patients also need to manage mental health conditions that affect their drug use.
The services you receive at a PCP drug use disorder treatment center depend on the provider and your needs.
GATEWAY’S PCP DRUG ADDICTION REHABILITATION CENTERS IN ILLINOIS
At Gateway, we take a personalized approach to every patient’s treatment. Our comprehensive care plans include drug use disorder treatment services tailored to your medical history and past experiences. We look for the contributing factors behind your addiction to help you build a strategy for a successful recovery. Your Gateway care team will address the physical and emotional aspects of addiction to raise your chance of success. Consider us your partners in recovery as you work toward a drug-free life.
BENEFITS OF RECEIVING TREATMENT FOR ANGEL DUST ADDICTION
Professional addiction treatment can improve your well-being by empowering you to achieve goals such as:
- Mending relationships with the people you care about
- Building a stable life at work, home or school
- Enhancing your physical and mental health
- Planning a new future without PCP
Your Gateway care team will help you set benchmarks in recovery and provide the resources to meet them.
VISIT A GATEWAY PCP USE DISORDER TREATMENT CENTER IN ILLINOIS
With more than 50 years of positive results, Gateway assists Chicago-area patients in their addiction recovery. Our multi-site campus has various locations that make it convenient to get treatment. To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, contact our staff today.