What are Hallucinogens?

What are hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens alter a person's perceptions of reality and produce hallucinations, which can be either pleasurable or frightening. There are more than 100 substances which are used as hallucinogens. In the United States, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is the most widely used hallucinogen. It can either be taken orally, blotted onto pieces of paper that are held in the mouth, or chewed with something else. Although less common some types are inhalation, smoking or intravenously. The hallucinogen MDMA, better known as ecstasy or simply "e," is becoming more common among young adults and teenagers.


LSD is a powerful drug because of the long-lasting effects it has one's mental and physical state. A single dose of LSD can begin within thirty minutes and last up to twelve hours. These hallucinations may include brightly colored lights, animals, geometric designs, and religious or mystical imagery and thoughts. The effects of the hallucinogens depend on the dose, the individual's expectations and personality, and the setting for drug use (religious or other).

Effects on the body:

* increased heart rate
* increased blood pressure
* increased temperature
* headache
* nausea
* sweating
* trembling
* heart palpitations
* blurring of vision
* tremors
* poor coordination
* 'bad trips'
* irrational acts

Hallucinogens sold on the street are frequently mixed with other drugs like PCP and amphetamines. This is extremely dangerous because the mixing can cause unexpected or frightening effects.

Health Risks

Suicide becomes a real danger when a person is high on hallucinogens. While high, he or she may experience changes in emotions and mood, may feel very anxious, depressed, fear losing one 's mind,and have impaired judgment. Some people even experience flashbacks in which they re-experience all the symptoms they felt while high. LSD can also trigger irrational acts. Users have done dangerous and deadly things while intoxicate don LSD, such as jumping out of a window, swimming out to sea, or jumping in front of a moving car. Some people may develop Delusional Disorder. People who experience delusions think their distorted perceptions and thoughts are real. Although this disorder is different from schizophrenia, people with this problem have delusions which are very commonly seen in schizophrenia.

Some people may experience a "bad trip"and blame themselves. They feel guilty, tense, agitated, have trouble sleeping,and think they have destroyed their brains forever. Some people who are depressed may take a hallucinogen to feel better but this makes them become more depressed, even suicidal.


Withdrawal is not a problem because hallucinogens are different than other substances. They do not produce the same kind of dependence. If people have unpleasant or scary experiences, they may stop using the drug all together without having withdrawal effect. People who are having undesired effects of hallucinogens should seek help from a physician or hospital.


People who become terrified of losing their minds or dying during a bad trip should seek professional evaluation and be reassured that these effects will wear off. Sometimes, anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed. In extreme cases, when users become very agitated, hurt themselves, or become suicidal, the users may be sedated and hospitalized.