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How Do Psychedelic Drugs Work?

How Do Psychedelic Drugs Work?

Drugs like shrooms, LSD and peyote are psychedelic which can alter your mood, perception, and cognitive function. How does this work?

Psychedelic drugs, also known as hallucinogens, work by producing psychoactive effects that alter perception and change mood. Some of the more commonly abused psychedelic drugs include magic mushrooms (psilocybin), LSD (acid), DMT, peyote, and ayahuasca. 

These drugs are thought to produce their effects by acting on certain neural circuits in the brain that interact with serotonin. This is a “feel-good” chemical that increases feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Research shows that psychedelic drugs affect the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain directly related to the regulation of mood, perception, and cognitive function. 

How Do Psychedelic Drugs Work?

What Happens When You Take Psychedelic Drugs in Large Amounts?

When people take psychedelic drugs in large amounts, they experience significant changes to the perception that include auditory and visual hallucinations, meaning they hear and see things that are not there. When taken in smaller amounts, psychedelic drugs can enhance mood and lead to changing sensations.

How a Person React to a Psychedelic Drug?

People who use psychedelic drugs recreationally often refer to their experiences as a “trip.” Some people have very pleasant and potentially eye-opening trips, while others have negative and potentially frightening trips. The way that a person reacts to a psychedelic drug depends on several factors, including:

  • How safe the person feels in their current surroundings. 
  • Whether or not the person has combined the drug with another chemical substance. 
  • Whether or not the person has any underlying mental health conditions. 
  • Who the person is with when they decide to take the drug. 
  • Whether or not the person has been experiencing high-stress levels before the “trip.”

Because hallucinogenic drugs are generally taken recreationally and very infrequently, people tend to believe that they are non-addictive and generally safe to use. But, unfortunately, it is common to take psychedelic drugs habitually and in large quantities, leading to a range of serious – and sometimes irreversible – issues. If you or someone you know has developed a psychological dependence on a drug like psilocybin, LSD, or DMT, seeking professional help might be necessary. 

Is Addiction Treatment Necessary While Psychedelic Drug Abuse?

If you are concerned that you or a loved one might be struggling with a substance abuse disorder about psychedelic drugs (or any other chemical substance), there are several warning signs to keep an eye out for. First, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I use psychedelic drugs more than is recommended?
  • Have I attempted to cut back on my intake, only to find myself unable to do so?
  • Have people I know expressed concern about my drug-related habits?
  • Have perception changes lasted longer than they are supposed to?
  • Have I developed a physical tolerance, meaning that I need to ingest more of the psychedelic drug to experience a “trip?” 
  • Do I feel anxious, angry, or restless when I don’t have access to my drug of choice?

Because drugs like magic mushrooms and LSD are not traditionally addictive (not like alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines, for example), it can be difficult to determine whether or not addiction treatment has become a necessity. Do you need to check into a three-month-long rehab program simply because you’ve eaten a few too many mushrooms or dropped a little too much acid recently? It depends on your circumstances and your history of substance abuse and dependence. In most cases, intensive behavioral therapy can be effective as a standalone treatment option. At Evoke Waltham, we are ready and available to help you determine which level of clinical care is right for you.

Recovery When You Need For Psychedelic Drug Addiction at Evoke Waltham

At Evoke Waltham, we believe that effective addiction treatment resources should be readily available to those in need. For this reason, we have developed a program of recovery that you can immediately access over the phone or online – as well as in person. Contact us today to learn more about the resources we offer to those who have been struggling with problematic psychedelic drug use.