Phencyclidine Dot Org

All About Phencyclidine, Also Known As PCP

PCP psychosis is mental state caused by long-term PCP abuse that often occurs when someone takes the drug in the long-term. It can be very difficult to get over and “recovery may take up to 4-6 weeks” (NCBI). PCP psychosis is extremely dangerous and can cause many issues for the individual experiencing it as well as anyone around them.

What Characterizes PCP Psychosis?

pcp hallucinations

Chronic users of PCP may develop psychosis, and experience episodes of hallucinations, paranoia, extreme confusion and other symptoms.

According to a study from the NCBI, “PCP-induced psychosis is characterized by confusion, excitation, aggression, paranoia, hallucinations and delusions of grandeur.” It has often been confused for schizophrenia, as people who are undergoing PCP psychosis act similarly to those who are suffering from schizophrenia.

PCP psychosis is also called toxic psychosis, and according to CESAR, it “may appear in chronic users who do not have a prior history of psychiatric disturbances.” This is why PCP psychosis can be so alarming and frighten the loved ones of the individual. The person who is suffering from it often has never shown any kind of behavior like this and, therefore, will not act as they usually do. Someone who is experiencing PCP psychosis will usually be a long-term abuser of PCP and will exhibit these symptoms:

  • Paranoia
  • “Delusional thinking”
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Extreme hostility
  • A strong possibility of hurting oneself or others as “someone under the influence of PCP is often unaware of the dangers and limitations they face”

When Does PCP Psychosis Occur?

According to the DOI, “there are four phases to PCP abuse,” and psychosis is the second one users usually experience. However, it does not always happen in that order, and it may come later in the cycle of PCP abuse, depending on the person and the amount they are taking over time. The phases generally occur as:

  • First phase- acute toxicity
  • Second phase- toxic psychosis
  • Third phase- drug-induced schizophrenia
  • Forth phase- PCP-induced depression

Psychosis may also occur as a symptom of overdose in PCP users. Those who overdose on the drug will experience “longer, more intense ‘trip’ episodes,” coma, and possibly death.

What to Do for Someone Who Is Undergoing PCP Psychosis

Someone who is struggling with PCP psychosis is likely already addicted to the drug and is experiencing extreme issues as a result. Helping that person can be tricky, but here are some tips:

  • Do not engage in aggressive or intense conversations or confrontations with the person. Make sure to protect yourself and the individual by trying to be as calm and non-combative as possible.
  • Seek treatment for the person right away. They don’t need to volunteer for treatment, but it will likely be necessary if the individual is going to get over PCP addiction and psychosis. A mixture of therapy, medications, and specialized care can help get the person back to a more normal state over time.
  • Keep an eye on the person as much as you can and gently try to do what you can to keep them from doing something dangerous. If the situation becomes dangerous to you though, back off immediately. Call 911 if the individual is hurt or needs medical attention.

Above all, remind yourself that whatever the person does, it is because they are under the influence of PCP.

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