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All About Phencyclidine, Also Known As PCP

PCP, also known as phencyclidine, exists as one of the more popular hallucinogen drugs. First developed in the 1950’s, PCP was used as an intravenous anesthetic, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. PCP’s use as an anesthetic was soon discontinued because of the drug’s adverse effects.

pcp abuse help

PCP addiction treatment usually consists of individual and group therapies and other treatments.

Hallucinogen drugs in general produce altered states of consciousness that cause a loss of touch with reality. Chronic use of PCP greatly disrupts normal brain functions causing physical dependency and addiction to develop over time.

Treatment for PCP addiction entails a comprehensive process where users must first break the body’s physical dependence on the drug. From there, treatment for PCP involves ongoing psychosocial treatment interventions that work to help recovering addicts undo the psychological damage caused by chronic drug use.

As addiction can leave users psychologically unstable for months into recovery, treatment for PCP may require medication therapies to help relieve the uncomfortable aftereffects of the drug.

Effects of PCP Addiction

The effects of a PCP high can last anywhere from four to six hours. During that time, the drug prompts the release of unusually high levels of glutamate neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. Glutamate helps in the regulation of pain perception, learning processes and memory formation.

Normally, glutamate chemical secretions take place on an as-needed basis. With ongoing PCP use, overstimulation of glutamate secreting cell sites leaves the brain in a depleted state.

Once a person enters treatment for PCP addiction, the damaging effects of the drug make it all the more difficult in recovery. Damaging effects may include –

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Memory loss
  • Impulse control
  • Inability to respect boundaries

Detox Treatment

Treatment for PCP addiction entails an initial detox period to eliminate all traces of the drug from the body. The detox stage can bring on any number of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, most of which can drive a person back to using again.

Withdrawal symptoms may include –

  • Intense anxiety
  • Depression episodes
  • Hallucinations
  • Strong drug cravings
  • Violent behavior displays
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Ongoing drowsiness

Due to the extensive damage caused by regular drug use, most people require professional detox treatment for PCP from a treatment facility.

Psychosocial Treatments

Ongoing PCP use essentially alters brain cell structures and functions to the point where fundamental changes in brain chemical function develop over time. These changes inevitably affect psychological stability, which in turn brings with it certain behaviors and beliefs that support ongoing drug use. Psychosocial treatments for PCP enable recovering addicts to identify and replace addiction-based beliefs and behavior patterns with healthy coping strategies for living drug-free lifestyles.

Medication Treatments

While no known medications exist to treat PCP addiction, medication treatments can still be used to relieve some of the long-term effects from drug use. In effect, medication treatments for PCP help to ease a person’s discomfort and allow him or her to better engage in the recovery process.

For many people in recovery, depression side effects can last for up to a year. Antidepressants are commonly used to address depression symptoms, while benzodiazepines may also be prescribed to help reduce anxiety symptoms when needed.

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