What are Dissociative Drugs?
Dissociative drugs are a class of hallucinogen and are known for altering perceptions of sight, sound, and connections with one’s surroundings. When taken, they generate feelings of separation, or dissociation, from the environment and self. While certain dissociative drugs no longer have any forms of legal use, some types are used as anesthetic and others can be found in over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medications.
Dissociative drugs work by blocking signals to the conscious mind from different parts of the brain. Studies suggest that this blockage may occur as the drugs disrupt the actions of glutamate, a chemical in the brain that plays a large role in cognition, emotion and pain perception. This may serve to explain the hallucinations, sensory deprivation, and dream-like trances experienced by those who use this class of drug. Some dissociatives have general depressant effects as well, which is why doctors prescribe them to sedate patients who are in pain or to help maintain general anesthesia during an operation.
Common dissociative drugs include:
- PCP (Phencyclidine)
- DXM (Dextromethorphan)
- Salvia divinorum
Beyond producing hallucinations, general side-effects of taking dissociative drugs in high doses may include: memory loss, changes in blood pressure, heart rate and respiration, feelings of extreme panic, aggression, and in some cases respiratory arrest. Furthermore, individual dissociatives have the ability to cause their own set of dangerous consequences in addition to the list of general side-effects.
Treatment for Dissociative Drug Addiction
Dissociative drug addiction is when a person persistently uses a substance without express permission from a physician and/or despite knowing its harmful effects. While not much is known about the long-term effects of dissociative drug use, research shows that prolonged use of PCP can produce tolerance and lead to a substance abuse disorder complete with a withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawal symptoms of PCP include drug cravings, headaches and sweating.
Moreover, research suggests that difficulties in speech, memory loss, depression and social withdrawal may last for more than a year after habitual PCP use has stopped.
For those who need help coping with withdrawal symptoms or dissociative drug abuse, Talbott Recovery provides a drug addiction treatment program that offers varying levels of care depending on your current state of addiction. Our campuses are located in Atlanta and Dunwoody, Georgia.