Substance use disorders come in all forms. Some people get addicted to alcohol, while others struggle with illicit or prescription medications. There is also a class of drugs called “dissociatives,” considered psychedelic substances. We will look at dissociative drugs, their effects, and how seeking treatment can help. Addiction to any of these substances can be dangerous and sometimes deadly. This is why seeking addiction treatment and recovery is crucial for those battling a substance abuse disorder.
What are Dissociative Drugs?
As we mentioned above, dissociative drugs are a class of psychedelic drugs. Their name comes from the fact that they make people feel removed from reality and distort sensory perception.1
Common dissociate drugs include:
- Ketamine: This drug causes memory loss while relieving pain. It is an anesthetic that is commonly used in surgery and veterinary medicine.
- PCP: Also known as angel dust. It makes people feel like they are in a trance and has strong anesthetic effects. It makes users feel removed from their body and their surroundings.
- DXM: Technically called Dextromethorphan, DXM is typically used as a cough suppressant in cold and cough medicines.
- Nitrous Oxide: This dissociative anesthetic makes people feel like they’re floating.
Studies show that drugs like PCP and ketamine affect the body by disrupting the actions of the brain’s glutamate chemicals at specific receptors.2 Glutamate plays a role in learning, memory, emotion, and how the body perceives pain. PCP also changes dopamine’s actions, a neurotransmitter responsible for euphoric feelings and a rush that people often feel when abusing drugs.
Short-Term Effects of Dissociative Drugs
Using drugs for any period is going to impact the body. When someone uses dissociative drugs, they can expect to have distorted vision and hearing while feeling like they’re floating.2 Other effects include:
- Memory Loss
- Impaired Motor Function
- Body Tremors
These effects will depend on how much of the drug someone takes. Some people feel the effects within minutes of taking it and experience them for several hours. Other users feel the drug’s effects for days.
Long-Term Effects of Dissociative Drugs
The long-term effects of dissociative drugs are still being studied, but research has shown that repeated use of PCP can make people build a tolerance for the drug and have withdrawal symptoms.2 Other effects of long-term PCP use include:
- Memory loss
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Social Withdrawal
- Speech Difficulties
These effects can make it difficult and nearly impossible to carry on with everyday functions and responsibilities.
Dosage and Impact of Dissociative Drugs
The amount of dissociative drugs in a person’s body will determine the impact. Low to moderate doses can produce the following effects:2
- Increased blood pressure, heart rate
- Memory loss
- Extreme panic, fear, anxiety
Additionally, high to moderate doses of PCP can lead to violent seizures and make someone feel schizophrenic. If someone takes ketamine in high to medium amounts, it can lead to sedation and even immobility. People who take high doses of ketamine have reported almost complete sensory detachment similar to a near-death experience.
When someone uses dissociative drugs with alcohol or other drugs that depress the central nervous system, it can lead to respiratory problems resulting in death.
Addiction Treatment at Desert Cove Recovery
At Desert Cove Recovery, we help people treat various substance abuse disorders, including those involving dissociative drugs. Our addiction treatment plans are customized to help each patient deal with their addiction. Programs typically consist of therapy methods to help each patient overcome their addiction and lead a sober life.
For more information on how Desert Cove Recovery can help with an addiction to dissociative drugs, contact us 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our team of professionals is here to help you begin your journey to sobriety.