PCP

Phencyclidine (PCP) is a dissociative anesthetic and synthetic drug with a potential to cause some of the most dangerous effects, when abused. It was introduced as a medical dissociative anesthetic in the 1950s, however, its use was decreased after patients started reporting severe anxiety, agitation and hallucinations symptoms after use. Also called angel dust, its popularity returned recreationally in the 1970s owing to its psychedelic escapist effects, but again faded with growing links to aggressiveness, violence and suicidal episodes among users.

Today, PCP still surfaces in illicit drug markets: misrepresented, mixed in and sold as ecstasy, MDMA, or other popular “club drugs.” A Schedule II drug, it is one of the only illicit drugs on the clinical radar till date that can cause long-term psychological damage with even minimal usage.

An addictive substance known to have severe short-term and long-term effects, PCP abuse can lead to tolerance and physical dependence on the drug. When stopped suddenly after continued or frequent use, the users may also experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, including chills, diarrhea and tremors. However, when diagnosed and treated in time, individuals abusing the drug respond well to addiction treatment. A leader in providing comprehensive and evidence-based treatment for substance abuse, mental health and co-occurring disorders, Sovereign Health provides its clients with a holistic treatment for PCP abuse and addiction.

PCP abuse

PCP is available in the black market in various forms, with the color depending on the purity. However, it is typically sold as a bitter, crystalline powder. When used in the powder form, it is consumed through an eye drop injection, or ingested orally, snorted or smoked along with tobacco, marijuana or other herbs. When snorted or smoked, its effects can last for as long as six hours. When consumed orally, the feeling of “high” can be experienced for almost 24 hours. PCP’s effects can vary drastically due to its synthetic composition and adulterants, hence, consuming high quantity of the drug is likely to cause an overdose and produce a range of dangerous physical and psychological effects.

PCP abuse: signs and symptoms

Originally developed as a surgical anesthetic, PCP can cause its users to experience hallucinogenic and sedating effects. Hallucinations are typically followed by confusion and disruption to a person’s sense of time and being.

Following are some of the signs and symptoms of its abuse:

  • Depression
  • Depersonalization
  • Drowsiness
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Euphoria
  • Panic and terror
  • Mood swings
  • Slurred speech
  • Rigid muscles
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Volleying in blood pressure

Some other symptoms that a person abusing PCP may experience include the inability to think clearly, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, impaired memory, isolation and withdrawal.

PCP abuse: red flags

Because of the physical and psychological health effects of PCP abuse, recognizing the warning signs of development of an addiction is important so that the same can be managed and overcome before it is late. Following are some of the warning signs or red flags of PCP abuse:

  • Appearing drunk – staggering, slurred speech
  • Highly erratic behavior
  • Invincible self-perception
  • Imperviousness to pain
  • Rapid changes in emotion – from apathy to severe agitation

Effects on the body

PCP works by suppressing the brain’s pain receptor glutamate. A powerful excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate is responsible for sending signals between nerve cells and controlling emotional and memory function. It also has an effect on the neurotransmitter dopamine, a participant of the brain’s reward system and the prime agent maintaining sleep, mood, movement, attention, behavior, and cognitive functions.

The dopamine release and the resultant flood of euphoric feelings during the state of “high” make people dependent on PCP in spite of being aware of its other side effects. Long-term use of the drug can lead to chronic speech difficulties, vivid flashbacks, long-term psychosis, and hallucinations, even years after the last use. One of the most infamous qualities of the drug is its link with violence. Media images of drug users imbued with incredible strength during violent rages are no longer a hype. It can also cause visual and auditory hallucinogenic effects, coupled with dissociative qualities, which can make users completely unaware of their surroundings.

Owing to its extremely addictive nature and severe side effects that it causes, the treatment for PCP addiction must be comprehensive and brain restorative; alternatives to abuse must help recovered users unlock their brain’s pleasure centers in a sober and sound way. And the first step to it is PCP detox treatment.

Seeking treatment for PCP addiction

No one deliberately gets addicted to the drug. It is trauma, mental disorder or escalated substance abuse that often drive some to seek escapist psychedelic drugs. Hence, the reasons for PCP addiction can vary. However, the good news is that most people dependent on the drug respond well to the treatment and are able to recover completely under an expert guidance.

Associated with numerous irreversible side effects that can damage many areas of the brain and can prove to be deadly, a comprehensive treatment for PCP addiction combines medically supervised detoxification treatment followed by intense psychotherapies. A supervised detox program at any of the certified PCP detox centers helps in freeing the body of all the toxins and in reducing the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms. In addition, psychotherapies help uncover any hidden physical or mental health problem that may be fueling addiction. They also help patients in learning effective coping mechanisms to deal with daily-life stressors without being dependent on drugs.

Why choose Sovereign Health?

Sovereign Health has multiple Joint Commission-accredited and dually licensed facilities in the United States for mental health rehabilitation and the treatment of manifested eating, substance abuse or mental disorders. What sets us apart is our commitment to offer tailored treatment plans, contented residential treatment homes with cutting-edge, evidence-based advanced treatment modalities.

We provide safe, structured and holistic PCP treatment programs for all patients at our Rancho San Diego adolescent facility and the other adult treatment centers across the country. Knowing that one kind of treatment does not fit all, our clients undergo a full biopsychosocial assessment upon admission that helps the consulting experts in creating individualized treatment programs as per their needs.

In addition to the clinically proven treatment modalities, the treatment team at Sovereign Health promotes cognitive wellness by utilizing evidence-based treatment modalities, including the following.

  • Trauma-informed care
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Cognitive remediation
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Alternative therapies, such as yoga, equine, art, and music therapy
  • Continuing care

We set the bar in our industry for doing everything it takes to help ensure A Better Way to a Better Life. To learn more about our treatment programs for PCP addiction, call our 24/7 helpline and speak to our admission specialists. You can even chat online with our trained representatives for further assistance.

We can help you today!

We accept Most Private Insurance, reach out to us to so we can help!

Stay connected with Sovereign Health
Get the latest news on program developments, behavioral health news and company announcements
How can we help your teen succeed?

Sovereign Health offers comprehensive and high-quality treatment programming for substance abuse and mental health. Call our 24/7 helpline at any time to reach our admissions team.

What Are Our Past Patients Saying?

"There was more than just therapy. There were life skills that were taught and everyone here cared genuinely." - Jack