PCP recovery programs fill a vital role in society and are urgently needed to address an extremely serious problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, at least 122,000 Americans over the age of 12 had abused PCP in the year prior to having survey. The risk of psychological dependence on the drug is very high, while the terms on which a physiological dependence forms are simply not known, as PCP has never been approved for use on humans, which limits the availability of long-term research regarding the physical effects of chronic use.
What is PCP?
Phencyclidine (PCP), which is also known as "angel dust," is a powerful hallucinogen drug known for eliciting euphoria and the perception of possessing superhuman strength.1 It comes in the form of white powder, crystals, tablets, and liquid, and can be smoked, swallowed, snorted, or injected.1 It was developed in the 1950s as a synthetic tranquilizer originally intended for IV use.3 Problems developed during the human clinical testing stage of the drug's trials, and PCP was removed from consideration for human consumption. It was once used as an animal tranquilizer and as an anesthetic but was recalled for its adverse effects.
Side Effects of PCP Use
There are a number of dangerous side effects associated with PCP use and they are as follows 1,2,4:
- Unease or dissatisfaction.
- Uncontrolled eye movements.
- High blood pressure or heart rate.
- Increased sensitivity to sound frequencies
- Loss of control over body movements
- Rigid muscles.
- High body temperature
PCP intoxication can last for hours, and possibly days if combined with other substances.2 The majority of deaths associated with PCP use are due to violent behaviors. It is not uncommon for users to jump off of buildings, remove their own eyes, or walk in front of cars.1 Another sign of PCP intoxication is acute psychosis. In some cases, chronic users experience prolonged psychosis, which may eventually turn into schizophrenia. 1
PCP rehabilitation facilities running inpatient PCP rehabilitation programs must be prepared to deal with high levels of aggression and paranoid behavior on the part of addicts. Many users who do finally wind up in PCP treatment programs are sent to the PCP treatment facilities by court order, due to their alarming and frequently criminal behavior.
Long-term Effects of PCP Abuse
Continued use of PCP may have many harmful effects on the mind and body that could possibly persist for years after use of the hallucinogen has stopped. These detrimental effects include 2,3:
- Suicidal ideation.
- Weight loss
- Memory problems
- Speech problems
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- Breakdown of muscle tissue
When a chronic PCP user suddenly stops taking the hallucinogen, he or she may experience a number of different unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which include 1,5:
- Intense fatigue.
- Sleep and thought disturbances.
- Inability to feel pleasure.
Given the extreme risks associated with consuming PCP in any quantity over any period of time, the question of addiction versus occasional recreational use recedes in importance somewhat. As PCP has never been regarded as safe for use by humans; no amount is considered to be "safe." Signs that you or a loved one suffers from a phencyclidine use disorder include:
- A strong urge or craving to use PCP.
- An inability to or great difficulty with cutting back or stopping consumption of PCP.
- A willingness to spend money on the drug when doing so causes financial hardship or requires uncharacteristic behavior on the part of the user, i.e. stealing, prostitution etc.
- A willingness to continue, and even to increase, the use of PCP despite mounting consequences directly related to use.
- The hallucinogen is typically taken in larger amounts than intended.
- The user spends an inordinate amount of time using PCP, acquiring PCP, and recovering from use.
- Failure to meet responsibilities at school, home, or work due to PCP use.
- Persistent use even when interpersonal and social problems are caused by or worsened by the hallucinogen.
- Hobbies are sacrificed in favor of PCP use.
- Consistently uses PCP in dangerous situations such as driving a motor vehicle.
- Continued PCP use despite knowing that it causes or worsens psychological or physical problems.
- Tolerance: A need for more PCP to feel the same high.
Deciding to Get Help for a Problem with PCP
PCP is so widely used and has effects that are so devastating and long-lasting that a PCP rehabilitation facility is likely to be found in just about every area in the country. PCP rehabilitation centers can be found by searching online, looking through a local phone book or by calling a dedicated drug abuse or addiction helpline. Those who plan to perform a little research on their PCP treatment center before making a commitment might check with their school or work offices, as many employers and educational institutions have some kind of assistance program to direct students or employees into treatment for their addictions. Churches and other religious organizations are another good place to look for help. Many religious organizations have some kind of connection with local communities to help motivate even a reluctant user into a PCP treatment facility before it's too late.
Choosing an Inpatient Facility
Any of the above options are a good place to start looking for help with an addiction to PCP, but if you know a PCP addict or think you might be one yourself, please call 1-888-319-2606 right away. No matter what time of day or day of the week, somebody is going to be on the line to give you advice and point you in the direction of a PCP recovery facility that will aid you in achieving and maintaining sobriety.
Types of PCP Treatment Programs
Every recovery program is different and what works for one person may not work for you or a loved one, which is why it's important to do your research concerning the different types of treatment programs. Below are different options for recovery:
- Inpatient treatment: You will live at the facility for the duration of the treatment while receiving a multitude of services such as, individual therapy, group counseling, mental health services, and aftercare planning. This option is best for those who suffer from a severe addiction as it separates you from your everyday using environment and allows you to focus solely on your recovery.
- Outpatient treatment: If you can't neglect your home, work, or school responsibilities then this option is probably best for you. You can live at home while attending treatment around your schedule. It is not recommended for those with a severe addiction.
- Individual therapy: You will meet one-on-one with a therapist to uncover the underlying reasons for you PCP addiction while developing coping skills to be utilized in stressful situations.
- Group counseling: A mental health professional will facilitate a group therapy session in which patients provide each other with support while sharing experiences associated with PCP use.
- 12-Step programs: Narcotics Anonymous is a fellowship program that welcomes those suffering from any substance addiction. These programs involve giving yourself over to a higher power and accepting powerlessness against your addiction. It is free to join and members encourage and support one another throughout the recovery process.
- Non-12-Step programs: Programs like SMART Recovery and S.O.S. Recovery use a more secular or scientific approach to recovery and utilize evidence-based practices.
Call 1-888-319-2606 to speak to a treatment specialist regarding your PCP recovery options.
. Bey, T., & Patel, A. (2007). Phencyclidine Intoxication and Adverse Effects: A Clinical and Pharmacological Review of an Illicit Drug. The California Journal of Emergency Medicine, 8(1). Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2859735/ . Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5 (Vol. 5). (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association. . Hallucinogens. (2016, January). Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens . Baguley, D. M. (2003). Hyperacusis. Jrsm, 96(12), 582-585. Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC539655/ . Spielewoy, C., & Markou, A. (2002). Withdrawal from Chronic Phencyclidine Treatment Induces Long-Lasting Depression in Brain Reward Function. Neuropsychopharmacology, 28(6).
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