Hallucinogens: Health Risks, Effects, and Statistics

Hallucinogens alter a user’s perception, thoughts, and feelings. As their name would imply, the primary effect of hallucinogens are hallucinations that seem as if they are occurring in real life. The hallucinogenic effects of the drugs are thought to be caused by a temporary disruption between the brain’s chemical systems and a person’s spinal cord.

There are three main classes of hallucinogens: psychedelics such as LSD or PCP, Dissociatives such as ketamine or nitrous oxide, as well as deliriants such as certain over the counter medications. The most common category of hallucinogens are psychedelics. The effects of psychedelics can begin within 20 minutes and can last up to 12 hours.

Health Risks

LSD can limit the user’s ability to make sensible judgments which can often put them in harm’s way. High doses of PCP have been known to causes seizures, coma, and death. During PCP intoxication there is also a serious risk of bodily injury, dismemberment, and death due to the hallucinogenic effects of the drug. Psilocybin (mushroom) user’s risk poisoning and possible death due to ingesting the wrong type of mushroom.

Short Term Effects

  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Intensified feelings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Paranoia

Long Term Effects

  • Speech problems
  • Memory loss
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts


  • A 2013 survey reported that nearly 300,000 people in the United States were currently using PCP and LSD.
  • Almost 17 percent of all adults aged 26 and older reported using hallucinogens at some point during their lifetime.
  • According to one survey, it is believed that about 7% of high school students will use hallucinogens by the time they graduate.


Inpatient rehabilitation is the best choice in most cases for treatment. Patients will go through a period of detoxification as well as counseling to give recovering users the best chance of successful rehabilitation.

Detoxification can be a difficult process where the patient will experience significant withdrawal. At Recovery Coast, our trained professionals with over 30 years of experience will do everything in our power to make sure that you or your loved one is as safe and comfortable as possible.