PCP Addiction

Using PCP regularly creates the cycle of addictive drug abuse with PCP. Because of its addictive properties, PCP is one of the more dangerous drugs. Regular use can become like Russian Roulette. The unpredictable effects of PCP create greater risk, with ongoing use, of an overdose or psychotic experience for the user.

How It Begins

PCP may allow the user to feel the relaxing and pleasant “high” produced with low doses, convincing the user that the risks are overstated and exaggerated. This is not the case. Ongoing use may escalate to higher doses, as the user is either too high to make rational determinations about dosage or feels comfortable with the drug and becomes confident that they will not experience a bad trip. However, used frequently enough, most users will experience a bad trip or begin to hallucinate and become delusional. How this is handled may determine whether they will continue into the addiction with PCP. The sharp decline in the popularity of PCP from the late 1980s to somewhere about 2009 is evidence to the fact that nearly every user either experienced these symptoms or was with someone when they did; something that will certainly make most users stop with this drug. Unfortunately, it is regaining popularity with young users and those in lower socio-economic circles.

Who Uses PCP?

Most users are experimenting with this drug. Initially, it was a drug seen primarily on high school campuses. Like most users, high school students are testing the waters, collectively, as peer pressure increases to try new and risky behaviors. The popularity of the drug has dropped significantly in use since the late 1970s and early 1980s. This is primarily due to the high risk of psychotic and out-of-control behaviors seen with use and the unpredictable nature of the high itself. A new trend is those who smoke “wet,” a cigarette or joint dipped into dissolved PCP. This trend is seen primarily in large inner-city school-aged teens.

Why Is PCP So Addictive?

Addiction to PCP is formed after regular, frequent use. As a sedative narcotic, it works in the brain of the user to create a calming, relaxed state that allows them to feel detached from their environment and experiences. This can be a pleasing drug for those who are or have been traumatized and the mentally ill who want to escape from day-to-day reminders (memories) of their trauma and/or those who are experiencing mental illness that is invasive and pervasive. Sadly, continued use is going to increase the risk of the side effects most well-known with PCP, those of hallucinations and delusions that are dangerous to the behavioral patterns and mental health of the user. Many who abuse PCP end up in mental health institutions and/or jail due to behaviors under the influence.

What Happens to an Addict's Brain?

Flooding of brain chemicals that impact the pleasure center of the brain cause a numbing, sedative effect with small doses of PCP. However, the increase of phencyclidine in the brain causes changes to other brain chemicals (N-acetylaspartate and N-acetylaspartylglutamate) that mimic strongly schizophrenia in both rat and human brains. The ongoing use of PCP is going to increase risk for hallucinations, delusions, mania, delirium and disorientation. These conditions can be permanent, and death is a high risk with this drug. Long-term effects common to even one-time users are memory loss, loss of appetite and weight, depression, and loss of learning function. While some damage may be repaired over time, the dangerous effects of PCP are singularly damaging to the brain of the users who continue to abuse PCP regularly. Neurological damage may occur as well, creating a distancing or detached effect for the user who does not recover from the side effects of PCP use.
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