Dissociative drugs are a classification of hallucinogenic drugs which distort a user’s perceptions of sight and sound. The effect of these drugs causes the user to feel detached or a ‘dissociation’ from their mind and body. While for some, this experience can sound like an exciting way to view their world in a different lens, it does not come without its risks.
How do dissociative drugs work?
Some dissociative drugs started off as general anesthetics such as PCP (phencyclidine) and Ketamine to be used during surgery but are now commonly used as party drugs. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), these drugs “ cause their effects by disrupting the actions of the brain chemical glutamate at certain types of receptors—called N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors—on nerve cells throughout the brain.” Glutamate is a critical chemical which is responsible for cognition (such as learning and memory), emotion, and perceptions of pain (which explains its use as a surgical anesthetic).
What are the effects of dissociative drugs
Dissociative drugs can have varying effects on people and everyone’s experience seems to be different. However, generally, users can expect to experience:
- Memory loss
- Impaired motor function
- Body tremors
In addition, individuals who take lower doses may experience:
- Changes in sensory perceptions (sight, sound, shapes)
- Feelings of detachment
- Increase in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and body temperature
Those who take high doses of dissociative drugs may further experience:
- Physical distress
- Extreme paranoia, panic, fear, anxiety, aggression
- Overdose when mixed with other depressants such as alcohol
Dissociative drugs FAQ
What will I feel when taking a dissociative drug?
It is extremely difficult to accurately determine how individuals will react to dissociatives because everyone’s experience is different. While most people will feel a general sense of detachment, some will experience a more intense hallucinogenic effect whereas others may only feel a euphoric high.
What are the long-term effects of dissociative drugs?
Some long term effects of dissociative drugs such as PCP can be speech difficulties, memory loss, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and social withdrawal.
What is a ‘k hole’?
A k-hole is the name given to the dissociative and hallucinogenic effects felt when taking high doses of Ketamine. People have described a k-hole as being an immensely powerful out of body experience and as if they felt physically separated from their body. This feeling can be desirable for some but carries a lot of the negative effects as discussed above.
Are dissociative drugs illegal?
The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has a classification system it uses to ‘schedule’ certain drugs into tiers. If a substance falls under one of the DEA categories, it is a controlled substance. Most dissociative and hallucinogenic drugs are classified under this system. For example, DMT is a schedule I drug which means it has no accepted medical uses and a high risk for abuse. Its categorization makes DMT illegal. Likewise PCP falls under the schedule 2 drug category.
What is Mescaline?
Mescaline is a naturally occuring hallucinogenic drug which is known to have similar effects to that of LSD and psilocybin. It is the main psychoactive ingredient found in the peyote cactus which is another popular hallucinogenic drug.
What is the difference between dissociative and hallucinogenic drugs?
Essentially, hallucinogens are also known as psychedelics and only cause visual, auditory and sensory hallucinations. Popular hallucinogenic drugs include LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and peyote. Dissociative drugs will cause a sense of detachment from your body along with hallucinations. PCP, Ketamine, and DXM are the most popular dissociative drugs.
What is HPPD?
Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) is essentially a never ending ‘trip.’ Medical science still has not come to a conclusion about why this occurs and what the mechanics of this is. However, some people report using a hallucinogenic drug once and never fully recovering from its effects.
Dealing with dissociative drug addiction can be a major issue. This category of drugs provides an easy escape from reality and some people may begin to rely on it just to get through their day. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.