When you hear the word “hallucinate” what comes to mind? Maybe you think of songs like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by the Beatles, which talks about mystical, fantasy lands induced by LSD. Or maybe you even think of things like sleep paralysis, which can cause people to experience dream-like hallucinations while being paralyzed in their bed. Hallucinations can stem from many places, but are there drugs that make you hallucinate? Can hallucinations impact you in reality?
Here at Pinnacle Peak, we believe in making sure people are educated about substance use and its side effects. Having a better grasp on how they can impact you, positively and negatively, can help you make more informed decisions about your health and well-being in the future. Today we’re going to look at hallucinating, how it happens, and how it can impact you.
Common Drugs That Cause Hallucinations
When you partake in certain drugs, they can impact your brain in different ways. Not all substances can lead to hallucinations, but many can in the right circumstances. For example, hallucinations are not a common side effect of being drunk, but they can happen when experiencing alcohol withdrawal.
Some other common substances that can lead to hallucinations include:
What Causes the Brain to Start Hallucinating?
Knowing the source of hallucinations can be helpful, especially if you start experiencing them when you didn’t intend to. What exactly causes hallucinations, though?
Substances cause hallucinations primarily because of sudden, temporary changes in the brain’s ability to function normally. Because most substances will alter different parts of the brain and its normal processes, hallucinations aren’t an uncommon side effect.
One other thing that’s important to note is that you can experience hallucinations even when not taking a substance. Hallucinations can occur anytime there is a change in your brain’s activity. Things like depression, anxiety, migraines, high stress, lack of sleep or sleep disorders, dementia, and even seizures can trigger hallucinations. If you are susceptible to any of these and you’re taking illicit substances or alcohol, it might increase your chances of experiencing hallucinations.
How Long Do Hallucinations Last?
Hallucinations don’t always last forever. If you’re partaking in a substance, you might experience hallucinations until it’s out of your system. When going through withdrawal from things like alcohol, they might occur sporadically, or even not at all.
Ultimately, there is no set way to determine how long someone might experience a hallucination.
Is Hallucinating Considered a Drug Use Side Effect?
A side effect is typically referred to as a secondary, or additional effect that occurs because of a substance or medication you took. Normally it’s also an undesirable effect of the substance or medication.
Some people may partake in specific substances like LSD because they want to experience hallucinations. In this case, you may not classify it as a side effect because it’s the goal you intended to reach. When it occurs because of withdrawal, or it occurs without you knowing it was going to happen, then it’s normally considered to be a side effect of substance use.
What Should You Do if You’re Hallucinating?
If you think you or a loved one may be hallucinating, there are things you can do to help. It’s important to note that the things a person experiences while hallucinating feel real to them. While not all hallucinations are inherently bad or scary, some of them can be.
If you think you are hallucinating, try to focus on things you know are unchanging in your environment around you. This can mean focusing on the floor or ceiling for a bit, touching the floor with your hands, or even gently patting yourself to get an idea of what is genuine at the moment. If you are able to, try and stay calm. Hallucinations don’t last forever, and they will pass. If you have a loved one around who can help ground you in reality, ask for help from them.
If your loved one is experiencing hallucinations, there are a few things to keep in mind. The most important one is not to discredit what their current reality is, especially if it’s frightening. Ask them what they’re experiencing and calmly inform them of what you’re experiencing. Reassure them that you’re there to help, and ask if it’s okay to take them somewhere else. Sometimes leaving the environment the hallucinations started in can be beneficial.
Types of Hallucinations Caused by Drug Use
Hallucinations don’t just come in one set form. They can affect all five of the senses or only one of them. Each type of hallucination has a different name depending on which sense it’s impacting. Let’s look at them.
- Auditory hallucinations: When you hear something that isn’t there.
- Visual hallucinations: When you see something that isn’t real or isn’t actually there.
- Olfactory hallucinations: When you smell something that isn’t there.
- Gustatory hallucinations: When you taste something that you didn’t eat.
- Tactile hallucinations: When you feel something on you or touching you that isn’t actually there.
When you’re hallucinating, you could experience any combination of these types of hallucinations.
The Dangers of Hallucinations
Hallucinations in and of themselves aren’t inherently dangerous because they’re not real. However, the mental impact of experiencing hallucinations, as well as the other side effects that can come from the substances being taken are very real.
Sometimes, hallucinations can contribute to delusions. While a hallucination is when you perceive something that isn’t real, a delusion is when you believe something that isn’t real. It’s not uncommon for these two to go hand in hand. Delusions can become more tricky than hallucinations as people might start to believe that those around them are lying, or that the hallucinations they’re experiencing have a deeper meaning.
In some cases, people who are experiencing hallucinations might become paranoid or aggressive. This can be especially true if their hallucinations are threatening in nature, so instead of experiencing a fear reaction, they decide to try and fight. This can result in them hurting themselves or hurting those around them.
Getting Treatment for Hallucinations Caused by Substance Use Disorder
One way to help ensure that you are able to manage or stop experiencing hallucinations entirely is by receiving treatment for substance use and mental health. In the case of substance use, reducing or stopping it entirely can help reduce or stop hallucinations that were occurring regularly otherwise.
Here at Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we want to help you reach all of your healing goals. By equipping you with the skills you need to address substance use and mental health, you’ll be able to better avoid and manage hallucinations if they occur in the future.
In order to help you achieve your recovery goals, we offer a full continuum of care. This includes everything from drug detox to inpatient care and outpatient care as well. We believe in treating the whole person by addressing both substance use and mental health when it’s needed. If you only address one and not the other, it can often lead to someone not being able to continue their recovery journey once they leave a treatment facility.
As stated earlier, hallucinations aren’t always tied to substance use. By having the knowledge of hallucinations, your own triggers, your mental health, and what steps to take to help yourself, you can rest assured that you will be able to handle them if they do occur again.
If you would like to learn more about our substance use and mental health treatment programs, feel free to give us a call at 866-377-4761. Our team here at Pinnacle Peak is ready to assist you whenever you need it.
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FAQs About Drugs That Cause Hallucination
What drugs cause you to hallucinate?
The most common drugs that can cause hallucinations are cocaine, heroin, LSD, ketamine, and even alcohol and marijuana.
Is hallucinating a mental disorder?
Hallucinations are a side effect, not a mental disorder within themselves. Although, many mental illnesses can have the side effect of hallucinating.
What conditions are present when hallucinating from drug use?
Hallucinations are caused by changes in the brain. Many substances alter the brain’s functionality, which can contribute to hallucinations.