What is PCP?
The drug phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP, is a powerful dissociative sedative drug. It was initially developed in the 1920s, and by the middle of the century, doctors were using it as a surgical anesthetic. As the drug gained popularity in the medical community, many began to discover the drug produced unwanted side effects and psychotic reactions. As a result, in 1965, the use of the drug was discontinued by doctors. Today, only a small amount of the drug is manufactured legally for research purposes. Most of it is made illegally and sold on the streets.
At its purest form, PCP is a white crystalline powder. That said, it can be sold on the streets in a few different forms. Because it is soluble in water or alcohol, it may be found in a liquid form. In addition, some people mix it with dyes to make an enticing, colorful powder. On the streets, the powder may be wrapped and sold in metallic foil. Sometimes it is also sold as a tablet or capsule.
Individuals using this drug may add it to tobacco, marijuana, or other leafy material and smoke it. It can also be snorted, injected, or swallowed. PCP street names include angel dust, rocket fuel, supergrass, DOA, peace pill, whack, hog, letha weapon, kools, ozone, and happy sticks.
What are the effects of PCP?
PCP is classified as a dissociative sedative drug. Like other drugs in this category, such as ketamine, it can make a person feel very relaxed and detached from their body. Using the drug has both long and short-term effects, some of which are very dangerous.
It’s important to note that because most of this drug is manufactured illegally, you can’t be sure what you are getting when you buy it on the streets. As a result, even a single dose can put your life in jeopardy.
Short-term effects of PCP
People who smoke PCP may feel the high in as little as a couple minutes. Swallowing the drug takes a little bit longer (usually under an hour).
When taken in small doses, this drug can have effects similar to alcohol intoxication. One may feel very relaxed, disoriented, and experience numbness in their extremities. In addition, a person may lose motor coordination, slur speech, and engage in strange or erratic behaviors.
When a person takes a higher dose or combines it with other central nervous system depressants, like alcohol or Xanax, the effects can be more severe. This can include seeing or hearing things that are not present (hallucinations), delusions of grandeur, exaggerated strength, and aggression. One can also experience paranoia, anxiety, extreme panic, or fear as a result of taking the drug.
Higher doses can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an overdose can lead to seizures, convulsions, respiratory arrest, amnesia, a coma, or even death. Using it with other drugs increases the risk of dangerous side effects.
Long-term effects of PCP
Frequent users may face debilitating long-term effects including:
- Memory loss
- Trouble speaking
- Severe depression
- Anxiety or panic
- Social withdrawal
- Suicidal thoughts
Long-term users may also put themselves at risk by engaging in dangerous or risky behaviors. Because the drug creates a sense of euphoria leading them to believe they are invincible, their actions may cause serious injury or legal consequences. Sadly, some individuals don’t even remember what caused their injury or how they ended up in jail.
Is PCP addictive?
Like many mind-altering drugs, repeated use of PCP can lead to psychological and physical dependence. Those who stop taking the drug may experience withdrawal symptoms like extreme cravings, headaches, and sweating.
What makes it addictive? As with many substances and even behaviors, the temporary high hijacks your brain’s reward system. In time, ordinary activities like hobbies or spending time with friends and family no longer become pleasurable. As a result, you begin to rely on drugs for enjoyment. This sets up a vicious cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. You continually think about the next time you can obtain and use the drug. Then, when you finally get it, you use it almost without thinking. After the high wears off, the obsessive thoughts start again. Soon your whole life begins spinning out of control, and your pursuit of the drug destroys your career, relationships, and well-being.
Breaking the cycle is not always easy, especially for long-term users. They may go a short time abstaining from the drug. Then, as life’s challenges overwhelm them, they may retreat to old patterns of addictive behaviors. Instead of seeking help, they deny having a problem despite the fact the world is collapsing around them. Many people have been in this exact situation. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Drugs are powerful. Addiction is a complex mental health condition. Getting professional help is the best way to successfully break the vicious cycle of addiction.
What are the PCP abuse signs and symptoms?
Are you worried about your own drug use? Maybe a loved one’s life is slowly starting to unravel, and you suspect drugs may be the cause. How can you tell that there is an issue? What signs should you look for?
When someone abuses PCP there are certain tell-tale signs that can confirm your suspicions. If you suspect a loved one is using this drug, you may see some of the following signs:
- Strange, erratic behaviors and disordered thinking
- Brief periods of a person experiencing euphoria or acting invincible
- Not reacting to painful stimuli
- Periods of disorientation or feeling “out of it”
- Nausea or vomiting
- Strange movements of the eyelids
- Noticing white or strange colored powders around the house
In addition, those abusing the drug for long periods of time can experience:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Using drug terminology and nicknames in everyday conversations
- Periods of psychotic behavior
These signs are common with PCP abuse, but there are also other symptoms associated with most forms of addiction. If you notice any of these addiction symptoms, it may be time to consider getting help for you or a loved one. What should you look for?
- Change in sleeping habits
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Associating with a new peer group
- Losing interest in leisure activities that were once enjoyable
- Disappearing for extended periods of time
- Trouble with finances
- Missing school, work, or other personal obligations
- Using more of the drug or other drugs to get the desired effect
- Experiencing anxiety or depression when not using
- Engaging in high-risk behaviors while high or obtaining drugs
- Deteriorating personal relationships
- Feeling helpless or powerless when trying to make positive life changes
Addiction has a profound impact on a person’s life. Sadly, without the proper interventions, a person will continue slipping into a downward spiral until their life, health, and relationships are all but destroyed.
You don’t need to be another statistic. In fact, you can start the process of recovery today.
How is PCP addiction treated?
Unfortunately, there is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating PCP addiction. It often requires a complete overhaul of the way one thinks, behaves, and interacts with their environment. Since addiction is a complex mental health condition stemming from a variety of causes, the first step of effective treatment is building a relationship with your primary therapist and treatment team.
Using assessments, listening to your story, and getting input from loved ones gives the treatment team a better understanding of the root causes of your drug use. Then the team sets up an individual treatment plan using your strengths to confront your personal struggles. This often involves a multi-dimensional approach using a variety of therapies.
The cornerstone of addiction treatment is psychotherapy--sometimes known as “talk therapy”. This involves building a therapeutic relationship with your primary counselor and using evidence-based methods like cognitive behavior therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy. Together, you discuss your story, personal struggles, and triggers for using drugs. Then you and your therapist make goals for your path to sobriety. At first, the goals are simple. For example, you may be asked to name three coping strategies when you feel drug cravings. As you accomplish these initial goals, you start to feel more successful and motivated in treatment. This newfound inspiration helps to tackle some of your more difficult issues.
Psychotherapy is often complimented with other therapies. These therapies help you address all aspects of your life. Commonly known as holistic therapy, this involves treating you as a whole person instead of a diagnosis or set of symptoms. In many cases, the multidisciplinary team will introduce different therapies into your treatment to see what resonates with you. This can include adventure therapy, yoga, meditation, anger management, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), among others.
Holistic therapies help you gain valuable life skills as well as stay engaged in treatment. Remember, the more motivated you stay during treatment, the better chance you have for successfully overcoming your addiction.
Is PCP rehab available in Arizona?
Do you live in the Phoenix, Arizona area? Are you ready to once again take control of your life? Located in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona, Pinnacle Peak Recovery offers a full range of addiction treatment services.
Why choose Pinnacle Peak Recovery? We believe that recovering from addiction is a process. No matter what you’ve been through, what you’ve done, or how hopeless you feel, we are ready to help. We take the time to get to know you. We want to hear what you’ve been through, not to judge you or make you feel worse. We want to make sure you get the best care possible to help you regain control of your life.
Our licensed therapists stay up to date on the most effective PCP addiction treatment methods. They use this knowledge to create engaging, individualized plans that motivate and challenge you to make lasting change in your life. Our holistic therapy program offers many opportunities to learn and grow, including exciting outdoor opportunities in the beautiful Arizona landscape.
Not from Arizona? Pinnacle Peak Recovery helps people from all over the country. Some find the breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert to be an inspiration for change. Others know they need a temporary respite from the stressors and triggers of their local area. Sometimes simply getting away is a catalyst for change. Whatever the reason, Pinnacle Peak Recovery is ready to help you. We offer many amenities in a luxury environment that help to ensure your comfort while you face your challenges.
Our full continuum of care will help you during every step of your recovery. From managing your withdrawal symptoms to accessing aftercare services when times get tough, you have a trusted ally dedicated to keeping you sober. We know drug addiction has many underlying causes, so we also offer dual diagnosis treatment if you suffer from mental health issues like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Are you ready to get help with your PCP addiction?
Unfortunately, addiction doesn’t magically clear up on its own. In fact, it is a progressive disease that only gets worse if you don’t get help. You probably have many reasons why you shouldn’t get treatment. Sadly, this is the addiction talking. It’s taking your life, relationships, and career.
Are you ready for change? Even if you are a little scared or reluctant, making a simple call can help you learn more about addiction and what services are available. Sometimes even sharing your story with a caring individual can help you realize just how much drugs are affecting your life.
Ready for help? Need someone to talk to? Call us today at 866-954-0524. It’s the first step in securing a brighter future.