PCP is a hallucinogenic and dissociative drug that makes you feel detached from the world and from those around you. If you’re suffering from an addiction, these effects can make it even more difficult to ask for help. Perhaps you’ve tried quitting the drug alone, and it’s been too difficult.
No matter your current situation, we have a wealth of help and PCP information that will help you take those first steps on the road to recovery. PCP addiction does not define you, and here at 12 Keys Rehab, we want to provide you with the PCP facts that can help you move forward.
PCP, or properly known as Phencyclidine, is a white crystalline powder that’s soluble in alcohol and water. The bitter-tasting drug derives the acronym PCP, from its organic name, 1-(1-phenylcyclohexyl) piperidine.
The history of PCP makes for some interesting reading. First developed in the ‘50s (though it was first discovered in 1926), doctors used the drug as a general intravenous anesthetic during surgery.
However, doctors discontinued its use on humans in 1965 due to its serious side effects, which included irrational behavior, agitation and delusions. Veterinarians continued to use it for a time, but have since backed away as well. The drug is now illegal throughout the US.
PCP comes in various forms, including colored powders, capsules, tablets and liquid. Because of this versatility, users ingest the drug in several different ways — smoking, via injection, inhalation, or by mouth. Commonly transported in small foil wraps, most street PCP is brown or tan in color, and can even be gummy in consistency.
When mixed with marijuana, the drug is commonly referred to as Killer Joints and Supergrass.
It’s important to note that it’s easy for many drug users to unknowingly expose themselves to PCP, as it’s often added to methamphetamine, LSD and marijuana to save on production costs.
History of PCP
First discovered in 1926, the pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis marketed PCP in the 1950s as an anesthetic. Physicians soon stopped using the drug because of its severe side effects, which can include frightening hallucinations, disorientation and delirium, and mania. By 1965 the drug was no longer available to physicians but it stayed on the market as a veterinary anesthetic. Eventually even veterinarians turned away from the drug.
As the 1960s counterculture movement progressed, PCP began appearing on the street as a recreational drug. Over the next decade fears about the dangerous effects of PCP attracted attention from the media. Even during the heyday of PCP, recreational use was low when compared to other psychedelic drugs such as LSD or magic mushrooms.
What is PCP Like?
When users initially take this drug, they discover that they feel powerful, strong, and invulnerable. It’s likely they also experience feelings of euphoria, as well as enhanced social and sexual prowess. However, after a while, these feelings change, and they’ll then feel distant, detached and estranged from the world around them.
Users often refer to the sedating effects of PCP as being trance-like, and as though they are observing themselves from outside and above their own bodies.
Key Statistics About PCP Abuse and Addiction
Although PCP is less prevalent than it was 20 years ago, there are still many people who are currently battling an addiction to it. The facts about PCP abuse are sobering.
According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:
- The average age for the first use of PCP in people aged between 12 and 49 was 17.1 years.
- 32,000 people over the age of 12 tried PCP in 2013
The 2013 Dawn Report by SAMHSA tells us that:
- Between 2005 and 2011, PCP-related ER visits increased by 400 percent
- Of these PCP-related ER visits, the largest increase was seen among people between the ages of 25 and 34
- Approximately two thirds of PCP-related ER visits in the year 2011 were made by males
Why do so Many People Turn to PCP?
The reasons why you may turn to PCP are vast. Perhaps you’ve felt bound to try the drug through peer pressure. Maybe you have a close relative who is using, and you’ve decided to try the drug out for yourself. If you have a first-degree relative who abuses drugs, you’re more likely to start to do so yourself.
Perhaps you’ve been on a night out, took the drug, and enjoyed its effects. Or maybe you’ve been self-medicating for some other problem or medical condition that's been making you feel bad.
Whatever your reasons for taking PCP, you can stop with professional help.
Who Typically Abuses PCP?
Anyone from any walk of life can abuse PCP. However, assessing the statistics we spoke about earlier, males seem to be a more predominant user of the drug. In addition, there is a higher rate of lifetime hallucinogen use in whites than there is in Hispanics and blacks. The National Institutes on Drug Abuse reports that the majority of hallucinogen users are middle class, young and live in the suburbs.
How is PCP Typically Used?
Users can take PCP in many different ways. The most common way is to smoke the drug. Some users spray or sprinkle PCP powder onto leafy material, like parsley leaves, tobacco, marijuana, mint or oregano in order to smoke it.
Another way to smoke the drug is to dip a cigarette into the pure form of PCP, which is a yellow oil. This way of taking the drug is called “getting wet.”
It is also possible to snort the powdered form of PCP, and take the drug orally through capsules and tablets.
What Does PCP do to the Brain?
PCP is a very dangerous Schedule II drug, as it distorts your entire perception of reality. The substance causes hallucinations where you could potentially see images, feel sensations and hear sounds that aren’t really there.
PCP does this by disrupting the interaction of the neurotransmitter serotonin and your nerve cells. Distributed throughout your spinal cord and brain, your serotonin system is involved in the control of perceptual, behavioral and regulatory systems, including hunger, mood, body temperature, muscle control, sexual behavior and sensory perception.
As PCP is a dissociative drug, it causes you to feel separated from both your surroundings and your body. In addition, PCP may make you feel:
- Less inhibited and more joyful, almost as though you are drunk
- As though you are floating
- Disconnected from reality
- Unafraid of anything
- That you can think incredibly clearly
- That you have superhuman strength
The speed at which you feel the effects of PCP are dependent on its mode of delivery:
- Swallowing — If you take the drug either in the form of a pill, or mixed with food or drinks, its effects usually start within 30 minutes, and peak between two to five hours.
- Shooting up — If taken intravenously, PCPs effects begin within a few minutes, peaking quickly.
- Smoking — If you smoke PCP, the effects of the drug begin within two to five minutes, and peak around 15 to 30 minutes afterwards.
Do People Become Addicted to PCP?
It’s very easy to become addicted to the drug, and users often report problems like cravings and compulsive behavior, as well as psychological effects such as dependence. Moreover, when you stop repeated use of PCP, you typically experience withdrawal symptoms that include sweating, headaches and drug cravings. The fact that the drug is so addictive increases the negative consequences associated with taking it.
If you’ve been taking PCP, and feel your problem has spiraled out of control, it’s time to take action now.
What are the Signs of a PCP Addiction?
If you’re worried that someone close to you has a PCP addiction, there are a number of signs and psychological effects unique to PCP that could back up your theory. PCP is an incredibly dangerous drug that can lead to users becoming violent towards others and themselves. It’s therefore incredibly important that you seek an intervention for PCP use.
The top ten signs that someone is abusing PCP are:
- They stay at one spot for hours on end.
- They’re extremely sensitive to sound.
- Their pupils are dilated.
- They’ve developed a temporary speech impediment. In some cases, this may still occur even when they aren’t on the drug.
- They’re hearing and seeing things that aren’t there.
- Their eyes keep rolling back into their head.
- They’re off balance, and can’t walk without falling.
- They have blurred vision.
- They’re having irrational and uncontrollable behavioral outbursts for no distinguishable reason.
- They constantly stare into space, in a stupor state.
Of course, if someone is exhibiting one or two of these signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re on PCP. However, if they’re exhibiting many of these signs, then the likelihood of them being on the drug is far higher.
What are the Symptoms of a PCP Addiction?
There are many symptoms associated with PCP, and many of these are dangerous. They include:
- Uncontrollable eye movements
- Fast heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Loss of control over physical movements
- Increased sensitivity to sound frequencies
- Rigid muscles
- High body temperature
PCP intoxication can potentially last for hours and even days if you take the drug along with other substances, which makes its effects even more dangerous.
What is a PCP Addiction Like?
Living with a PCP addiction is incredibly difficult. You may very well be desperate to seek help for your problem. However, you may have already exhausted all of what you likely believe as your potential sources of help. Through your mood swings and intense anger brought on by addiction, you may have alienated many of the people closest to you.
You’ll also spend a great deal of your time only focusing on your need for PCP. Because of this, you’ll fail to fulfill your responsibilities to the best of your abilities — if at all. Moreover, you'll have given up many of the pastimes and activities that once were important to you. You’ll find that you feel terrible all the time, that is, until you get your fix of the drug.
You probably have a completely new set of “friends” too — the ones you use drugs with. You’ll find that through spending so much time with these new PCP buddies, your original friends will no longer be a part of your social circle.
There are many negative effects of long-term PCP addiction, including:
- Darting eye movements
- Feeling numb
- Loss of coordination
- Inability to feel pain
- Auditory hallucination
- Feelings of invincibility
- Wanting to self-harm
- Memory loss
- Lacking rational judgment
- Memory loss
- Sense of impending doom
- Extreme aggression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Brain damage
- Extreme violence
Through becoming addicted to PCP, you’ll find that your life has all but fallen apart, or is on the road to destruction. To get help now, call the team at 12 Keys Rehab. We’re here for you 24/7, whenever you need us.
Warning Signs of PCP Overdose
Over time, you can develop a real tolerance for PCP. When this happens, you’ll need to take larger doses of the drug in order to get the same effects. This is very dangerous, as PCP can have some very shocking effects when taken in high doses.
Symptoms of a PCP overdose include:
- Respiratory distress
- High blood pressure
- Faster heartbeat
- Shallow breathing
- Blurred vision
- Stiff muscles
- Elevated body temperature
- Irregular heartbeat
If you, or someone you know is suffering from a suspected PCP overdose, you need to call 911 immediately. Overdosing on the drug is a real warning sign that your drug addiction is out of control, and that you need to seek immediate help.
Does a PCP Addiction Cause any Permanent Damage?
According to information from the National Drug Intelligence Center, PCP is particularly dangerous to younger people. Even moderate use can have a negative impact on the hormones associated with normal development and growth. It’s also known that PCP can impede a teenager’s learning process.
Taken in high doses, PCP can cause psychosis, seizures, coma, and even death — which often comes as a consequence of accidentally injuring or purposefully killing oneself while on the drug. At high doses, the effects of PCP can closely resemble schizophrenia symptoms, and users who experience prolonged psychosis can eventually develop the mental health condition.
PCP is stored within the fat tissue of your body, which makes it entirely possible to experience aftershocks from anywhere up to a year after stopping the drug. These aftershocks are like physical flashbacks. They make you feel as though you’re under the influence of the drug, even though you are no longer taking it.
In addition to all these issues, if you’re a long-term PCP user, you can suffer from memory loss, difficulty thinking and speaking, weight loss and depression. Even when you stop using the drug, these symptoms can persist for as long as a year.
PCP intoxication can last for many hours, and possibly even days when combined with other drugs or substances.
Liver and Other Organ Damage from PCP
Long-term use of the drug can lead to liver function abnormalities. It can also put you at risk of having small strokes that, in turn, can damage your brain.
If you overdose on PCP, you’re putting not only yourself, but also those around you in danger. You see, too much PCP reduces the reasoning skills you’d use to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Because of this, many PCP users have harmed those they love, as well as themselves.
Huge doses of PCP also significantly increase your risk of heart attacks, respiratory depression (impaired ability to breathe), renal (kidney) failure and seizures. Again, you further compound these risks if you’re taking other drugs along with PCP.
If you’re worried about anything you’ve read so far and feel that it could apply to you or to someone you know, it’s time to seek help now.
How Long Does it Take to Withdraw from PCP?
The length of time it takes to withdraw from PCP varies from person to person. Various factors directly influence how long PCP will remain in your system, such as:
- The severity of your addiction
- The length of time you’ve been using
- The amount of the drug you’ve been taking
- The purity of the PCP you’ve been using
- The withdrawal modality of administration
It’s also influenced by your health, metabolism and whether or not you’ve been taking PCP alongside other drugs.
Since all of these factors add up to a complex picture, it’s virtually impossible to definitively predict an exact timeframe for PCP to clear from your system.
What are the Stages of PCP Withdrawal?
The most important thing to remember about withdrawing from PCP is that due to the high risk of extreme depression associated with the process, it’s important to detox with the help of professionals.
Further, when you stop using PCP, the physical withdrawal can be frightening when you’re facing it alone. Usually, withdrawal symptoms begin within the first day following last use, and can last as long as three months, depending on how heavily your use of PCP has been.
During PCP withdrawal, it’s likely that you’ll suffer from the following:
- Poor memory
- Excessive sleepiness
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
As you can see, these withdrawal symptoms are by no means anything you can ignore. However, with the right professional and non-judgmental help, you can get through them, learn to manage your cravings and begin your new, drug-free life.
How Can I Help a Loved One Recover From PCP Addiction?
When your loved one is addicted to PCP, life can be very difficult. Due to the side effects of the drug, they may have become someone you don’t know anymore. You might not even recognize them, as their life has become a never-ending cycle of lies and excuses. You could even be thinking about having an intervention for their PCP addiction.
If you’re worried about your loved one and wondering if they are truly addicted, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself:
- Are they taking large amounts of PCP?
- Is your loved one spending a lot of time obtaining, using or recovering from the drug?
- Do they want to cut down on the drug, but just can’t?
- Are they experiencing cravings?
- Is your loved one unable to manage their work, school, or home responsibilities due to their drug use?
- Are they continuing their drug use even though it’s affecting their relationships?
- Has your loved one stopped doing anything they once enjoyed in order to concentrate on their drug use?
- Are they continuing to use drugs repeatedly, even though they’re putting themselves in danger?
- Does your loved one need to take more PCP to get the desired effect?
- Do they sometimes suffer from withdrawal symptoms that are relieved by taking more PCP?
If you can answer yes to some or all of these questions, it’s likely that your friend or loved one has a problem with PCP. They could even have an addiction. Addictions can affect anyone, of any age, from any walk of life — and there’s nothing to be ashamed about.
One thing that’s for certain though, is that you can’t “fix” an addiction by yourself. It’s important to speak to your loved one, and to gently urge them to read this PCP addiction page.
Prolonged and repeated drug use changes your brain, and when this happens, it can be even more difficult to stop using. Your once dependable loved one will no longer be that way. When PCP addiction takes over their life, it brings with it a whole host of problems, that won’t just go away. If you’re worried about what your friend or family member is going through right now, it’s time to take control.
In order for them to be free from the cycle of addiction, they need to radically change their lifestyle. It’s likely by now that they’ve lost all their old friends, having replaced them with new ones who are involved in their PCP habit.
With your help, and the help of professionals, they can get their life back on track, ridding themselves of these unhealthy relationships that contribute to their drug use. They can also find new interests that matter and that capture their imagination and soul — more than PCP ever could.
Here at 12 Keys Rehab, we understand what it is like for your loved one to struggle with addiction. Many on our team of highly qualified and professional specialists are in successful recovery from their own addictions, and are dedicated to helping your loved one get clean.
Starting with detox, we’ll help and support your loved one every step of the way. Using various different types of therapy to help your loved one get in touch with their emotions and understand addiction, their entire being will be healed.
With a personalized treatment plan that fits all their needs, we work with your loved one to offer them the best possible chance at getting healthy. We make it possible for your loved one to find that missing happiness and enjoyment in life again.
What Types of Co-Occurring Disorders Exist With PCP
Often, when you’re struggling with a PCP addiction, you are also be dealing with a mental health issue. For example, you may have started taking the drug because you felt depressed, and now find that your depression is worsening as the drug overtakes your life.
You may not even know what came first - your mental health issues or your addiction. This is very common and treatable. When you’re suffering from a mental health issue as well as an addiction, it’s called “co-occurrence,” or “dual diagnosis.”
PCP abuse and addiction most commonly occurs with a number of different disorders, including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Other substance abuse
PCP is known to produce a syndrome that’s similar to schizophrenia in people who often have no history whatsoever of psychotic illnesses. If you already have a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia, as well as a history of PCP abuse, the drug can worsen your symptoms.
Through taking an oral dose of 5mg or 10mg, you may find that you experience catatonia, paranoid delusions, audiovisual hallucinations, agitation, and psychosis.
Here at 12 Keys Rehab, we have the knowledge and expertise to treat you if you are suffering with a dual diagnosis. This common, yet complex issue can be identified and treated by our addiction specialists alongside your PCP addiction. As the symptoms of PCP addiction and mental health issues can often overlap, it’s important to detox with our help first.
If you’re concerned that you may be suffering from co-occurring disorders, then it’s important to get help now.
Dangers of Quitting PCP Without Assistance
If you’re thinking of quitting PCP — or any drug for that matter, it’s imperative that you do so under the care of professionals. PCP is responsible for a whole host of negative and very frightening side effects — such as psychosis, strange behavior, and crippling depression that can often lead to thoughts of suicide.
It’s also common to feel anxious, restless, irritable, and to suffer from sleep and thought disturbances when trying to quit PCP. Some chronic abusers also experience prolonged psychosis that may eventually lead them to develop true schizophrenia.
For these reasons, seeking professional help is the only safe way to quit abusing PCP.
How Do You Safely Detox From PCP
As stated previously, the only safe way to get PCP out of your system is to do so under the care of experienced treatment center staff. Taking those first steps and asking for help can be very difficult, especially if you’ve been trying to hide your addiction from those around you. However, once you do so, you’ll have taken the most important step in your journey towards a drug-free future.
No longer being at the mercy of your addiction is a wonderful feeling, and one that you will be thankful for every single day for the rest of your life.
Detoxing under professional supervision is far safer than going it alone, and you'll also have a reduced risk of relapse. Our staff at 12 Keys Rehab, will equip you with all the tools, and knowledge you need to rid yourself of PCP and to quit your habit forever.
Of course, you will have a lot of hard work to do. Nevertheless, with our support and guidance, you’ll be able to radically change your lifestyle. It’s likely that you’ve amassed a group of new friends who share the same drug habits as you, and that your relationships with them are therefore unhealthy. We will support you in building bridges with former friends (those who won’t enable your drug use) and family who’ve been alienated by your PCP addiction and subsequent behaviors. We will also support you in finding new interests, and completely changing your life.
How is a PCP Addiction Treated?
Your friend or loved one may be worried about how others will see them once they find out they’ve been suffering from a PCP abuse problem. This is completely natural and understandable. However, it’s important to remember that it’s the responsibility of all health care providers to keep personal information confidential and private, unless they have the express permission of their client.
When you enter into treatment for PCP addiction, everyone at our facility will treat you with respect and as an individual. Everyone entering treatment for a PCP use disorder, or indeed one involving any drug, is unique and valued. Together with our supportive staff here at 12 Keys Rehab, you’ll get back on the right track to health and happiness.
There are a number of helpful therapies available to you, including group therapies, which will allow you to become engaged in your PCP addiction treatment process and change any destructive behaviors and attitudes that relate to your PCP use.
You may have tried and failed to quit PCP before, either by yourself, or with the help of a PCP drug treatment center. Just because it didn’t work that time, doesn’t mean that you will fail now. You will have already learned many of the skills necessary to recover from your addiction, and when you try again, you’re far more likely to succeed.
Treating your addiction involves changing behaviors that are deeply imbedded within you, and relapse can sometimes happen. This doesn’t mean that your treatment has failed, just that there has been a hurdle along the way, and that next time, your treatment needs to be adjusted.
At 12 Keys Rehab, we have a great deal of experience treating people who are just like you, and who may have relapsed several times in the past. Together we will work on your self-belief and focus, and help you to succeed in your journey towards being drug-free.
Why You Should Enter a PCP Recovery Treatment Center
The thought of giving up PCP entirely and forever is an undoubtedly scary one. However, here at 12 Keys Rehab, we arm you with all the tools you’ll ever need in order to safely and comfortably detox so you can pursue a life-lasting sobriety.
Throughout your detox period, it’s likely that you will go through many emotional and physical withdrawal symptoms, including mood disorders, anxiety and depression. With our years of experience, we’ll make this process as easy and as safe as possible for you.
Giving up PCP is a journey that shouldn’t be taken alone. This is why it’s so important to seek the help of a professional treatment center. Once you’re safely guided through the detox period, you will begin to receive the counseling and treatment you need for any mental health issues. We will help you learn to manage your cravings in order to prepare for your new drug-free life.
Whether you’re a relative who’s unsure about the signs and symptoms of PCP use, or you yourself are suffering from an addiction that you just can’t kick — we’re here to help. As recovered addicts ourselves, we can understand and empathize with exactly what you’re going through, and we won’t sugarcoat our advice, as we believe in being honest in our guidance.
No matter how long you’ve been using, there’s always hope. Together we can find you the key to quitting PCP. With the help of the most progressive therapies available today, we will help you heal your mind, body and spirit.
Now you know the facts on PCP addiction, it’s time to take the next step, and to seek help for you or your loved one. Call us today, no matter the time of day or night, for a no obligation chat. We look forward to helping you begin your drug-free journey today.
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