Substance abuse is a problem across the country. Although the media focuses a lot on the opioid epidemic, other drugs have addictive effects too. For example, dissociative drug addiction is an issue among the hundreds of thousands of people who use the drugs. However, what are dissociative substances and the signs of addiction?

What Are Dissociative Drugs?

woman discusses her Dissociative Drug Addiction with her doctorDissociative substances are types of hallucinogenic drugs. However, they do more than distort people's perceptions of sound and sight. They also create feelings of dissociation or detachment from themselves and their environment. The most common dissociative substances include:

  • Dextromethorphan (DXM) – This drug is present in over-the-counter cold medicines as an anti-mucus ingredient and cough suppressant.
  • Ketamine – Physicians use this surgical anesthetic for animals and humans.
  • Phencyclidine (PCP) – This substance was an anesthetic for surgery until 1965.
  • Salvia divinorum – This hallucinogenic plant grows in southern Mexico.

According to research, the effects of these drugs occur in two main ways. Salvia activates the kappa opioid receptor in the body. Although this receptor is different from those that opioids activate, it triggers similar effects.

DXM, PCP, and ketamine, however, disrupt the chemical glutamate in the brain at specific receptors. This chemical regulates the perception of pain, emotion, memory, learning and other cognitive functions. In addition, PCP affects dopamine, which regulates feelings of pleasure.

Dissociative Drug Effects

Aside from leading to dissociative drug addiction with ongoing use, these drugs have a lot of harmful effects. Most people experience a sense of floating, detachment from reality and their bodies, and auditory and visual distortions. Anxiety, memory loss, numbness, tremors, and impaired motor function are also short-term effects.

These effects can start within minutes of consuming the substances and last for hours. Over the long term, though, dissociative drugs can cause depression, anxiety, isolation, suicidal thoughts and speech difficulties. These symptoms can persist for a year or longer after people quit using the drugs.

These substances can cause additional effects as well. Salvia may induce mood swings, and PCP could cause severe muscle contractions, seizures, violent behavior, and psychotic episodes. Ketamine might trigger aggressive behavior, delirium, flashbacks, severe breathing problems, and amnesia.

Since cold medicines contain more than DXM, high doses can cause dizziness, low blood pressure, and increased heart rate. Blurred vision, poor coordination, and sleepiness may occur too.

Signs of Dissociative Drug Addiction

The above side effects are common in people who have a dissociative drug addiction. Like most addictions, though, loved ones can look for other signs as well.

Tolerance is a sign in which people's bodies build up a resistance to the substances. It prevents them from feeling the same effects that their usual doses produce. For that reason, they increase their doses or frequency of use to enhance the effects.

Over time, however, their brains adapt to the chemical changes that the drugs make. When they stop using the drugs, their bodies go into a sort of shock, which experts refer to as withdrawal. The symptoms often include headaches, sweating, and cravings.

Furthermore, loved ones can identify dissociative drug addiction in people who demonstrate changes in habits or appearance. They might go through periods of isolation from loved ones or develop secretive behavior. Unusual anger, hostility, and lying are all signs of addiction too.

Treating Dissociative Drug Use at Spring Gardens Recovery

The staff at Spring Gardens Recovery use tried-and-true methods to help you recover from dissociative drug use. However, we also utilize forward-thinking treatments to heal your body, mind, and soul, including:

Alongside these services, Spring Gardens Recovery offers gender-specific detox. Men and women can have different experiences during recovery. We consider your unique needs to ensure that your treatment promotes a lifetime of sobriety. Our team also includes addiction education for everyone, including family members.

Tell dissociative substances to take a hike so that you can reach your potential. Get dissociative drug addiction treatment at Spring Gardens Recovery to learn how. Reach out to us for more details at 866-244-9556.