PCP has been one of the most dangerous drugs developed by humankind since it was introduced in the 1950s. First created as an anaesthetic in the 1950s, its use was discontinued in the 1960s due to the frightening side effects it causes. Today, the only known use of PCP is as a recreational drug among people who use addictive substances to escape reality.
PCP is known on the street by a variety of names including angel dust, whack, and embalming fluid. It is most often sold as a white powder that is easily dissolved in drinks or into another fluid that can be injected. Sometimes it is mixed with cannabis to enhance the effects of that drug. There are pill forms of the drug as well.
If you or someone close to you is a regular user of PCP, there is no time to delay getting help. This drug is highly dangerous for a number of reasons we will discuss shortly. Suffice to say that every future use of PCP endangers the life of the person who is using it. We urge you to contact us right away so that we can help.
Basics of PCP Addiction
There is some question as to whether PCP creates a high degree of physical dependence. Whether it does or not, PCP does have very profound psychoactive effects that create psychological dependence very easily. Like every other addictive substance, psychological dependence begins with a condition known as tolerance.
The more often PCP is used, the more quickly the body gets used to it being in the system. Tolerance is created because the body adjusts to the drug to the extent that the user no longer feels the same kinds of effects. Increasing amounts must be taken to induce the desired feelings.
A person using PCP will feel detached, distant, and estranged from his or her surroundings. The drug also can mask pain, which is why it was originally developed as an intravenous anaesthetic. Finally, PCP users experience loss of coordination, slurred speech, impaired cognition, numbness in the extremities and, most importantly, a sense of invincibility that leads to erratic and risky behaviour.
If these symptoms are not bad enough, the most frightening aspect of PCP is that it induces both intense hallucinations and aggressive psychosis. People high on PCP tend to become violent towards others around them; some have been known to self-mutilate or engage in other dangerous behaviours as a result of visual and auditory hallucinations.
Signs and Symptoms of PCP Addiction
Just a single use of PCP can be frightening enough to scare away mild to moderate drug users. Those who insist on using PCP long-term gradually develop easily recognisable behaviours along with a number physical symptoms that make addiction evident. If you are concerned that someone you know is addicted to PCP, we encourage you to look for the following signs and symptoms:
- Regular incidents of erratic behaviour
- Hallucinations and episodes of violence
- Regular incidents of slurred speech and impaired cognition
- Tendencies toward incoherent speech and rambling
- A tendency toward disorientation
- A personality that seems detached and unaware
- An increasingly noticeable unsteady gait
- Suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
The speed at which a person becomes addicted to PCP depends on how quickly tolerance develops. In some people, psychological dependence begins to emerge after just two or three uses. Other future addicts can go for weeks or months before addiction sets in.
The dangers of PCP abuse and addiction are very real and should not be ignored. It is common for PCP addicts to describe their lives as ‘living nightmares’ in which suicidal thoughts are a normal thing. Even when suicide is not a risk (and this is rare in addiction situations) addicts routinely suffer from drug-induced schizophrenia, paranoia, and depression.
One last thing you should know before we move on to treatment: PCP can continue causing intoxication and adverse side effects for years after taking it due to the way the drug and its by-products are stored in body tissue. The PCP addict can be clean for years and, without warning, relapse into a terrifying trip worse than anything experienced while the person was taking the drug.
Treatment for PCP Addiction
Treatment for PCP addiction begins with medically supervised detox. It is absolutely essential that addicts NOT try to detox by them self, as this can be extremely dangerous. At the conclusion of detox, the recovering addict undergoes 3 to 12 weeks of psychotherapeutic treatment designed to address the emotional and psychological aspects of addiction.
Long-term medications may be prescribed when doctors are concerned about long-lasting symptoms. Furthermore, additional treatments may be necessary if permanent psychosis or schizophrenia has been diagnosed. Needless to say that recovering from PCP addiction is a long and arduous road that requires real commitment from the person in recovery.
We tend to recommend residential treatment for PCP cases because of the seriousness of the situation. Residential treatment offers concentrated care without the distraction of other things medical professionals might have to deal with in other environments. We strongly urge you to consider residential treatment for yourself or a loved one struggling with PCP.
There are multiple residential facilities throughout the UK offering proven PCP treatments to our clients. To learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us on our 24-hour helpline. Our counsellors are standing by to answer all of your questions. If you are ready to undergo treatment, we can walk you through your options and refer you to the treatment provider of your choice.
You can get well from PCP addiction if you are willing to commit to treatment and abstinence. We can help you find the right kind of treatment programme, beginning with residential facilities offering proven, medically supervised treatments in a secure setting. Addiction Helper can also assist you in finding support groups, counsellors and other means of help so that you can avoid future relapse. All of our services are free and absolutely confidential.