What is PCP Addiction and Can It Be Treated?

Most people think about drugs such as heroin and cocaine when they hear the word ‘addiction’. Nevertheless, there are many other illegal drugs available that are also causing heartbreak to families around the UK. PCP addiction is something that many individuals are unaware of, but this is a drug that can have devastating consequences for those affected.

What is PCP?

PCP, or phencyclidine, which is the chemical name for the drug, was created as an anaesthetic and painkiller but was discontinued for medicinal purposes because of the side effects, including severe hallucinations and aggressive behaviour. It is a Class A illegal drug and one that can be sniffed, smoked, swallowed or injected. Those who abuse PCP often feel as if they can do anything, often taking unnecessary risks, which can have deadly consequences for themselves and those around them.

PCP is a very dangerous drug that can lead abusers to become violent to themselves and others. The hallucinations experienced can cause the user to have little regard for his/her own safety and the safety of those nearest to them. People high on this drug have been known to attack emergency services personnel including police officers, paramedics and hospital staff.

Effects of PCP

PCP users tend to lack the ability to make rational decisions, and because they have a feeling of invincibility, they have no problem harming themselves. This can be extremely dangerous, especially as the affected individual feels little or no pain due to the effects of the drug. PCP addicts often suffer from broken bones and dislocated joints. Extreme cases have even seen PCP users amputating limbs.

Short-term effects of PCP abuse include excessive sweating, shallow breathing, nausea, vomiting, and numb fingers and toes.

Those who abuse PCP for a long time are at risk of addiction as well as many serious mental and physical health problems. The long-term effects of PCP abuse can include psychosis, memory problems and problems with thinking and speaking.

PCP Addiction

As with all addictions, PCP addiction is a progressive illness. Those who abuse the drug are in danger of becoming tolerant to the effects and will, therefore, need to take more in order to achieve the desired result. PCP is becoming popular again on the club scene and, as a result, PCP addictions are increasing.

Those who develop a physical and psychological dependence on the substance will continue to take it even if doing so will cause harmful consequences. They will be unable to quit even if they want to. Once the effects of the drug wear off, the person will feel the need to take it again and again, thus putting his/her life in danger.

Addiction to PCP will typically have terrible consequences for those affected as well as for their families. Addiction is an illness of the brain that changes the behaviour and personality of the individual. To those affected by PCP addiction, nothing else matters except their need for the drug. They will neglect other responsibilities in their lives, and relationships tend to suffer. Addiction can lead to job losses and homelessness as well as a host of health issues.

Treating PCP Addiction

When it comes to substance addictions, it is necessary for the patient to stop taking the substance to which he or she is addicted before the process of recovery can begin. This is known as detoxification, and it requires the person to quit and then wait for the substance to be eliminated from the body.

However, it is important to remember that removal of a toxic substance from the body can have unpleasant side effects. PCP withdrawal is generally quite mild compared to other drug withdrawal, and especially considering the severe nature of intoxication from this drug. Those who are detoxing from PCP tend to suffer from cravings, confusion and depression. Nonetheless, the effects of the drug can last for a long time, and some individuals experience permanent personality changes after recovering from a PCP addiction.


Once the process of detoxification has been completed, it will be necessary for the patient to undergo a programme of rehabilitation. This may be carried out in a residential facility or under the care of an outpatient programme. Typical treatments for PCP include cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, individual counselling, contingency management, and group therapy sessions.

Residential clinics are generally accepted as the preferable option for those with addiction issues because these offer a concentrated and focused approach to recovery. The patient will stay in a residential facility with other recovering addicts and will be free from the distractions of everyday life.

Residential treatment programmes tend to run for between six and eight weeks. They are ideally suited to those with severe addictions who would benefit from constant access to support and care throughout their recovery as well as to those with limited support in the outside world. However, because not everyone can access private treatment and because it is just not feasible for everyone to be away from home for an extended period of time, outpatient programmes offering top quality care also exist.

For more information on the recovery options available to you, contact us here at Addiction Helper.

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