Need Help Overcoming Addiction?
Call Us Today! 1-888-747-7155
Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-888-747-7155.

The Effects of PCP Use

  1. Article Quick LinksPrint
  2. Is PCP Harmful?
  3. Short-Term Effects of PCP
  4. Side Effects
  5. Long-Term Effects of PCP
  6. PCP Dependence
  7. PCP Withdrawal Treatment

abusing alcohol

PCP Effects question 1

Is PCP Harmful?

Most substances can be harmful in some way; however, few substances are as harmful as PCP, which is also known as phencyclidine. PCP is a drug that:

  • Anesthetizes you.
  • Makes you hallucinate.
  • Causes serious delusions and psychoses.

You might know PCP by a number of names:

  • Embalming fluid.
  • Angel dust.
  • Rocket fuel.
  • Ozone.

It used to be used for anesthesia, but it was stopped in 1965 after people started suffering severe side effects. PCP is typically smoked, although it can be injected.

PCP is one of the most harmful drugs around. Addiction to the drug has led to a number of incredibly sad incidents. For example, PCP has been linked to a number of shootings where abusers have believed that loved ones were cheating on them or trying to murder them. These episodes of psychoses are extremely dangerous to you and everyone around you, so if you're on the drug, it's time to seek help.

PCP Effects question 2

Short-Term Effects of PCP

One of the short-term effects of PCP is its dissociative effect. Basically, it makes you feel like you're looking down on your own body. It can cause a rush and an intense feeling of calm. You'll find you won't be able to move, but you won't usually panic.

At higher doses, PCP abuse causes hallucinations, which can be pleasant or nightmarish depending on the person's mood when taking the drug.

PCP Effects question 3

Side Effects

PCP in liquid or powder form is frequently applied to tobacco or marijuana, which is then smoked.

There are numerous side effects when it comes to PCP abuse. One of the biggest problems with PCP is that it's very hard to judge how much you've taken. It's often mixed with other substances, and in many cases, it's mixed up with plant material, including marijuana, mint or tobacco.

As with all sedatives and depressants, speech is one of the first things to go, and the abuser will start gabbling and be difficult to understand.

At the lowest doses, PCP abuse produces an intense feeling of lethargy. This can result in anesthesia and paralysis, not dissimilar to nitrous oxide. Users typically feel blissed out, and their vital signs can slow. This simply means their breathing slows as does their heart rate. This isn't particularly dangerous in and of itself; however, it can lead to severe complications.

At higher doses, complete paralysis occurs. This causes issues if the user vomits as they will not be able to clear their airway. In fact, they’ll choke to death unless they are on their side. Other side effects include strange depersonalization effects. Hallucinations may be bad, and they can leave potent emotional scarring. Suicidal impulses are common with PCP, and users can be a danger to themselves and others.

PCP Effects question 4

Long-Term Effects of PCP

Long-term effects include the loss of the self – one of the depersonalization effects mentioned previously. What that means is that the PCP user has no sense of "I." While it sounds bizarre, PCP can destroy that sense, leading to the person thinking that they are an egoless entity.

"There are numerous side effects when it comes to PCP abuse. One of the biggest problems with PCP is that it’s very hard to judge how much you’ve taken. "

More commonly, PCP abuse can lead to grand delusions. These could range from thinking one is a top-flight rapper to believing one is Napoleon or some sort of superhero. This can cause extreme issues and put the user in dangerous situations.

Psychoses are common with PCP, and Big Lurch — a moderately successful rapper from Fort Worth — is a classic example. He is currently serving a life sentence after being found guilty of killing and eating his female roommate while high on PCP. That said, most users are more likely to kill themselves than anyone else.

PCP is an addictive drug, and it cause dependence, which makes it hard for users to give it up.

PCP Effects question 5

PCP Dependence

PCP dependence is not particularly common as the drug has a very bad reputation, but it does happen. It's very difficult to withdraw from PCP thanks to its unique set of side effects, including severe depression and psychosis.

PCP Effects question 6

PCP Withdrawal Treatment

Frequent PCP abuse can lead to tolerance and a withdrawal syndrome characterized by sweating, headaches and intense cravings. Long-term PCP use can result in lasting memory loss and difficulty speaking.

Image Source:

Consequently, PCP withdrawal treatment is often required in cases of PCP abuse. Usually, a PCP addict will be slowly withdrawn from the drug to mitigate the effects of PCP withdrawal. Antidepressants may be prescribed, such as SSRIs or tricyclics, to counteract depressive side effects. If psychotic side effects are observed, an antipsychotic such as aripiprazole or risperidone might be prescribed. The detox stage can be complicated, requiring the patient to be stabilized before going on to the next stage of treatment.

Therapy typically consists of psychotherapy to deal with the side effects of depression or any other mental health issues. Counseling often involves family therapy to help you reconnect with your family, and it should also involve cognitive behavioral therapy to help you alter the thinking and behavioral patterns that led to your drug abuse issues. Counseling can also aid with depression problems.

The last major stage is long-term recovery, where you'll be expected to use your newfound skills in the world outside the rehab center. You'll likely attend a peer support group that's based on a 12-step program or something similar so you can get help when you need it. These groups can also provide support when you’re tempted to relapse.

To help a PCP addict, call our 24/7 helpline at (800) 943-0566 for more information.

Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-888-747-7155.
Related Forum Topics
Related Forum Conversations