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Signs of DMT Abuse

Common symptoms of DMT abuse include confusion, lightheadedness, dilated pupils, nausea, twitching and spasming, heavy sweating, elevated heart rate and more. This page will cover the common signs of DMT abuse to be looking for and symptoms you can expect.

Struggling with Hallucinogen Addiction? Get Help Now

DMT (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine) is a psychedelic drug that is found naturally in some plants as well as animals.[1]

It is a Schedule I drug with no accepted medical use in the U.S. Most often, DMT is abused for its psychedelic effects. Treatment programs can help you gain control of your drug use and build a happier future.

Signs and symptoms of DMT abuse include the following:[1]

  • Altered sense of reality
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Taking DMT more frequently and in higher doses
  • Inability to stop taking DMT despite a desire to do so

This page will cover the common signs of DMT abuse to watch for and the symptoms you can expect.

What Are the Most Common Signs & Symptoms of DMT Abuse?

When DMT is abused, effects are felt quickly, often within seconds to minutes.[2] Since the drug isn’t regulated, the effects can vary greatly from person to person. If two people take the same dose, they may have very different experiences.

This table can help you understand the common signs and symptoms of DMT abuse:[1,2]

Dilated pupilsConfusion
Twitching and spasming, particularly in the eye musclesHallucinations
Heavy perspirationDelusions
Elevated heart rateA sense of enhanced spirituality or mysticism
Increased heart rateAnxiety and fear
Lack of coordinationImpaired decisions making
 Compromised judgment

Signs of DMT Addiction

With regular abuse of DMT, addiction can develop. Though the potential for physical dependence is considered low with DMT, psychological dependence can occur.[3] 

Addiction involves a compulsion to keep taking DMT even when you know it is causing you harm. Some signs and symptoms of DMT addiction include the following:[4,5]

  • Preoccupation with finding and using DMT 
  • Isolation from family and friends to use DMT instead
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Financial difficulties
  • Loss of employment or decline in performance at school
  • Relationship problems
  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Decline in hygiene and self-care

What Are the Dangers of DMT?

DMT abuse comes with many physical and psychological risks despite its link with meaningful and profound experiences for some users. These are some of the risks associated with DMT abuse:[1,2,6] 

  • High level of fear, anxiety, and paranoia 
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Exacerbation of previously existing mental health issues
  • Frightening images and memories of past traumatic experiences
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular issues and exacerbation of preexisting cardiovascular conditions
  • Dehydration and fainting

HPPD: One of the Signs of DMT Abuse

Frequent DMT users can potentially experience recurring hallucinations and visions even when they have not taken DMT, a condition known as hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD).[7] This condition can be frightening and debilitating.

Common symptoms of HPPD include the following:[9]

  • Hallucinations
  • Perceptions of movement from the sides of the head
  • Flashes of color or intensified color
  • Trails following moving objects
  • Halos around lights
  • Objects that seem larger or smaller than they are

In a 2021 study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, researchers said that 4.2% of all hallucinogen users experience these symptoms, but they’re most common in people who abuse multiple drugs.[9]

People with a severe form of HPPD can experience significant symptoms that impact their daily lives, and for some people, symptoms last for years.[9] Researchers haven’t identified treatments that work in all people, but some benefit from medications like antidepressants, antipsychotics, or benzodiazepines.[9]

Legal & Social Issues

It is important to note that DMT is illegal in the United States, so the possession and distribution of the drug can be penalized at the federal level.[8] 

There are also social and behavioral risks to consider, as regular abuse of DMT can lead to impaired social relationships, loss of employment, financial difficulties, and a neglect of responsibilities in life. 

Ultimately, chronic DMT abuse can begin to damage every area of life, from health and relationships to career and finances. Treatment can help to put DMT and all substance abuse behind you, so you can build a better future in recovery. 

Updated May 7, 2024
  1. N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Drug Enforcement Administration. Published December 2022. Accessed August 31, 2023.
  2. Barker SA. N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an endogenous hallucinogen: Past, present, and future research to determine its role and function. Front Neurosci. 2018;12:536. Published 2018 Aug 6. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00536
  3. Gable RS. Risk assessment of ritual use of oral dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmala alkaloids. Addiction. 2007;102(1):24-34. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01652.x
  4. Edwards S, Koob GF. Escalation of drug self-administration as a hallmark of persistent addiction liability. Behav Pharmacol. 2013;24(5-6):356-362. doi:10.1097/FBP.0b013e3283644d15
  5. The neurobiology of substance use, misuse, and addiction. Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); Office of the Surgeon General (US). Published November 2016. Accessed August 30, 2023.
  6. Carbonaro TM, Gatch MB. Neuropharmacology of N,N-dimethyltryptamine. Brain Res Bull. 2016;126(Pt 1):74-88. doi:10.1016/j.brainresbull.2016.04.016
  7. Ford H, Fraser CL, Solly E, et al. Hallucinogenic persisting perception disorder: A case series and review of the literature. Front Neurol. 2022;13:878609. Published 2022 May 6. doi:10.3389/fneur.2022.878609
  8. Brito-da-Costa AM, Dias-da-Silva D, Gomes NGM, Dinis-Oliveira RJ, Madureira-Carvalho Á. Toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics of ayahuasca alkaloids N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), Harmine, harmaline and tetrahydroharmine: Clinical and forensic impact. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2020;13(11):334. Published 2020 Oct 23. doi:10.3390/ph13110334
  9. On perception and consciousness in HPPD: A systematic review. Vis P, Goudriaan A, Muelen B, et al. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2021;15:675768
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