The hallucinogen class is large and filled with many types of drugs. Some, such as psilocybin and LSD, don’t typically lead to addiction. Their side effects are so unpleasant that people may not want to take them again.
But some types of hallucinogens, including marijuana, can cause addictions. And some people develop psychological attachments to their drugs and struggle to quit using them without help.
What Treatment Options Are Available for Hallucinogen Addiction?
Just as addictions can touch almost every part of life, the best treatment programs are multifaceted. They address your addiction from multiple angles, allowing you to build up skills to stay sober when formal treatment ends.
These aspects could be part of your addiction treatment program:
Researchers say most hallucinogens don’t cause withdrawal symptoms. People who stop taking them abruptly rarely feel physically ill as a result.
But people can experience overwhelming anxiety due to recurring drug flashbacks. And some people feel depressed about never experiencing a hallucination again.
Treatment programs can offer medications like antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs to help people cope with these difficult feelings. Those with underlying mental health problems they’ve been masking with hallucinogens may especially benefit from this treatment. Your treatment team will determine which medications may be helpful for your situation.
Most addiction treatment programs include an element of psychotherapy. A trained professional conducts meetings — either individually or in groups — to help you understand why you started using hallucinogens and what triggers could make you relapse.
One form of psychotherapy — cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — involves altering the following pattern:
- Trigger: A person, place, or thing enters your consciousness and reminds you of hallucinogens or something unpleasant.
- Thought: That trigger sparks a series of very difficult memories or urges.
- Action: You act on that trigger and relapse to drugs.
In CBT sessions, you might learn how to avoid triggers, amend distressing thoughts, and avoid relapse. With practice, often conducted in therapy, your relapse prevention skills grow stronger.
Your team might use the following additional psychotherapy forms:
- Family therapy, to teach your loved ones how to support your recovery
- Contingency management, to make your recovery more rewarding
- Skill building, to help you learn how to build a sober life
Researchers say support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, come with plenty of benefits, such as the following:
- Increasing the time people stay engaged with treatment
- Improving relationships
- Increasing the satisfaction people feel with treatment
- Reduced relapse rates
Support group meetings are held by peers, not professionals, so they’re not considered a part of formal treatment conducted by a doctor. But people in recovery may offer tips and tools you can’t get elsewhere. You may make friends in these groups that can support you for the rest of your life.
Some programs incorporate art, music, meditation, and exercise into their programs. These methods can help people tap into their inner strength and be a source of enjoyment later in life.
Life After Addiction Treatment
When addiction treatment programs end, you can take complete control of your life. And you must stay focused on your recovery to ensure you don’t return to hallucinogen abuse.
Experts say the following four major dimensions support long-term recovery:
- Health: Make healthy choices that support your physical and emotional well-being.
- Home: Find a safe and secure place to live that has few (or no) relapse triggers.
- Purpose: Spend your time in meaningful activities, and have the income and resources to participate in your community.
- Connection: Maintain relationships with people who can offer support, friendship, hope, and love.
Some people have all of these elements available when they’re finished with their treatment program. But most people need ongoing help from therapists, local social workers, and peers to get what they need to stay sober.
Anyone can work on improving these factors for the rest of life. Adding an exercise program, creating a new diet, and volunteering could be helpful for anyone.
Support Groups for Hallucinogen Addiction
As part of your long-term recovery plan, you may choose to participate in a support group. Fees are not required, so you can go to meetings as often as you want. And you can stay engaged with this form of recovery for as long as you want, including for the rest of your life.
Experts recommend attending meetings every day for at least three months to make it a part of your life. After that, you can set a schedule that works for you.
Some treatment teams help you find local support group meetings when you are discharged from care. But others allow people to find their own. You can use internet searches to find either in-person or online versions to help you. A hybrid approach of both virtual and in-person meetings works well for most people.
Few support groups are explicitly designed for people with hallucinogen habits. But people can head to almost any meeting that seems right for them. For example, you might have a lot in common with people who abuse narcotics like heroin, as you both used illegal drugs that change perception.
Don’t be afraid to visit many different meetings until you find one that seems right for you. Recovery is your priority, so it’s important for you to find the right option.
- Psychedelic and Dissociative Drugs. (April 2023). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- Hallucinogens. CAMH.
- Benefits of Peer Support Groups in the Treatment of Addiction. (September 2016). Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation.
- Recovery Support Groups for Addiction: One Size Does Not Fit All. (September 2018). Partnership to End Addiction.
- What Is Recovery Support? Washington State Health Care Authority.