Bad trip, crash and other effects
Hallucinogenic substances can cause bad trips. This phenomenon is characterised by intense anxiety associated with intoxication. The person therefore wants the effects to stop but does not have a choice other than waiting for them to wear off on their own, which can take up to a few, long, hours. This state of extreme anxiety can lead to panic attacks.
Even if the experience was pleasant, using hallucinogenic substances is generally followed by a «crash» period that can last several days. One can feel depressed, anxious and have difficulty sleeping. Some people have also experienced flashbacks4 in the days or weeks following the use of hallucinogens. They can therefore suddenly get snippets of memories of that time.
Despite these effects, overdoses of hallucinogenic substances are rarely fatal.
However, it does not mean that hallucinogens are not dangerous. Under the influence of such substances, people can in fact feel disoriented and take serious risks, especially during a hallucination.
As with other substances such as cocaine and opiates, one of the dangers is that hallucinogens can be cut, meaning, mixed with other substances. For example, ketamine is often mixed with stimulants like amphetamines. These mixtures can render the effects unpredictable which can be particularly dangerous.
Addiction to hallucinogenic drugs
Hallucinogenic substances usually do not create a physical addiction. They can however create a psychological one: by enjoying the effects, one is led to use more often to relive those feelings. In the case of regular drug use, addiction can develop with substances such as ketamine, for example. Thus, one develops a tolerance to the effects of the drug and must increase doses to chase that initial high.
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