No magic in the mushroom – The dangers of hallucinogen dependence

  • By Team TDO

We often crave change and want to forget our problems and do something else and just forget who we are. It is quite natural if one is absolutely bored with wearing the same old face, day in and day out. So, how do we deal with that? Some of us take up a hobby, others undertake research work or find a worthwhile occupation – while there are still others who prefer the easiest route by taking hallucinogens.

Well, that sure beats gardening or charity by a healthy mile, and even slows time - makes molehills out of mountains, and it could even change the color of the sky to a cool shade of green!

What are hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are substances, either natural or artificial, which upon consumption act upon the brain and bring about certain chemical changes in it.

Hallucinogens alter perceptions so that the person actually has vivid auditory and visual hallucinations.

The brain is an amazing mechanism and hallucinogens probably help the person tap into the fabled "mind's eye" and actually project those images sometimes in the form of a running movie in his brain, which he mistakes for reality.

Depending on the amount consumed, the hallucinations could be accompanied by delusions or delusions of grandeur where nothing is impossible and the person feels superior, confident, and utterly fearless.

Hallucinogens that grow naturally are salvia, divinorum, peyote, and certain types of mushrooms. The rave/acid party variety are called LSD or acid, mescaline aka peyote, and psilocybin, or the much fabled magic mushroom waiting to whisk you off to fairyland and make you mad as a hatter in the bargain.

Hallucinogens cause physical and psychological dependence and could expose regular users to a variety of health risks. People with ADHD or chronic depression should not even consider using these substances as they are more at risk of dependence.

Hallucinogen dependence causes a complete impairment of cognitive function and plays tricks with the memory. It can enable you to live alternate lives and bring about things that they showed you in the movie "The Butterfly Effect" to reality. Pity it doesn't last forever, for as the effects wear off, the user is back on "terra not so firma" once again.

That causes irritation in the user, and with a terrible distaste for ugly old reality, he is off for another trip inside his head. This virtual journey is called tripping and in the hallowed parlance these journeymen prefer to refer to each other as "trippers." What we are certain of is that with prolonged use of hallucinogens these people are surely buying themselves a real trip to 'bad health' or the grave compliments of the magic mushroom chef!!

Hallucinogens cause psychosis and extremely irrational behaviour with prolonged abuse. It can bring on states of confusion and feeling disoriented or dissociated from reality. Under the influence, they are likely to cause injury to self and others by actually playing out some of their superhuman fantasies. Coma and brain malfunction are known to occur in some cases.

Fortunately for those who see the light (we mean the real one, i.e., the light of reason and not the one that sheds light on their superman costumes), rehabilitation is possible with the support of a rehab centre and plenty of will power. The user has to summon up enough strength as the drying out period when he comes back down to reality is quite painful. It obviously is painful to see those vivid visuals all coming to naught! More or less the same treatment that is given to drug abusers is given to hallucinogen users.

Anti-psychotic medication can be used as an aid to ease withdrawals. The withdrawals are not particularly unbearable, though they can be a little difficult. The patient might have to battle his urge to go back to his habit and experience discomfort and panic, but with persistence, the habit can stay kicked. Group therapy and Narcotics Anonymous can be particularly effective as this dependence is entirely psychological.

It is when a person is unable to deal with reality that he can make departures from it through the medium of narcotics and substances like alcohol or hallucinogens. Real life may be mundane, dull, and utterly boring, but at least it is 100% real. The patient has to learn how to come to deal with his realities and try to become fully functional in the real plane by re-examining his choices and leading a healthier lifestyle.