What are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are mind and mood-altering substances made from plant extracts or chemically synthesized. In the past, hallucinogen substances were a part of many religious practices and rituals. These drugs tend to alter a person’s perception of things, images, thoughts, feelings, or surroundings. Additionally, hallucinogens typically elicit visual and auditory hallucinations.

While hallucinogen addiction does not have the same physical dependence elements as an addiction to other drugs like opioids or benzodiazepines, these drugs are far from harmless. The disorienting side effects of hallucinogens can mimic psychiatric disorders, like psychosis and paranoid schizophrenia, making these drugs deceptively dangerous. People who already have a mental health disorder which co-occurs with their addiction are also at additional risk from misusing hallucinogens like LSD or psilocybin mushrooms.

Can You Get Addicted to Hallucinogens?

A drug or alcohol detox is the process of eliminating substances from a person’s body safely and comfortably. The reality of detox is different for everyone. A medical detox is not typically required for someone using hallucinogens alone with no other drugs or alcohol. However, many people with a substance use disorder are polysubstance dependent. This means they misuse more than one drug.

Despite the fact that hallucinogens do not have the physical withdrawal effects typically associated with drugs like opioids or benzos, they can still be habit-forming and even addictive. Addiction is more of a psychological phenomenon than a physical one, though it is certainly influenced by physical factors.

Hallucinogen use is climbing in the United States. According to a recent study by researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, the hallucinogen abuse has increased from 0.9% to over 4% between 2002 and 2019. From 2002 to 2019, the prevalence of 12-month LSD use increased significantly overall and among respondents aged 12–17 years. This is quite alarming as the drug is drastically gaining popularity among our children before they hit adulthood.

Examples of common hallucinogens are:

The Dangers of Hallucinogen Use

The dangers of hallucinogens are often misunderstood and underestimated. Because drugs like LSD and psilocybin aren’t often used every day and they do not result in the type of physical withdrawal symptoms people associate with other drugs, some people imagine they are “safe”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Hallucinogens have much more profound psychological effects than most other drugs. It’s fair to say that no other drug can prepare you for a hallucinogen if you’ve never used one before. You cannot equate the effects of psychedelic drugs to anything else out there.

Much of the danger of these drugs comes from the fact that they cause dramatic shifts in perception that often resemble the symptoms of serious psychiatric disorders like psychosis or paranoid schizophrenia. Hallucinations can be frightening and cause people to behave erratically or irrationally. Research has shown that changes in perception, like depersonalization, can lead to lasting adverse psychological side effects that persist long after hallucinogen use has stopped.

At North Jersey Recovery Center, we have extensive experience in treating hallucinogen addiction and misuse. Recovery is just as accessible to people who misuse hallucinogens as it is to anyone addicted to any other substance. But, it isn’t something that anyone should attempt to do on their own. Professional addiction treatment for hallucinogen use is always the most practical and effective way forward.

Treatment for Hallucinogen Abuse


Medical detoxification may not be necessary for a person who is using hallucinogens alone (no other drugs or alcohol). But each individual is different and most people with substance use disorders are using more than one substance. The most sensible approach is to begin with an over-the-phone initial screening with our admissions department. Once you have been medically evaluated at our center, the clinicians will determine whether or not medical detox is necessary before you enter partial care or another phase of treatment.

Partial Care Program (PHP)

North Jersey Recovery Center’s partial care program (also known as partial-hospitalization or PHP) offers many of the benefits of residential rehab, without the need to sleep overnight in a medical facility. When appropriate, many clients find PHP to be a good fit. Because PHP treatment does not require 24-hour clinical supervision, it is typically less expensive. This means health insurance companies may cover a longer length of treatment and it is more affordable for clients paying out of pocket for their treatment.

PHP treatment for hallucinogen addiction consists of 5 full days per week (6 hours/day or more) of addiction treatment. This includes both individual one-on-one therapy as well as group counseling and special groups which focus on specific issues, such as anger management or relapse prevention. Each person we treat receives a personalized treatment plan designed to meet their unique needs.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

IOP treatment for substance abuse is:

  • An excellent follow-up to partial care (PHP) treatment
  • A practical option for people who have been to rehab before and have a minor “slip”
  • Individuals who want to continue working when concurrently seeking help for a milder form of addiction
  • Individuals who have completed an inpatient program as continued therapy in their recovery from addiction

For an outpatient program, individuals engage in group therapy, meetings, sponsorships, and social support events. Group therapy prioritizes peer discussion, social, supportive treatment, and mentorship programs from already recovered addicts. It tends to bring together people who can identify with the addict’s struggle and help them cope through the most challenging phase of their recovery. Generally, the cost of outpatient addiction care.

Individual Therapy for Addiction Recovery

This type of therapy targets individuals with mental disorders, coupled with addiction. It focuses on limiting or reducing hallucinogen use. It also incorporates behavioral therapy as a complement to the patient’s overall care.

Often, individual counseling is one of the most important components of addiction treatment and recovery. This is mainly because one-on-one therapy sessions provide people with a place to freely speak about their challenges. Recovering individuals can have in-depth, personal, and direct conversations with a counselor to get to the root of their difficulties and find solutions.

Group Therapy for Addiction Recovery

Group therapy sessions typically involve a group of recovering individuals and one or more therapists. During these sessions, groups may partake in various activities and discuss a number of topics.

In group therapy sessions, people can engage in conversations with other individuals who are on the road to recovery. This therapeutic approach can be extremely beneficial for those working to end addiction. Firstly, it helps to eliminate feelings of loneliness. Those in group therapy can find support and accountability in their peers, knowing that they aren’t alone in their struggles.

Also, group counseling encourages and facilitates interpersonal skills and communication. In many cases of addiction, individuals struggle to connect with other people. They may no longer be accustomed to working well with others. This can be problematic as individuals seek to rejoin the “outside world” after rehab. But, group therapy can help people in this department!

Family Therapy for Addiction Recovery

The family members must undergo therapy as they were directly or indirectly affected by the addiction or the actions of the addict. Also, close friends and family play a direct role in the efficacy of other treatment programs.

This is where family therapy programs come into play. Those who suffer from addiction certainly feel the direct impact of substance misuse. The physical, emotional, and mental consequences of drug or alcohol abuse are undeniable.

However, the family members of suffering individuals also feel the effects of a person’s addiction. Substance abuse can tear families apart. It can cause financial hardship to occur. Family members may feel hopeless, resorting to enabling behaviors in an attempt to help the people they love. But, this only furthers the damage and causes more issues in the long run.

Family therapy can help equip family units with the skills they need in order to truly help struggling individuals. This type of therapy also provides support and emotional comfort for families who are dealing with the pain of a loved one’s addiction.

Holistic Therapy and Other Therapeutic Approaches for Addiction Recovery

There are many different kinds of therapy and counseling for those in addiction rehab. Some may take place more often in a group setting while others may be individual approaches. Some types of therapy can be used in either setting.

A few of the effective therapeutic approaches that may help those working to recover from hallucinogen addiction include:

  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Contingency Management (CM)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Holistic therapy is a non-medical supplement to addiction treatment. It aims at complementing traditional addiction therapy management.

Examples of holistic therapy include:

  • Yoga
  • Art therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Exercise therapy
  • Meditation and breathing exercises

Holistic therapy is focused on treating the whole person, mind, body and soul. This differentiates it somewhat from conventional therapy methods which are more focuses on physical health and the intellect alone.

The goals of holistic therapy for hallucinogen use include:

  • Identifying the cause of addiction
  • Improving mental health and self-confidence
  • Minimizing the urges to use drugs or alcohol
  • Enhancing emotional strength and physical fitness

All of the therapies we offer here at North Jersey Recovery Center can benefit those in recovery from addiction. We work to find the best combination of services for each individual who comes to our facility for help. This individualized approach is much more effective than the cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach many other addiction rehab centers take.

Overcome Hallucinogen Use With Our Help

Rising above hallucinogen abuse can be surprisingly challenging, but it is absolutely possible with the right help. If you or someone you love wants to stop using hallucinogens, North Jersey Recovery Center can help.

Freedom from drugs and alcohol is attainable. We won’t tell you it’s easy, but with our help you will find a clear path forward to living your best life, one day at a time.

North Jersey Recovery Center is ready to help you or the person you love take that first, critical step into recovery. But it’s up to you to make the first move. We can only help if you contact us.

It’s time to begin the first chapter in recovery from hallucinogen abuse for yourself or the one you love. Let’s do it together!

Clinically reviewed by Dr. Suzanne Salamanca, PhD., APN, PMHNP-BC