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Are Hallucinogens Addictive? Yes — Here’s Why

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Are hallucinogens addictive? I can give you my experience, but I can also tell you that I know numerous addicts who would tell you that hallucinogens are absolutely addictive.

I’ve been addicted to a lot of drugs, most of them what you would consider hard drugs. Methamphetamine/amphetamines, heroin, alcohol, benzodiazepines—even marijuana. I’ve taken maybe a dozen different hallucinogens many times over my lifetime.

Was I addicted to them? I would say yes. Let’s explore what addiction to hallucinogens actually looks like.

What Does Addiction to Hallucinogens Look Like

I’m an alcoholic, which is to say, I’m addicted to alcohol. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I drank every day (I’ve been sober 9 years) or that I drank every week, or even every month.

What it means is that when I drink, I drink compulsively. I drink and drink and keep drinking beyond the point where it even feels good. I intend to only drink a little bit, but then I end up drinking to blackout.

This is one way to define addiction according to the Big Book of AA—the inability to stop or moderate when there is good reason to do so (when you have consequences). Blacking out is a huge consequence. It’s frightening, and it’s not normal.

Another way to define addiction is using every day. When I was addicted to heroin, I used every day because my body was physically addicted. When I wanted to stop or moderate, I couldn’t, not even for a day, because I would start withdrawing.

What category do hallucinogens fall into? In my experience, not the second category. They aren’t something that I ever did every day. They were rare, and I usually found the experience frightening and unenjoyable, so I tended not to use them unless someone had a lot of them available.

Now think about that—I only used them when they were available even though I didn’t enjoy them.

That sounds like addiction doesn’t it? For me, hallucinogens are addictive. I find that when I use them, I tend to use more than I need to, I tend to do them despite not enjoying them, and I tend to do them over and over until I run out.

Now did I seek them out after I ran out? Usually not.

But if I have unlimited access to them, I keep using.

Let me give you an example.

Are Hallucinogens Addictive? I Was Definitely Addicted to 2C-E

When I was 23 or 24, I had a roommate we’ll call Jacob. This was in the early 2010s when the 2C compounds (a class of psychedelic drugs) were technically legal.

Jacob bought a kilogram of 2C-E online from China.

For a time, I had unlimited access to 2C-E. This was a powerful hallucinogen for sure. I did it a lot.

But I didn’t enjoy it.

Time after time, I would convince myself that it would be fun to do some 2C-E. I would try to regulate my dose. I would try to take just enough so that it would be fun. It was never really fun. It was pretty much horrifying. I rarely had a good time on it (there was a single time, in fact, where I enjoyed it, and that was the first time I took it).

Yet I kept doing it. Over and over.

Sounds like an addiction, doesn’t it?

Now I was never physically addicted to it. I never really craved it. I would never wake up in the morning sweating and wishing for 2C-E.

But I kept doing it.

I was definitely addicted to it.

Hallucinogen Addiction Is in the Mind

I know plenty of people who would use hallucinogens like acid or ecstasy every day when they were still using. I know that there are classes of hallucinogens that people will use addictively.

Now, are these substances physically addictive? Probably not. But they’re certainly mentally addictive, which means that they are something that the user is going to take over and over despite consequences and even if they don’t enjoy the use.

I used a lot of substances far beyond a time when I enjoyed them. That’s addictive behavior, and I can say that the same behavior applied to me when I used hallucinogens.

I hate magic mushrooms (psilocybin). I hate the taste, the smell, the experience. I hate having to deal with the people who like to do them and sell them (hippies—blah). I hate it all, and almost every time I’ve done them, I’ve had a bad trip.

Yet I kept doing them. Over and over.

Are hallucinogens addictive?

They are if you’re like me—a drug addict.

Going to Rehab for Hallucinogens

I can tell you that I’ve met more than a few people who have gone to rehab for hallucinogens. It’s not as uncommon as you might think—this includes marijuana.

If you’ve never been to rehab before, read this article to learn what it’s like.

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Adam Fout

I'm a speculative fiction and nonfiction writer. I have a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Professional and Technical Communication. I'm a graduate of the 2020 Odyssey Writing Workshop. I'm a regular contributor to Recovery Today Magazine, and I have been published in numerous literary magazines, including December, J Journal, and Flash Fiction Online, among others.

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