Anyone who has ever suffered through the aftermath of PCP abuse, or who has watched a loved one suffer, knows how devastating an effect it can have. While PCP is not as physically addictive as many drugs, the brain itself can become addicted very quickly and this addicted brain can lead to myriad physical, as well as psychological, issues. How Does PCP Work? PCP disrupts the normal functions of neurotransmitters in the brain. When a person uses PCP they can experience feelings of detachment, distorted thought processes, hallucinations, distorted perceptions of sight and sound, as well as extreme anxiety. The effects upon usage aren’t just psychological, though. Physical damage such as shallow breathing, increased heart rate and blood pressure, increase in body temperature, kidney failure, coma and death can occur. The effects are unpredictable from one person to another, and the potential for tolerance buildup is high. Long-Term Effects of PCP Prolonged abuse of PCP can cause the following results:
- Memory loss
- Speech and/or thought difficulty
- Mood disorders
- Weight loss, due to loss of appetite
- Damage to the central nervous system
A PCP addicted brain will also cause the sufferer to act compulsively and erratically. Suicidal thoughts, violent behavior and even symptoms which can be confused with schizophrenia are common. Healing the Addicted Brain from PCP Abuse It is difficult to heal an addicted brain by oneself, not to mention potentially dangerous. This is why treatment at a reliable facility, under the supervision of trained professionals, is always the best course of action. This is especially true in the case of drugs like PCP which have such a prolonged effect on the brain and can cause psychological damage requiring therapy and supportive care. The first step in healing the brain from PCP addiction is stopping usage, which of course causes symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms can be quite severe and should not be faced alone, but instead in the presence of professionals who are skilled in how to help patients cope safely. Symptoms can last up to three months, depending on the length and frequency of drug use, and can include:
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Confused thoughts
- Poor memory
Once withdrawal symptoms have passed, ongoing therapy must be practiced to manage and overcome the long-term psychological and personality damage which PCP has caused. Some common forms of therapy are:
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) – Concentrates on interpersonal relations and social roles, focusing on helping patients find better ways to deal with challenges in these areas.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Works to help the patient replace negative coping skills with positive skills. It addresses maladaptive thinking patterns to have a positive affect on the patient’s behavior.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – Mindful awareness and stress management are components of this method of treatment.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – A type of cognitive behavioral therapy, ACT uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies in combination with behavior change and commitment strategies in the hopes of increasing mental and emotional flexibility.
- Support Programs – Support groups, group therapy, 12-step treatment and family therapy all fall under this title.
Drugs which help lessen psychological suffering can also be administered. For example, a patient struggling with the longer-term effects of prolonged PCP abuse is likely to suffer from anxiety and agitation, as well as the potential for seizures. Benzodiazepine is typically the drug of choice to help ease these symptoms, but it needs to be controlled by a medical professional. You are not alone. Healing an addicted brain is a process which requires patience and time, but with the right professional help it is possible.