Sometimes reality is really hard to deal with.
There are days—or weeks or months or even years—that seem filled with challenge after challenge. It can be exhausting and disheartening. And it can make you long for a way to step away from the stress for a little while.
That desire to alleviate ongoing stress is one of the common reasons people turn to drugs or alcohol. The hope is that the challenges of life can be put on hold for a bit while a person experiences the good feelings brought on by the drugs.
For some, the drug of choice is phencyclidine—commonly known as PCP or angel dust. But there is nothing angelic about PCP. The drug is a hallucinogen, which means it causes a shift in a person’s perception of reality—a shift that can make it seem as though all of the problems, challenges, and stressors of everyday life are far, far away. It is easy to understand why someone might want to experience the relief from stress.
But the relief comes at a heavy price. PCP can lead to truly awful physical and psychological effects. And once you have started taking angel dust, it can be devilishly difficult to stop.
Reality Check: The Symptoms of PCP Abuse
The list of symptoms related to PCP use is long and troubling. Those symptoms may include:
- Slurred speech, distorted vision, and/or auditory hallucinations
- A noticeably blank stare and/or numbness in the extremities
- Poor coordination and/or an odd, exaggerated walking gait
- Acute anxiety, paranoia, and/or an ongoing sense of impending doom
- A false sense of invulnerability or strength (despite the anxiety or paranoia)
- Amnesia and/or severe mood disorders
- Hostility, violence, and/or development of a psychoses mirroring the symptoms of schizophrenia
As a person takes more and more PCP over a longer period of time, the symptoms continue to worsen, and may include:
- Speech and learning difficulties
- Seizures and/or coma
- Violent outbursts
- Suicide attempts
Taking a good hard look at those symptoms and potential consequences of PCP use might be enough to convince you that no temporary escape from reality is worth these issues. That’s great—especially if you haven’t started taking the drug.
If you have been taking PCP, it is still a wonderful idea to stop using the drug. The trouble is that it may well be extremely difficult to do so.
Getting Over the Wall of Withdrawal
Often enough, we really want to do something but find an obstacle in our way. Maybe you want to earn a promotion at work, for example, but there are no open positions above you and it seems like there just aren’t any options for advancement.
That’s how it can seem when you try to stop using PCP. The obstacle you find yourself facing is withdrawal. The symptoms of withdrawal can be very difficult to manage. In many cases, especially when a person attempts to stop using PCP suddenly (commonly known as “going cold turkey”), the withdrawal symptoms are so bad that returning to the drug seems like the only viable option.
The wall of withdrawal is built from symptoms that may include ongoing and intense cravings for PCP, a marked increase in symptoms of depression, severe headaches, ongoing feelings of sleepiness, and sweating not connected with physical exertion or a warm environment.
It might feel like there is no solution here. You want to stop taking the drug, but you can’t because the withdrawal symptoms are too intense.
But this is a false dilemma. Returning to our promotion example, while you may have limited options at your current workplace, you might make a decision to pursue a new job that provides more of the opportunities you are looking for. You always have more options than might be immediately apparent.
The same is true of the apparent drug use/withdrawal trap. Those aren’t your only available options. There is a way out.
We Can Help You Move Beyond Addiction to PCP
At Wooded Glen Recovery Center, we provide a medically supervised detoxification program that can help you successfully manage the symptoms of withdrawal from PCP. We follow that up with a robust rehab program that provides you with resources, tools, and strategies for staying off the drug once your recovery journey is underway. We will also address any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be contributing to the issues that led you to PCP in the first place.
Here’s the reality: Help is available. If you are ready to put PCP use behind you, Wooded Glen Recovery Center is ready to help.