February 9, 2024

What Is Angel Dust?: Effects, Risks, & Addiction

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PCP (phencyclidine) is also known as angel dust. The drug angel dust was initially developed for use as a general anesthetic before it gained traction as a drug of abuse in the 1960s. Angel dust is a Schedule II controlled substance, indicating its high potential for abuse despite its legitimate medical applications. As a dissociative drug, PCP is known for causing significant alterations in perception, including changes in visual and auditory experiences, a distorted sense of self, and a disconnection from the environment. Angel dust drug effects can vary greatly depending on the amount consumed.

This guide addresses the following issues:

  • What is angel dust and what does it do?
  • What is angel dust made of?
  • How to connect with addiction treatment near you.

What Is Angel Dust?

Angel dust is a street name for PCP, a powerful hallucinogenic drug that can profoundly impact body and mind. Originally developed in the 1950s as a general anesthetic, PCP was later discontinued for medical use due to severe side effects.

PCP is a synthetic chemical that alters the mind, leading to hallucinogenic effects. It appears in a variety of forms, including powder, liquid, and pill. It can be ingested, snorted, smoked, or injected.

The effects of angel dust drug can be physical and psychological. People taking the drug may experience distortions in time, space, and their own body image. Visual and auditory hallucinations may occur. PCP also causes a disconnection from reality, triggering a sense of detachment from the environment and self.

Physical reactions to angel dust can range from numbness and loss of coordination to more severe reactions like convulsions, coma, and in extreme cases, death.

Angel dust abuse can lead to significant mood disorders, confusion, and in some instances, aggressive behavior. Prolonged use may also lead to persistent speech difficulties, memory loss, depression, and weight loss.

While not physically addictive in the traditional sense, PCP can lead to the development of psychological dependence.

The danger of PCP increases significantly when combined with other substances like alcohol or different drugs.

Angel Dust Effects

Angel dust is associated with a range of psychological and physical effects. These effects can vary depending on the dose and method of consumption.

Psychological effects

  • Euphoria: At lower doses, PCP can induce a sense of euphoria.
  • Relaxation: People may feel relaxed and at ease.
  • Dissociation: PCP can lead to a feeling of disconnection from body and surroundings.
  • Hallucinations: Higher doses may result in hallucinations.
  • Agitation and anxiety: PCP use can also cause agitation, anxiety, and even paranoia.
  • Confusion and delusions: Some people taking angel dust may experience confusion and delusional thinking.
  • Suicidal thoughts: In some cases, PCP use has been associated with suicidal thoughts.

Physical effects

  • Blurred vision: PCP can cause blurred vision.
  • Difficulty speaking: Speech may be affected after angel dust use.
  • Impaired motor skills: Motor skills can be impaired.
  • Decreased sensitivity to pain: PCP can reduce sensitivity to pain.
  • Muscle rigidity: Some people may experience muscle rigidity.
  • Changes in heart rate and blood pressure: PCP can lead to fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are possible physical effects of PCP.
  • Convulsions: In extreme cases, PCP use can result in convulsions and loss of consciousness.

Long-term use of PCP is associated with serious risks, including memory issues, flashbacks, speech problems, severe depression, toxic psychosis, and the potential for fatal overdose. If you or someone that you know is struggling with PCP use, seek help from a healthcare professional or support group.

A man sitting at home in thought angel dust drug

Risks of The Drug Angel Dust

Angel dust is a potent and hazardous drug that carries many risks. These risks affect not only physical and mental health but also have broader social implications.

PCP causes severe distortions in perception, which can lead to dangerous behaviors under the influence of hallucinations or delusional thinking. The use of PCP can inflame pre-existing mental health issues like depression and anxiety and can even trigger new psychiatric conditions.

People may experience a marked increase in impulsivity and aggression, leading to risky decisions and potential harm to themselves or others.

While not physically addictive in the same way as opioids or alcohol, PCP can lead to psychological dependence, characterized by a compulsive desire to use the drug despite an awareness of the associated risks. Discontinuation after prolonged use can lead to the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms.

The erratic behaviors and personality changes associated with PCP use can strain personal relationships and lead to social isolation. Impaired cognitive function and unpredictable behaviors can negatively impact job performance and employment stability.

Long-term use of PCP can provoke persistent cognitive deficits, affecting memory, decision-making, and language abilities. Some people may experience long-lasting psychiatric symptoms, including schizophrenia-like psychosis.

The drug can induce irregular heart rhythms and potentially lead to a heart attack, especially when taken in high doses. Difficulty breathing and respiratory arrest can occur, particularly with high doses or when mixed with other depressants. PCP may also cause potentially life-threatening seizures and coma.

Angel Dust Addiction

Although comprehensive research on the long-term effects of dissociative drugs like PCP is limited, existing studies indicate that repeated use of PCP can result in the development of tolerance and dependence. When regular use is discontinued, some people may experience withdrawal syndrome. Additionally, prolonged use can lead to substance use disorder or addiction, a chronic condition marked by an uncontrollable urge to use the drug despite its adverse effects on the person’s life.

Symptoms of PCP withdrawal can vary but typically include:

  • Cravings: A strong desire to use the drug again.
  • Headaches: These can range from mild to severe.
  • Sweating: Increased perspiration as a physical response to withdrawal.
  • Increased appetite: A pronounced rise in hunger levels.
  • Depression: Feelings of sadness or hopelessness that can be intense.
  • Excessive sleep: Sleeping for longer than usual.
group of friends representing learning what is angel dust

Get Help for PCP Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

Although PCP addiction can be disruptive, it is also highly treatable – we can help you with that at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California.

When you choose our supervised detox program, you will streamline PCP withdrawal and receive expert guidance when tackling the issue of physical dependence. After a week of detox, you’ll be ready for ongoing inpatient treatment at one of our rehabs in Long Beach or Newport Beach, California.

All Gratitude Lodge treatment programs deliver personalized treatments that may include:

Call 800-994-2184 today and begin your recovery from PCP addiction in California tomorrow.

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Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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