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What are Hallucinogens?

Magic Mushroom Abuse

“Magic Mushroom” is an umbrella term used to describe a mushroom species that has the psychoactive agent psilocybin in it. When ingested, psilocybin causes users to hallucinate. Like many other naturally based hallucinogens, magic mushrooms were originally used by native cultures as a spiritual enhancement. Today, teens and young adults use them recreationally.

Effects of Psychedelic Mushrooms

After an individual ingests psilocybin, the distortion of reality will begin to take place about 30 minutes later and can last up to nine hours. Similar to LSD, the effects experienced differ from person to person and are impacted by the current mood of the person taking them.

What generally occurs is visual and/or auditory hallucinations, mixed-sensory experiences (e.g. hearing colors or smelling words) and changes in perception of time. In the short term, less desirable effects might include tremors, paranoia, blurred vision, risky behavior and nausea.

If you’re concerned that your child might be under the influence of a hallucinogen, here are some subtle signs that could make you feel more comfortable asking them about it:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of coordination
  • Frequent complaints of a dry mouth
  • Noticeable loss of appetite
  • Slurred speech

Risks of Magic Mushroom Misuse

The most pronounced risk associated with these drugs is the potential for psychedelic mushrooms to be poisonous. There are hundreds of different types of mushrooms and those who choose to ingest what they believe to be a magic mushroom are putting faith in a strangers’ ability to ascertain which one will cause the desired effects.

Other risks associated with magic mushrooms are related to the long-term detriment of users’ mental health. A “bad trip” or intensely negative emotional experience can cause significant trauma. This can lead to lasting, overwhelming anxiety, flashbacks and has also been linked to persistent psychosis symptoms.

The American Psychiatric Association reports that 4.2% of people who use hallucinogens regularly suffer from a re-experiencing of psilocybin intoxication despite not ingesting it for an extended period of time.

How Teens and Young Adults Use Psychedelic Mushrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms can be eaten raw, dried, cooked with other food or brewed as a tea. Although not as well recognized as a recreational party drug, magic mushrooms are often used at social gatherings. Street names for magic mushrooms include: shrooms, boomers, booms, caps, buttons, liberty caps, cubes and liberties.

Addiction Risks and Other Hallucinogen Use Disorder

While psilocybin abuse does not cause physical addiction, a mental health diagnosis known as Other Hallucinogen Use Disorder characterizes how abuse can still significantly impair a user’s life. Common signs of this include:

  • Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using or recovering from magic mushrooms
  • Using mushrooms even when it results in social disruption, health problems and professional difficulty
  • Using in hazardous situations, such as driving
  • Failure to engage in or enjoy activities that were once pleasurable
  • Needing larger amounts to produce same effect

What to do if You Think Your Child is Abusing Magic Mushrooms

If you believe your child might be struggling with drug abuse or a co-occurring disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Our trained and experienced professionals can help answer any questions you might have and walk you through available options to consider. Call us at (888) 850-1890.

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