Hallucinogenic drug use affects more than 5.5 million U.S. adults. Phencyclidine (PCP) is a powerful and highly addictive hallucinogen. If you or someone you care about is struggling with this substance, you know how harmful it can be. The journey to recovery from PCP addiction can be challenging. We’re here to help, explain the PCP therapy process, and encourage you or your loved one to seek help.

What is PCP?

PCP is a potent dissociative drug that falls under the class of hallucinogens. It was first synthesized in 1956 and marketed as a veterinary medicine. The drug was then used as a human anesthetic for a short time but was discontinued because it frequently caused patients to behave erratically, unpredictably, and sometimes even violently.

PCP was made fully illegal for both human and animal use in 1978. Since then, it has grown in popularity as a recreational street drug. Users report a sense of euphoria, extreme physical strength, and dissociation (the feeling of ‘not being there’). In low doses, PCP generally has similar effects to other hallucinogenic drugs like LSD or ketamine. However, users have a much higher tendency to exhibit violent or irrational behaviors after taking PCP. Higher doses can lead to serious psychotic breaks and delusions. While PCP is highly addictive, recovery is possible with the help of PCP therapy.

Signs of PCP Use

If you’re concerned that someone close to you is using PCP, it’s worth learning the telltale signs of abuse. Some of the most common indicators include:

Facial Signs

PCP is a disocative muscle relaxant. Someone high on PCP may have a blank or expressionless face, often accompanied by rapid, involuntary eye movements. Users may stare blankly, look pale, and develop pasty skin with long-term use. If you notice these signs, your loved one may struggle with a PCP habit.

Slurred Speech

Slurred speech is another indicator of PCP use. If the person struggles to hold a conversation, has reduced coordination, and doesn’t always make sense, PCP could be the culprit. Look out for dramatic changes in the speed, frequency, or clarity of the person’s speech.

Dissociative Behavior

When people take PCP, it can make them feel detached from their environment or person; this is known as dissociation. From the user’s perspective, the real world can seem distant and dreamlike. From the perspective of others, disassociation can be scary to witness. Users may move mindlessly, unaware of their environment and unable to communicate. In a disassociative state, people are risks to both themselves and others.

Medical Indicators

PCP users may also exhibit various medical issues, including an increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and irregular breathing. The role of PCP in mental health disorders is also significant. Heavy users may experience delusions, psychosis, and other mental disorders. The risk of mental illness increases with long-term use.

Long-Term Effects of PCP Addiction

While not physically addictive, PCP can be extremely habit-forming. Long-term PCP abuse can have serious consequences for the user and those around them. Long-term PCP addicts can experience a range of lasting neurological problems, including:

  • Memory loss
  • Speech issues
  • Impaired reasoning

Individuals who have used PCP for an extended period are also prone to extreme irritability, often leading to violent outbursts. Furthermore, they are more likely to suffer psychological issues like depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

Aside from the physical and mental toll of PCP addiction, many users struggle with social issues. Unemployment, excessive spending, and other addictive behaviors are common among those who abuse PCP. Most addicts see important personal and professional relationships break down as they continue to use PCP.

What Does PCP Therapy Involve?

The most difficult part of PCP therapy is accepting help in the first place. Having the bravery to conquer addiction is the biggest gift an addict can give themselves and the people who care about them. So what does residential treatment for PCP addiction look like? Everyone’s journey is unique, but here are a few things you can expect from a course in PCP therapy:


Detox is the starting point of PCP therapy. Medication-Assisted Therapy is often used to help heavy users deal with withdrawal symptoms. A psychiatrist may also prescribe other medications to help treat any co-existing mental issues.

Co-Occurring Assessment

Addiction can be worsened and compounded by co-occurring and pre-existing mental health problems. Patients can talk to a psychiatrist who will help them understand and tackle any underlying issues as part of their treatment.

Individual Therapy

Talking therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help PC addicts move forward with their lives. CBT puts a strong emphasis on identifying unproductive behavioral patterns and replacing them with more beneficial ones. Beneficial behaviors can include receptiveness to changing their lifestyle, staying away from triggers, and learning new coping mechanisms to deal with triggers.

Aftercare and Support

Strong aftercare and support are essential for patients to succeed in their sobriety. There are plenty of groups and services on hand to support recovering PCP addicts. A licensed counselor or support group can help former users find new interests and passions while supporting them in their ongoing journey.

Move Forward With PCP Therapy

If PCP addiction is becoming a problem for you or your family, you must seek help immediately. The sooner you get the help you need, the better the chances of a full recovery. At Comprehensive Wellness Centers, we understand how difficult it is to seek help. We offer comprehensive PCP therapy to help you get your life back. You deserve sobriety, and we’re here to support you. Reach out to our admissions team and get the help you need today.