The Effects Of DMT
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a Hallucinogenic drug that’s been gaining popularity in recent years. DMT is a Schedule I drug which means it is illegal to possess, manufacture, and distribute it in the United States and it is considered to have no approved medical use. The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health states that 1.4 million Americans aged 12 or older are current Hallucinogen users, and the number of people using DMT has been increasing since 2007. This drug has low addictive properties and has even been shown to aid some people who have treatment-resistant depression; however, there are still risks and potential adverse reactions when using DMT. In some cases, DMT treatment and rehab may be necessary, especially for those with polysubstance abuse tendencies.
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The naturally occurring chemical compound tryptamine is found in serotonin and melatonin, as well as in drugs like Psilocybin and DMT. Young adults who use other drugs, especially psychedelic drugs, report a higher prevalence of tryptamine use. Combining drugs or combining drugs and alcohol is dangerous and can even result in death. There have been reports of users experiencing episodes of psychotic mania after consuming a DMT/Cannabis solution.
When it is not prepared in a brew (Ayahuasca), DMT is usually smoked. It can also be injected or snorted, but these methods are less common. When smoked, the effects of DMT take hold almost immediately. DMT is sometimes referred to as one of the most intense psychedelics, as it renders the user incapacitated and causes visual and auditory hallucinations that make the user feel as though they are outside of their body. Many people who have taken DMT describe the trip as traveling to another universe, such as one experience detailed in The Third Wave: “The nature around me rapidly began to disappear, as if its resolution decreased from 4k down to a pixelated mess. The trees became blobs, the shaman’s body became a stick, his curly dark hair now resembling the phosphorous head of a match.”
Hallucinogen And DMT Treatment
Oftentimes when someone seeks treatment after taking a Hallucinogen, it is because they have experienced a “bad trip.” A bad trip is when someone has an adverse psychological reaction to a drug and, instead of experiencing an enlightening feeling, they experience feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression that persist long after the experience. Hallucinations may be nightmarish, producing feelings of terror; the user may feel out of control, despaired, or that they may die. Patients have been known to hurt themselves while experiencing a bad trip, and professional treatment must be sought. Benzodiazepines may be prescribed to ease extreme agitation or seizures; most often, a quiet environment with little sensory stimulation will be provided while the patient comes down.
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Currently, there are no FDA approved medications to treat addiction to DMT or other Hallucinogens. Those seeking DMT treatment may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to identify and modify attitudes and behaviors towards drug abuse and focus on healthy life skills and coping mechanisms. Starting treatment begins with detoxification, followed by behavioral counseling and medication if needed. Being evaluated for co-occurring mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or trauma, is important so those issues can be addressed as well. An aftercare plan should be put together so the patient has resources to avoid relapse. Joining a 12-step program may also be beneficial to some patients; they can connect with a community that will encourage them to continue on a path towards achieving their goals of sobriety.
DMT Rehab Options
Deciding on the right drug rehabilitation process depends on the individual’s needs. Someone with a severe addiction may benefit from residential treatment, also called inpatient rehab, where they live at a facility and have access to care 24 hours a day. Long-term residential treatment lasts 6 to 12 months, and short-term residential treatment lasts 3 to 6 weeks. Removing oneself from day-to-day life allows the patient to focus solely on their recovery as well as be held accountable by staff and other patients which make up a supportive community. For someone with a less severe addiction or who has already completed inpatient rehab, an outpatient treatment program may be beneficial. These programs let people receive treatment during the day and then return home at night. The schedule and level of intensity depends on the needs of the patient.
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Should I Seek Out DMT Treatment And Rehab?
Although DMT and other Hallucinogens are not considered drugs with high addictive properties, it is still possible to develop a tolerance; more of the drug must be taken to achieve the same effects. It is also possible to develop a behavioral addiction and a belief that it is necessary to keep taking psychedelic drugs to maintain feelings of happiness and enlightenment. If you or a loved one is abusing DMT, other illicit drugs, or a combination of various drugs, there are reasons to be concerned. DMT has been known to increase heart rate and blood pressure, and cardiac and respiratory arrest have occurred after consuming high doses. Contact a treatment provider if you have any rehab-related questions.
Hayley Hudson is the Digital Media Manager at Addiction Center. She earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Central Florida and has 6 years of professional writing experience. A passion for writing led her to a career in journalism, and she worked as a news reporter for 3 years, focusing on stories in the healthcare and wellness industry. Knowledge in healthcare led to an interest in drug and alcohol abuse, and she realized how many people are touched by addiction.
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2018). Trends in DMT and Other Tryptamine Use Among Young Adults in the United States. Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6182767/
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://www.etsu.edu/human-resources/documents/2017nsduh_annual_report.pdf
- National Library of Medicine. (2015). Recreational use, analysis and toxicity of tryptamines. Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26074742/
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2017). Ayahuasca, dimethyltryptamine, and psychosis: a systematic review of human studies. Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5433617/
- Talk to Frank. DMT. Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://www.talktofrank.com/drug/dimethyltryptamine
- The Third Wave. (2017). Where Does DMT Take You? Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://thethirdwave.co/dmt-story/
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). How Do Hallucinogens (LSD, Psilocybin, Peyote, DMT, and Ayahuasca) Affect the Brain and Body? Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/hallucinogens-dissociative-drugs/how-do-hallucinogens-lsd-psilocybin-peyote-dmt-ayahuasca-affect-brain-body
- VA Health Care. (2013). Hallucinogens - LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP. Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://www.mirecc.va.gov/cih-visn2/Documents/Provider_Education_Handouts/Hallucinogens_Information_Sheet_for_BHPs_Version_3.pdf
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Commonly Used Drugs Charts. Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/commonly-used-drugs-charts#dmt
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts. Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Types of Treatment Programs. Retrieved July 30, 2020 at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs
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Dayna Smith Slade is the President and CEO of Substance Abuse Solutions, L.L.C., a unique and innovative substance abuse consulting firm based in Northern Virginia. Her Small, Women, and Minority owned (SWaM) firm is committed to increasing drug and alcohol awareness in the community and decreasing the prevalence and debilitating impact of substance abuse. Dayna is a seasoned counselor with experience in a variety of therapeutic milieus. She is a dynamic public speaker that has been the featured trainer at national conferences and the featured guest on local television and radio talk shows.
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