DMT Abuse and Addiction

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What is DMT?

So, just what is DMT? Dimethyltryptamine, widely known as DMT, is a psychedelic drug with hallucinogenic properties. According to’s Hallucinogens DrugFacts, it is an active ingredient in the ayahuasca plant, which has been primarily used for religious rituals in South America for millennia.

The growth of this substance occurs naturally in many plants and animals, but after ingesting this chemical as a recreational drug, it becomes more concentrated and potent (more so unregulated). The substance’s hallucinogenic properties intensify changes to your senses, leading you to have visual and auditory hallucinations, more often simultaneously than not. When abused recreationally, the effects of this substance occur after just 15 minutes.

DMT Attaches to the Serotonin Receptors

DMT attaches to the serotonin receptors in your brain after ingesting. These wildly changing levels of serotonin can cause visual distortions or hallucinations. Your brain then begins to interpret visual, and sometimes even auditory, input much differently than you are used to on any given day.

People who experience these changes have reported observing fractals of light or a crystalline-like kaleidoscope. While the hallucinations you observe and their duration are usually brief, the person who experiences this kind of high will usually believe their hallucinations to be real. Some people who have abused this drug have reported that they can, and have, seen the underlying structure of the universe, otherwise known as “breaking through.”

DMT Effects on Your Brain and Body

The recreational use and abuse of DMT, or the ayahuasca plant, has been illegal in the United States since the early 1970s. While there are few hallucinogens that are considered addictive, DMT can be a potent drug, and it can damage your mental and even physical health. This can occur both in the short-term and in the long-term.

Short-Term Effects:

As stated, DMT is known for its near-immediate high. This is what brings about the “elevated” effects to your brain. But the short-term effects of DMT aren’t all as “exciting,” however. Common negative side effects from taking DMT even once, or in small amounts, may include, but are not limited to:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Chest pain or a feeling of tightness
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Dilated pupils

Long-Term Effects

DMT attaches itself to serotonin receptors in a similar fashion as antidepressants. This is because DMT dilutes your serotonin levels. Meaning that people who’ve taken large amounts of DMT are at risk of serotonin syndrome. Because your brain is flooded with too much serotonin and cannot process it, long-term side effects of serotonin syndrome can include:

  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • High blood pressure
  • Shivering
  • Goosebumps
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Headache

More serious symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:

  • High fever
  • Heart palpitations
  • Losing consciousness
  • Seizures

DMT has also been known to cause dehydration and hyperthermia. A person may even develop kidney and liver damage or damage their brain and heart with a high fever that can be onset from excessive use of this drug.

DMT and Mental Illness

Many people prone to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and even more serious conditions like schizophrenia, can and will trigger conditions such as these. This is because of the rapid and intense changes in your brain matter/chemistry that excessive use of DMT causes. When combined with other drugs such as opioids, antihistamines, amphetamines, and sedatives, DMT can lead to serious and even life-threatening mental side effects.

Depersonalization and the loss of one’s sense of self can lead to anxiety that lasts for days after you have abused this substance. Emotional side effects may last for a short time after the drug has left the system. They can also become drawn out, sometimes even causing permanent damage to your brain from abusing DMT.

Because hallucinations may have you feeling like you have lost control, you may develop apprehension. You may also feel paranoia and anxiety because your senses seem to be out of line with present reality. It may be difficult for a person to tell the difference between reality and fantasy even after the drug has worn off. This can lead to temporary or even permanent psychological issues.

Signs and Symptoms of DMT Abuse

Recreationally abusing this substance is not all too common, but it does happen. You may develop an addiction to DMT in more rare cases. We often identify addiction to DMT when you are romanticizing pleasurable hallucinations that lead to stronger cravings for the substance, which can lead to physical and mental harm.

Since it is illegal, any use of DMT in the U.S. is illegal. It is the abusive effects of DMT that you need to be aware of to avoid developing a problem. Some specific signs you may be becoming dependent on or addicted to DMT include, but are not limited to:

  • Having obsessive thoughts on using DMT
  • An inability to get DMT use under control when attempted
  • Continuing to use the drug even when it interferes with your daily functioning

What Kinds of Treatment are Available?

We have several different types of treatment plans available for when you’re experiencing dependency issues on DMT. First, we will explore if you need to undergo a detox. There are a few different options for your recovery, including inpatient and outpatient programs. We decide upon depends completely on your lifestyle and the recommendations from physicians, family members, and/or spouses. Together we’ll determine which plan will fit best according to your needs based on your situation.

Outpatient vs. Inpatient Recovery Programs

In most cases, you will have your choice of an inpatient or outpatient recovery program. Since this addiction is so rare, many people choose to pursue the outpatient route. Our outpatient programs are best suited to people who have managed to retain stability in their life for the most part while abusing drugs like this one. These patients will often continue to work and take part in their normal daily activities while getting the treatments they need.

That’s not to say inpatient treatment may not be right for you, especially if you are struggling with concurrent addictions. A benefit to inpatient treatment is that you will have 24/7 access to medical professionals. Our inpatient programs also offer support groups and let you speak with addiction counselors more frequently than you would in outpatient treatments. This can be incredibly useful during the withdrawal and detoxification processes for those suffering at the moment.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

We are not only focused on your rehabilitation when you are with us; but also your lifelong recovery as well. If you are interested in extended help, we highly encourage you to research our Intensive Outpatient Program. Our Intensive Outpatient Program provides much-needed group and individual counseling post-rehabilitation. This program is designed to coexist with people whose needs are to return to work or school.

DMT Addiction Treatment at Resurgence

At Resurgence Behavioral Health in Orange County, California, we are here to help and support you through finding your truest self while leaving your most destructive self behind. We understand what it takes to get you through your withdrawal and the emotional and psychological support you’ll need from us to become your best self. Please contact us today with questions or concerns.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.