Mushrooms can be abused due to their intoxicating effects. However, this refers to specific mushrooms known as psychoactive or psychedelic mushrooms. They contain a substance known as psilocybin that will alter how your brain works. Taking them, to this end, can cause you to experience a loss of coordination, as well as drowsiness and hallucinations.
Although this drug isn't exactly addictive, it can cause you to suffer lasting psychological changes. Mushrooms are also known as psychedelics because they can alter your thought processes, mood, and perception. Read on to find out more:
What Are They?
Also known as shrooms or magic mushrooms, psilocybin mushrooms refer to hallucinogenic mushrooms that contain psilocybin. These mushrooms are commonly abused because of the psychedelic effects that they cause - which can lead to mind-altering effects.
They were traditionally used by indigenous communities in their bid to try and connect to the magic or spirit world. However, they became popular throughout the 1960s because of the hippie culture and movement. Today, these mushrooms are commonly abused by people attending music festivals and raves.
The government made them illegal in the 1970s. However, they are still commonly abused. If you engage in this form of substance abuse, you will typically eat these mushrooms while they are still fresh or dry. You can also brew them into a concoction similar to regular tea.
Other people, however, bake these mushrooms into foods like cakes and cookies before eating them. Alternatively, they dry them up before crushing them into powder form for sniffing, injection, and swallowing in capsule form.
What Are The Effects?
Irrespective of the mode of administration, you will typically experience the effects of mushrooms anywhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours after ingestion. These effects will last from 3 to 6 hours, and may include:
However, there are instances when these effects may last for as many as 3 days. Due to these effects, you may continue abusing mushrooms - particularly because they cause feelings of relaxation and changes in your perception of time.
Mushrooms work on the CNS - the central nervous system. They interrupt the regular and normal interaction of various nerve cells as well as the functioning of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is similar to their contents.
As a result, the psilocybin component will affect you in different ways. However, these effects will largely depend on a wide variety of factors. These include but are not limited to the dosage of the drug, the type of mushrooms you ingested, the setting in which you abused this drug, as well as your age.
Some of the effects that are associated with psilocybin intake include but are not limited to:
- A sense of inflated happiness and well-being
- Altered perceptions of time and space
- Auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations
- Difficulty focusing
- Dry mouth
- Elevated and euphoric mood
- Enhanced perceptions of reality
- Excessive sweating
- Facial flushing
- Feelings of floating
- Feelings of unity and peace with the environment
- Frightening hallucinations
- Hearing colors
- Heightened sensory experiences
- High blood pressure
- Impaired judgment
- Inability to tell the difference between fantasy and reality
- Increased heart rate
- Intense spiritual experiences
- Lack of coordination
- Lowered or lack of inhibitions
- Melding of your past experiences with the present
- Muscle spasms
- Perceptual distortions
- Pupil dilation
- Seeing sounds
- Synesthesia (where your senses get mixed up)
Although some of these effects tend to be pleasurable and they will keep you looking for more mushrooms, most of them can turn out to be problematic. For instance, you might hallucinate to a point where you cause others harm or end up enduring physical pain. If you continue abusing these drugs, you may also experience psychosis that lasts in the long term.
Additionally, you may experience a mushroom trip that could turn out to be dangerous. This is particularly true if you dissociate yourself from reality. In such a situation, you may start believing that you are in a different universe or that you have superhuman powers. As a result, you could commit dangerous and harmful acts like jumping out of a building.
Signs to Look for If Someone is Abusing Mushrooms
But how can you tell if someone has been abusing mushrooms? Essentially, it might be increasingly obvious that your loved one has been taking these drugs. This is particularly true because the trips tend to be intense. In such a situation, they may display the following symptoms of mushroom abuse:
- Aggressive behavior
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in perception
- Changes in personality
- Changes in their reality
- Depressed thoughts
- Dilated pupils
- Distorted perceptions
- Engaging in illegal or unusual behaviors in a bid to acquire more mushrooms
- Hearing tastes
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased euphoric experiences
- Increased pulse rate
- Increased tolerance to the mushrooms
- Paranoid thoughts
- Seeing colors
- Spending more money and time on the drugs
- Stealing and lying to acquire more mushrooms
- Tasting sounds
- Using different types of mushrooms while trying to achieve the same effects
Short and Long Term Symptoms of Mushrooms Addiction
Typically, mushrooms are not physically addictive. However, they can turn out to be habit forming. If you continue abusing them, you may become tolerant to their effects rather quickly.
When this happens, you will increasingly find that you have been taking mushrooms in higher doses or more frequently than you used to. Only by so doing would you be able to derive the pleasurable effects that your brain has come to associate with this drug.
Tolerance to mushrooms often lasts for a couple of days. It can also cause cross-tolerance with any other psychedelic that may be available to you - such as LSD, DMT, and mescaline.
However, mushrooms do not cause physical addiction. As a result, they may not be able to lead to actual brain damage. Additionally, these drugs have low levels of toxicity and you may not always exhibit withdrawal symptoms if you discontinue their use.
Although mushrooms might not least to physical addiction, it is possible that you could become psychologically addicted to them, or at least to the effects that they cause. As a result, you may continue abusing this drug while trying to seek these pleasurable effects.
When this happens, you may start displaying some of the common symptoms of a drug addiction:
- Compulsive use of mushrooms even when such use causes you to experience psychological or physical problems
- Continuing to take psilocybin mushrooms in spite of the social and interpersonal problems caused by your use
- Failing to fulfill some of your obligations at work, home, or school due to your ongoing mushroom use
- Finding that you are no longer able to cut down or reduce your use of mushrooms
- Inability to quit your use of the drug
- Needing to take mushrooms in higher amounts to achieve the desired effects
- Neglecting the recreational, occupational, or social activities that you used to engage in so that you can continue taking mushrooms
- Powerful urges to use the drug
- Spending a great deal of your time and money trying to acquire and use the drug
- Strong cravings to take mushrooms
- Taking mushrooms even in hazardous and dangerous situations, like while you are driving
- Using mushrooms for longer time periods or more often than you used to, or than you originally attended
Mushroom Overdose Risks
When you take mushrooms, their early psychotic effects are likely to last anywhere between 4 and 6 hours. However, if you use them in high doses, there is a risk that you could experience other adverse effects.
Even so, it might not be possible for you to experience physical overdose as a result of taking this drug. However, there is a high risk that you could suffer the following effects if you use mushrooms in excess:
- A frighteningly intense and long lasting drug experience
- Although rare, you could suffer complete psychological collapse
- An extended trip experience
- Delusional thinking
- Extreme paranoia
- Feeling like you have lost control over your life
- Frightening hallucinations
- Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (or HPPD)
- High blood pressure
- Inability to distinguish between external and internal cognition
- Increased heart rate
- Intense panic attacks
- Suicidal ideation
- Unexpected flashbacks
Best Options for Recovery
The best way to overcome your mushrooms abuse and addiction is by checking into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program. The program will offer you a wide variety of recovery services designed to ensure that you no longer need to abuse this drug, or depend on its various effects to be able to derive pleasure out of your life.
Examples of these services include medically managed detoxification to help you overcome your physical tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and cravings for mushrooms. After that, you will be offered evidence based or alternative therapies such as individual and group counseling, aftercare planning, addiction education, skills training, and relapse prevention.
As always, the earlier you are able to seek addiction treatment for your mushrooms abuse, the easier it might be for you to overcome your tolerance to and dependence on this drug.
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