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Magic Mushrooms Abuse and Addiction

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Psilocybin mushrooms, otherwise known as purple passion, magic mushrooms or shrooms, look very much like the mushroom you’d typically buy for cooking and eating. However, the psychedelic, or “magic” mushroom, is the ingredient of psilocybin that causes visual or auditory hallucinations in users. These shrooms are often sold as dried mushrooms or even crushed as well as in powder or tablet form

Effects of Psychedelic Mushrooms

Within the first 30 minutes of eating or consuming psychedelic mushrooms, you will start feeling its effects quite rapidly, but some users may still feel the effects for up to several days.  

These effects are varied and include:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Perception changes
  • Blurred vision
  • Lightheaded feelings
  • Shaking
  • Loss of energy
  • Weakness
  • Sleepiness and drowsiness
  • Decreased heart rate and blood pressure

FROM MUSHROOM ABUSE TO ADDICTION

When one chronically abuses magic mushrooms, it can result in a hallucinogen use disorder (Type 4) that can be highly addictive.

You might be severely addicted to mushrooms if you:

  • Continue to abuse magic mushrooms despite the adverse outcomes that result in a problematic pattern of use
  • Let go of work, school, family and other important relationships to obtain the drug
  • Use mushrooms regularly and cannot stop chronic use of the drug
  • Experience constant flashbacks

However, before becoming addicted to mushrooms, you might first develop physical dependence and tolerance. Dependence on psilocybin mushrooms as a therapy outlet is often used recreationally to maintain euphoria. In this way, therefore, magic mushrooms are habitually formed as a type of stress release.

When you are tolerant, your body is becoming used to having the drug in your body. Over time, you find yourself increasing your daily intake just to keep up with the desired effect. This is how your body becomes physically dependent on mushrooms to function normally.

Tolerance in psychedelic mushrooms develops rather rapidly because of the drug’s half-life. After reaching the peak of the drug’s effects, usually within 90 minutes, half of the drug’s dose leaves the blood via the kidneys and urinary tract. Because of this rapid tolerance, you will now have to consume twice as much to reach the initial effect. Being dependent on the drug creates a physical disorder as opposed to addiction, which may or may not include physical dependence.

However, mushroom addiction does not occur in everyone. In fact, an individual may not experience a craving for mushrooms while addiction can develop in another. As a type of hallucinogenic drug, mushrooms cause hallucinations and affects the way a user might perceive things.

People who abuse the drug tend to exhibit these addiction symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Perception changes
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Changes in reality such as seeing colors, hearing tastes or tasting sounds
  • Shaking
  • Flashbacks
  • Increased sense of euphoria
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Paranoid thoughts
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Depressed thoughts
  • Changes in appetite

In addition to physical and psychological symptoms, there are other mushroom addiction symptoms that cross paths with other kinds of drug use:

  • Increased tolerance to mushrooms
  • Engaging in unusual or illegal behaviors to gain more mushrooms
  • Using other types of mushrooms in the hopes of getting the same effects
  • Spending more money on the drugs
  • Stealing, lying or doing other things to get more mushrooms

The only way a user might become addicted is when a psychological craving for the mushrooms develops. The body may not need to be dependent on other shrooms, such as magic mushrooms or recreational psychedelics, which are not as addictive as the chemical properties in other substance drugs.

MAGIC MUSHROOM WITHDRAWAL TIMELINE

When use is discontinued, the process of withdrawal from mushrooms begins. Withdrawing completely from the drug depends on how long you’ve been on the drug, any mental and/or emotional histories, as well as health history and concurrent drugs that you may have used and their quantities.

While your tolerance to shrooms has built quickly over time, it also has the potential to leave. Usually, you’ll be tapered off the drug in a medically supervised detox center before quitting altogether, which extends the withdrawal period.



MUSHROOM WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS

The kind of mushroom withdrawal symptoms depends on the person. First, there is the possibility of depression knowing that you are working your way through cravings. There is where support and therapy groups can work through the pain of this addiction. You might also find yourself struggling with insomnia and the fact that you crave the drug is what is robbing you of sleep. Withdrawing from shrooms may require professional treatment and/or prescription sleep aids.  A final symptom is known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, or HPPD, which can cause one to relapse into usage.

OTHER FACTORS AFFECTING MUSHROOM DETECTION

Several factors can affect how long a substance can be detected in an individual’s system. Those include the frequency of use, the dose of mushrooms taken, genes, and the rate of metabolization as some people might metabolize the drug faster than others. The more mushrooms a person consumes, the longer it takes to metabolize them.

Other factors affecting the rate of detection include:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Race
  • Age
  • Smoking history
  • Alcohol use
  • Kidney health
  • Liver health
  • Existing medical conditions

MUSHROOM DRUG TREATMENT

The first stage of detox will not suffice for long-term recovery of psilocybin “magic” mushrooms. If you’ve been diagnosed with an addiction, you’ll be slowly tapered off the mushroom dosage. Treatment centers often recommend a mushroom recovery facility to ensure continued rehabilitation and ongoing recovery.

Here is a breakdown of what you might expect from a mushroom recovery program:

  •  You’ll receive behavioral-based therapy otherwise known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  •  You’ll be given the option to continue with outpatient therapies and programs including family therapy, motivational interviewing, and incentives

MAGIC MUSHROOMS DETOX

Because there is no physical dependence, there is also no official detox or withdrawal period of mushrooms. With that said, one’s psychological damage may be inflicted to a degree such that it becomes irreversible. Flushing out toxins of the poisonous mushrooms is a necessary part of the detoxification period.

In the cases where mushroom abusers might also consume other drugs such as PCP (phencyclidine), MDMA (3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine), and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), this simultaneous substance use increases your risk of developing multiple substance use disorders which will require medical treatment and complete detoxification. Often, a residential treatment center will be required to control and prevent additional brain damage and additional motor function impairment.



Sources

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. [2014]. Behavioral Health Trends in the United States. from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.gov. [2018]. Mushrooms. from https://drugfree.org/drug/mushrooms/

Nih.gov. [2015]. Psilocybin – public available psychodysleptic. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26400885

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