Shrooms Addiction: Statistics, Side Effects, Dangers, Symptoms of Addiction, Withdrawal & Treatment
Shrooms Addiction: What are magic shrooms?
Magic mushrooms are hallucinogenic drugs containing the chemical Psilocybin, meaning they can cause you to see, hear, and feel sensations that seem real but are not. Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic chemical obtained from certain types of fresh and dried mushrooms.
However, the effects of magic mushrooms are highly variable and believed to be influenced by environmental factors. Shrooms have a long history of being associated with spiritual experiences and self-discovery. Many believe that naturally occurring drugs like magic mushrooms, weed, and mescaline are sacred herbs that enable people to attain superior spiritual states. Others take magic mushrooms to experience a sense of euphoria, connection, and a distorted sense of time.
The psilocybin found in shrooms is converted to psilocin in the body and is believed to influence serotonin levels in the brain, leading to altered and unusual perceptions. Its effects take 20 to 40 minutes to begin and can last up to 6 hours—the same amount of time it takes for psilocin to be metabolized and excreted. Many people develop addiction due to its chemical effects on the brain. Magic mushrooms are often prepared by drying and are eaten by being mixed into food or drinks, although some people eat freshly picked magic shrooms.
Shrooms Addiction: Statistics
The use of magic mushrooms is fairly common, with at least 17% of those aged between 21 to 26 having used a psychedelic at some point in their lifetime. More males than females have been affected. Although the information on people who have ended up in the emergency department following ingestion of magic mushrooms is scant, a good number of individuals have cited this drug as the cause of the most challenging ‘bad trip’ they ever experienced.
Shrooms Addiction: How Long Does it Take to Feel the Effects?
You can usually feel the effects of shrooms around 30 minutes after ingesting them, but it depends on how you consume them. Fresh or dried mushrooms can be eaten on their own, mixed with food, or steeped in hot water or tea. In tea, shrooms can kick in as fast as 5 to 10 minutes after ingestion.
Shrooms Addiction: Duration of the Effects
Shrooms trips typically last between 4 and 6 hours, though some people may feel effects a lot longer. After your trip, you’re likely to have some lingering effects that can last into the next day. Bad trips can be harder to shake off. Certain factors can make some effects linger longer and increase the likelihood of a comedown or hangover.
The factors that can affect the severity and duration of shrooms’ effects include:
- How much do you take
- The mushroom species
- How you consume them
- Whether you eat dried or fresh shrooms (dried ones are more potent)
- Your age
- Your expectations and frame of mind
- Having a preexisting mental health condition
- Any other substances you might’ve taken
Within 24 hours, though, most people go back to feeling like themselves.
Shrooms Addiction: Common Side Effects
Generally, mushroom abuse is not as life-threatening as with other drugs like Opioids or Stimulants; however, users can experience mushroom poisoning. Other side effects of shrooms include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate
- Feelings of floating
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Lowered inhibitions
- Excessive sweating
- Synesthesia (mixing up senses)
- Altered perception
- Unpredictable hallucinations
- Muscle spasms
- Elevated, euphoric mood
- Sense of inflated well-being
- Enhanced perception of reality
- Elevated blood pressure
Continued use of magic mushrooms can create long-term psychosis. Research by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found that even one strong dose of Psilocybin Mushrooms can alter a person’s personality for more than a year, and perhaps permanently.
Shrooms Addiction: Are Shrooms Illegal?
Under federal law, the possession or distribution of magic mushrooms is illegal. These are schedule 1 drugs. Any drug in this category has no known medical use and has a high potential for abuse. However, since the beginning of 2010, different states have started decriminalizing the use of magic mushrooms, citing potential health benefits. Oakland, Colorado, Santa Cruz, and Massachusetts are some of the states that have decriminalized psilocybin. In other words, adult possession and cultivation for personal use are not illegal. It should be noted that cultivation for commercial use is still illegal.
Shrooms Addiction: Drug Tests
It’s hard to give a definitive answer because there are so many different drug tests available, and some are a lot more sensitive than others. That said, most routine drug tests can’t detect shrooms. More specialized tests may be able to, though. The detection windows vary from test to test, too. Most routine drug tests are urine tests.
Most people’s bodies eliminate shrooms within 24 hours. It shows that a trace amount may be detected in urine for a week in some people. In general, though, shrooms don’t show up on most routine drug tests. The body also metabolizes shrooms too fast for them to show up in blood or saliva tests (unless the test is done within a few hours of consumption). As for hair, hair follicle tests can detect shrooms for up to 90 days.
Factors that Affect the Detection of shrooms in a drug test
Certain factors can affect how long shrooms hang around in your system.
- The Time Between Ingestion and Testing: Hallucinogens like psilocybin are eliminated from the body quickly. Still, the time between ingesting shrooms and testing could be a factor — if the correct type of test is used, of course.
- Mushroom Species: The amount of the hallucinogen varies from shroom to shroom.
- Method of Use: Whether you consume it dried or fresh, scarf it down on its own, hide it in a burger, or drink it in tea, how you consume your shroom dose affects potency and how quickly it passes through your body.
- Dose: Again, how much you consume plays a significant role. The more you ingest, the longer shrooms will be in your body and possibly detectable.
Shrooms Addiction: Dangers of Mushrooms consumption & addiction
People have reported taking mushrooms to be less damaging than any other hallucinogen or addictive substance. These include illicit or prescription drugs and even alcohol. However, one should certainly take into consideration the various negative effects of mushrooms. In as much as psilocybin mushrooms will be labeled as such, the possibility of consuming poisonous varieties is very real. The result would be adverse systemic effects and even death in some cases depending on the strain and amount ingested.
In people with pre-existing mental disorders, mushrooms’ drug use can produce unprecedented effects. Increased incidences of suicidal ideations have been reported in a section of mentally unstable patients who use magic mushrooms.
‘Bad trips’ are not uncommon with psilocybin mushrooms. The user will experience intense changes in perception leading to confusion, agitation, panic, and even brief psychotic episodes. Although not all individuals will experience bad trips, new users and individuals with pre-existing mental instability are more prone. This cannot be a reliable way of predicting who gets to have a bad trip.
Shrooms Addiction: Long-term Dangers
A section of one-time users has reported changes in perception lasting up to 14 months after taking mushrooms. Although this phenomenon has not been seen in all users, it’s a pointer to the uncertainty surrounding the long-term effects of magic mushroom consumption. People who consume mushrooms for a prolonged period may experience the following effects:
- Disconnected thoughts
- Various changes in thinking patterns
- False beliefs that have no basis or delusions
- Continuous hallucinations
- Volatile mood
- Lack of organized behavior
- Constant forgetfulness
Some of the scary effects in the long term have connections to the mental state of the user. One can develop some conditions. They are paranoid thinking, inability to distinguish reality from fantasy, psychosis, and schizophrenia. It’s even worse for patients with a mental disorder. This is because shrooms can worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia and paranoia.
A study conducted in 2011 by Roland R. Griffiths suggests that a single, high dose of the drug found in mushrooms (psilocybin) can cause long-term personality changes in its users. There was an increase in the personality dimension of openness, which was still measurable a year after the experiment. It was suggested that the mystical experiences users have while under the influence may be the underlying cause of lasting change.
Another one of the scary effects is a phenomenon called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder. Long after using psilocybin, users have reported distorted perception of size, perception of halos and objects in the peripheral field of vision, and blurring small patterns. These occurrences that mimic the effect of acute hallucinogen intoxication are usually spontaneous. Vivid flashbacks will usually come to individuals during a drug-free period. It will be as if the individual is intoxicated.
Like any substance, someone can become dependent for different reasons. The more someone uses, the more they may begin to crave the substance. In some cases, individuals may prefer to combine psilocybin with another substance (like LSD) for a different effect. For this reason, people are more likely to become psychologically addicted to psilocybin than physically addicted.
The severity of dependence or addiction often depends on the number of mushrooms someone consumes. People curious about mushrooms can become dependent because of the mind-altering effects and the unpredictability of good or bad “trips.” Someone increasing their frequency of psilocybin mushroom use may isolate themselves to use, start using in combination with other drugs, or show an increased tolerance. The next step may be to contact a treatment provider for rehab, or family members may need to hold an intervention.
Signs And Symptoms Of Shrooms Addiction
By being a hallucinogen, magic mushrooms can produce changes in perception, thinking, and even sense of time. Over time, shroom tolerance also develops. The following symptoms might point towards an addiction problem:
- Continuous hallucinations
- Changes in perception
- Increased pulse rate
- Altered reality such as seeing colors, hearing tastes, or tasting sounds
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Flashes from the past
- Increased sense of happiness
- Increased blood pressure
- Mood swings/volatile behavior
- Uncontrolled aggressive behavior
- Changes in appetite
- Obsession with spirituality
- Abnormal desire to find themselves
- Mixing dreams with reality
- Changes in personality and appearance
- Lack of responsibilities
- Continual paranoid thoughts
A manifestation of any of the above will more often than not be a telltale sign of addiction to psilocybin. Such in a loved one, relative, or friend should prompt one to seek professional help.
Shrooms Addiction: Withdrawal
Not only can someone abusing Magic Mushrooms become accustomed to the altered state of mind that they bring, but the user can also begin to have trouble living in the ‘real world’. They may have memory loss and continue using psilocybin to maintain their altered state. Some users suffer from flashbacks from the hallucinogenic drug, fatigue, and irritability. Users going through withdrawal may experience confusion and difficulty determining reality from imagination.
Shrooms Addiction Treatment
Avoiding the signs of withdrawal symptoms and side effects is hard. Experts often recommend a slight decrease in the mushroom dosage. As such, removing the abuser gently off the substance. Furthermore, there are times when they might have to conduct sensory stimulation. They do this to reduce HPPD (Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder) symptoms. It’s done to prevent or control seizures and agitation. Finally, usage of benzodiazepines may also have to be used during mushroom detox.
Receiving detox treatment is always a better option than undergoing detox alone. A shrooms abuser who wants to quit should enter a reliable detox center, where they can be supervised by medical experts who can offer proper treatment.
When a person enters a shroom detox center, they will go through many steps of recovery. One of those steps would be receiving behavioral-based therapy. Another step may include CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy). Lastly, upon completing rehab, which can last from a few days to a few weeks. The patient will have a few options to choose from as far as their further treatment goes. They can opt for the following:
- Outpatient Therapies And Programs
- Motivational Interviewing
- Multidimensional Family Therapy
- Motivational Incentives
Reclaim your life from Shrooms Addiction
Shrooms Addiction is a serious condition that can cause severe health, social and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up Treatment Center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from the addiction with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) (www.dea.gov)