La Hacienda's Treatment and Recovery Blog

Deliriant | La Hacienda

Deliriant

Deliriants have long been used for medicinal and religious purposes. They are also involved in recreational use. However, when taking drugs like deliriants, you’ll want to know what their characteristics are, where the drugs came from, and how they affect your mind and body. This article has background information about deliriants and ceasing their use.

Deliriant – Anticholinergic Drugs

Hallucinogenic Drugs | La Hacienda

A deliriant is a special class of dissociative anesthetic drugs that is derived from several common deliriant plants, including Datura and Brugmansia. Deliriants cause a state of delirium, thus their name. They induce characteristic hyperactivity and dream-like hallucinations. 

In cholinergic physiology, anticholinergic drugs like scopolamine and atropine are relatively well-studied. However, deliriants are the least-studied class of hallucinogens when it comes to their behavioral and neurological phenotypes. 

The term deliriant is also used to differentiate from psychedelic drugs and dissociatives, including ketamine and LSD, because deliriants cause less-disturbed states.

Coined in the 1980s, the term deliriant was meant to separate anticholinergic drugs from several other mind-altering substances coming from psychoactive plants.

Psychoactive Plants

Common deliriant plants, including those that belong to the Solanaceae family, are used in some traditions, rituals, and divination to produce a delirious state. In North America and South America, datura was utilized for creating magical potions, while mandrake was used in the 15th century for European witchcraft. Moreover, deliriants, like henbane and deadly nightshade, were used as ingredients for different potions for witchcraft and black magic.

Angels Trumpets may be found in plant nurseries. While their flowers are often used in landscaping and gardens, they are also poisonous. Their alkaloids make them deadly when ingested.

Use in Basic Medicine

Pharmaceutical companies use a few deliriant alkaloids to create synthetic drugs. Some examples include relatively well studied drugs that are used daily worldwide like Benadryl and Dramamine, which are used to manage allergies and motion sickness respectively.

While multiple plants have fully legal status, they are still not as famous as other recreational substances primarily because of the unpleasant nature of hallucinations and their destructive cognitive and physical effects in general.

Deliriants’ Potentially Dangerous Mental Effects

Deliriants cause hallucinations and delirium, which include utter confusion, agitation, dysphoria, and stupor. Compared to other hallucinogenic drugs that cause pseudohallucinations, deliriants primary effect is they produce realistic hallucinations.

These hallucinations include having lifelike conversations with imagined individuals and not recognizing oneself in the mirror, causing angry reactions to the stranger mimicking the user. Moreover, the effects are compared to sleepwalking, psychotic episodes, and a fugue state. 

Individuals who take high doses of deliriants can experience potentially dangerous mental effects. Deliriant experiences often lead to accidents. Moreover, tropane alkaloids, like the ones present in datura plants, are deadly. They can cause hyperthermia, hypoventilation, and tachycardia-induced heart failure. 

Central Nervous System Effects

A 2018 study explored the hallucinogenic drugs’ effects on the central nervous system  through experimental animal models. For instance, in rodent models, hallucinogens lead to head twitches and sleep-like slow wave activities.

Significant effects of these drugs include memory impairment, drowsiness, delusions, blurred visions, agitation, restlessness, and photophobia. Researchers also parallel experimental and clinical findings on deliriant agents and outline future directions of research in the field. 

Various Animal Models

Animal models used in biomedical research help further understand deliriant-like conditions and can be used to develop drugs with better therapeutic effects. However, hallucinations in humans vary per report, so modeling the hallucinations-like states in animals is particularly challenging.

Moreover, it’s recommended to comprehensively evaluate signaling pathways when using deliriants. These include learning about the different major drug groups. For example, for blood and blood forming organs, anticoagulants and thrombolytics have the most potent effects. For the brain and nervous system, you have analgesics, anesthetics, anxiolytics, antidepressants, and more.

Deliriants are present in different classes of drugs as well. For example, anticholinergics include scopolamine and atropine, while antihistamines include doxylamine, cyclizine, and chlorpheniramine.    

In Russia at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, a study was done on zebrafish to determine a sensitivity screen for deliriant psychotropic agents. The same scientist did a study on experimental animal models. Andrey Volgin is part of these studies to understand the central nervous system effects of deliriant hallucinogenic drugs.

To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved medications to treat hallucinogenic drug abuse. Moreover, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more research is needed to verify the efficacy of therapies in addressing the misuse and abuse of hallucinogens.

Addiction to Psychedelics and Hallucinogens

Historically, hallucinogens, including dissociatives, deliriants, and psychedelic drugs, were commonly used for religious rituals. They’re also examined as therapeutic agents to manage dementia, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other diseases linked to perceptual distortions. However, these hallucinogenic drugs are also used for recreational and social purposes. People use hallucinogenic drugs to manage stress and uplift their mood.

Unfortunately, using deliriants including antimuscarinic cholinergic drugs which induce characteristic hyperactivity and dream-like hallucinations and can lead to a serious drug problem. There are several risk factors for abusing psychedelic drugs.

Medicinal and Religious Purposes | La Hacienda

Reconsidered experimental and clinical findings have shown both positive and negative in understanding individual central nervous system effects based on working with experimental animal models.

In addition, a family history of alcohol and drug abuse, being raised in a household with hallucinogen abuse as a common problem, childhood trauma, and belonging to a peer group that uses hallucinogens.

Other factors of abusing psychedelics are poor mental health, easy access to hallucinogenic drugs, and the desire to belong to a group.

Symptoms of Addiction to Deliriants and Psychedelic Drugs

Hallucinogen addiction symptoms can be mental, behavioral, and physical. For physical symptoms, you may experience the following: 

  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Increased heart rates
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of balance and control of body movements
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Strange perceptions of time
  • Heightened emotions and senses
  • Higher body temperature

Moreover, you may experience various mental and behavioral symptoms, such as:

  • Panic and paranoia
  • Loss of memory
  • Loss of interest in typical activities
  • Euphoric feelings and depressive states afterward
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Depression
  • Excessive relaxation or lethargy
  • Detachment

Treatment for Psychedelics and Hallucinogens at La Hacienda

Hallucinogens such as deliriants may not be used as often as opioids and alcohol. However, one can still suffer from addictions to them, causing auditory and visual hallucinations and a sense of disconnection from reality.

Mixing hallucinogens with psychoactive substances can also lead to overdose and even death.

If you or a family member struggle with hallucinogenic drug abuse, La Hacienda Treatment Center’s admission team can help you find answers.

Detoxification and Inpatient Treatment 

Inpatient treatment at a residential treatment center like La Hacienda is suitable for those who have a long history of substance abuse. We treat the body, mind and spirit.

Following a thorough assessment, patients who need it are placed our detoxification unit for medically supervised care of withdrawal symptoms. They then begin individual and group therapy sessions.

A basic part of treatment at La Hacienda is learning the first four steps of the 12-step program from members of our Alumni department. Doctors and other professionals also address patients about the impacts of substance abuse and information helpful in recovery, such as the dangers of some prescription drugs.

During clinical treatment–normally about 30 days–patients daily visit with a member of the medical staff and have access to nursing care 24/7.

La Hacienda’s medical team includes psychiatrists who understand biological psychiatry and see mental disorders in terms of biological functions of the nervous system. La Hacienda also treats patients with co-occurring disorders.

Other therapeutic activities include group participation in our ropes course and a four-day Family Program, free to the relatives and close friends of patients.

Final Thoughts 

Hallucinogenic drugs like deliriants have a millennia-long history of use for religious, recreational, and medicinal purposes. Deliriants represent a rapidly growing, separate group. Many people are using the drugs in small doses and increasing to higher doses.

Like other hallucinogens, deliriants can lead to abuse and addiction.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, you can seek help from La Hacienda.