Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology

Living Edition
| Editors: Ian P. Stolerman, Lawrence H. Price

Hallucinogen Abuse and Dependence

  • John H. HalpernEmail author
  • Joji Suzuki
  • Pedro E. Huertas
  • Torsten Passie
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27772-6_43-2


Hallucinogen abuse and dependence are known complications resulting from the illicit use of drugs in this category, such as LSD and psilocybin. Users do not experience withdrawal symptoms, but the general criteria for substance abuse and dependence otherwise apply. Dependence is estimated in approximately 2 % of recent-onset users in the United States. Acute hallucinogen intoxication may induce a plethora of physical and psychological effects that can become so overwhelming to the user as to result in seeking emergency psychiatric care. Providing supportive psychotherapy usually proves effective, though sometimes the use of a sedative hypnotic for anxiety is indicated in addition. No randomized controlled trials have examined treatments of hallucinogen abuse or dependence, but standard treatments (motivational interviewing, relapse prevention, outpatient counseling, participation in self-help groups, family therapy) should still be offered.

Role of Pharmacotherapy


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Halpern
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joji Suzuki
    • 2
  • Pedro E. Huertas
    • 1
  • Torsten Passie
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Alcohol and Drug AbuseMcLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, The Laboratory for Integrative PsychiatryBelmontUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Addiction Psychiatry Service, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and PsychotherapyHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany