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Angel Dust Addiction Help & Treatment

    Angel Dust Addiction Help & Treatment

    Angel dust is a street name for phenylcyclohexylpiperidine, which is also known as PCP, rocket fuel, elephant tranquilizer, peace pull, and embalming fluid.

    It is now used as a recreational drug, but it was initially introduced as an intravenous anaesthetic in the 1950s.

    Doctors stopped using angel dust as an anaesthetic as it caused unpleasant side effects, such as irrationality, delusion, and agitation (1).

    It was also known to cause severe anxiety, dysphoria, and post-operative psychosis, so by 1967, it was only used as an animal tranquilizer (2).

    Nowadays, the drug is used recreationally for its ability to put individuals into a ‘trance-like state’ (3).

    People use this drug as a way to escape reality, as its short-term effects last for up to six hours, and in regular users, effects may even be felt for up to a week.

    How Can You Recognise Angel Dust?

    A woman taking a pill

    Angel dust usually comes in the form of a white powder, but it can also be a capsule, tablet, pill, oil, or crystal, and it can be dyed different colours to alter its natural appearance.

    This drug can even be used in liquid form, as it is easily soluble in alcohol and water. The taste is usually bitter.

    Why is Angel Dust Associated With the United States?

    Angel dust is certainly an American phenomenon. This all began when the drug was used as an anaesthetic in 1950s America.

    Even to this day, most of the statistics you will see about angel dust will be US-specific, as the use of angel dust is rare in other countries.

    This is because angel dust was never used medically in most other countries, and individuals may have been deterred from using this drug due to its dire reputation in America.

    Though angel dust is certainly not one of the most used drugs in the US, in certain areas, it is one of the most common illegal substances.

    For instance, it is the second most frequently mentioned illegal drug in criminal case hearings Washington DC (4).

    That being said, angel dust addiction is not non-existent in the UK. There are rehab facilities designed to help people with this addiction, as well as addictions to substances you will be more familiar with, i.e., crack cocaine, cannabis, alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin, etc.

    At Rehab Recovery, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard it can be to change your relationship with addiction.

    For more information about angel dust addiction, simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 088 66 86.

    What Effect Does Angel Dust Have On the Body?

    Two people with an alcohol bottle looking at the night city skyline

    Angel dust affects people differently, but some physical effects that occur often with the use of this drug include: poor balance and coordination, numbness in the limbs, bloodshot eyes, a lack of movement, sweating and/or chills.

    Symptoms also include low blood pressure, an unsteady gait, a blank stare, aggression, slurred speech, drooling, rapid eye movements, vomiting, an irregular heartbeat, and dizziness.

    Angel dust can lead to users accidentally harming themselves due to their inability (or reduced ability) to feel pain when they are under the influence.

    If a high dose of angel dust is taken, the symptoms are likely to be more severe. Users risk having a seizure, damaging their skeletal muscles, going into a coma, or even passing away, as a result of taking a high dose of PCP.

    In terms of the long-term physical effects, one of the biggest risks is infection through injecting angel dust unsafely, e.g., not cleaning the injection site, or sharing needles.

    This can cause the drug user to develop a skin infection, hepatitis, or HIV.

    What Effect Does Angel Dust Have On the Mind?

    A brain

    Using angel dust can cause you to experience acute anxiety, mood swings, disorientation, memory loss, delusions, euphoria, depersonalization, and a sense of impending doom.

    The long-term effects of chronic angel dust use can be severe, and they may include: flashbacks, memory issues, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, speech difficulties, and social isolation.

    It is not uncommon for people to experience significant changes to their mental health when they use angel dust, even if they only use the drug once.

    Angel dust is known for triggering psychosis, paranoia, and aggression in people with no previous history of mental health issues (5).

    At Rehab Recovery, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard it can be to change your relationship with addiction.

    For more information about angel dust addiction, simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 088 66 86.

    What are the Dangers Of Angel Dust Use?

    Nightlife scene of a street with bars etc.

    The physical and psychological side effects of angel dust use overlap with those of other common illegal substances, so the general dangers are the same. Individuals who use angel dust can develop dangerous physical and mental conditions as a direct result.

    However, angel dust is more dangerous than many other illegal substances in the sense that it can completely change an individual’s behaviour, and not just in rare cases.

    Angel dust has an ability to ‘spark extreme behaviour’, which is supported by the fact that many rape and murder cases in Washington DC have been linked to angel dust use (6).

    This means that the most extreme dangers of this drug can be experienced by one-off users just as much as someone with a full-blown addiction.

    Some potential future problems are: crime, financial difficulties due to funding the habit, relationship breakdown, job loss, severe illness, and death.

    What Happens If You Use Angel Dust With Other Drugs?

    Inside of an ambulance and paramedics

    If you use angel dust with other drugs, the risk of severe symptoms and overdose spikes. The most dangerous combination is angel dust and central nervous system depressants, as it can lead to breathing issues that could result in death.

    Some examples of substances that angel dust can interact with are: narcotics, sleep aids, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis, antihistamines, cocaine, alcohol, anti-anxiety medications, and heroin.

    Who is More Prone to Angel Dust Addiction?

    It goes without saying that people living in the US are more likely to develop an angel dust addiction, simply because the drug is more accessible there, as well as being more normalised.

    This only applies to certain parts of the US – primarily, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New Haven, Stamford, Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, Monroe, and Kansas City.

    With regards to the most popular demographic for angel dust use, it is men in their late twenties.

    In certain neighbourhoods, it is more common for young Black men to use this drug, but angel dust is also prevalent in predominantly White communities.

    If we take Los Angeles as an example, most angel dust deaths involved Black men aged between 20-29. However, the majority of these deaths were not caused by overdose (14%), but by homicide (52%) (7).

    What are the Angel Dust Statistics?

    Graphs and written stats

    A 2015 report into addiction in the US found that 120,000 people aged 12 or over had used angel dust in the past year, and 6.3 million people had used the drug in their lifetime (8).

    Angel dust is very commonly mixed with other drugs. In 2011, 48% of angel dust A&E admissions involved other illegal substances including cocaine, heroin, and cannabis (9).

    In terms of the statistics for how long angel dust can affect the user, we know that it can stay in the hair follicle for up to 90 days, the salvia for 1-10 days, the blood for up to a day, and the urine from one day to four weeks (10).

    At Rehab Recovery, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard it can be to change your relationship with addiction.

    Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 088 66 86.

    What are the Pros Of Rehab For Angel Dust Addiction?

    Two men in 1-1 therapy

    As we have explained, angel dust is a very dangerous substance as it can cause extreme reactions in people even if it is only used once.

    This means residential rehab is always the best option for people with an angel dust addiction, as other forms of treatment may not provide the appropriate level of support.

    At angel dust rehab, it is understood that patients need to be given the right amount of time to detox, which tends to be up to ten days. The medical staff know that detoxing can produce challenges, so they prescribe medication to help the withdrawal be as safe as possible.

    Medical professionals will also be on-hand at all times in drug and alcohol rehab clinics to ensure they catch the first signs of a patient deteriorating, and they can step in immediately to keep them safe.

    However, fortunately, the use of medication throughout the detox means that this will usually not need to happen.

    If you decide to go for inpatient treatment, there will also be a focus on healing the psychological symptoms of angel dust addiction.

    This is extremely important as you are already aware that these symptoms can last for a very long period of time if the user does not seek professional help.

    Though therapy is not unique to rehab, being immersed in therapy is.

    After your detox, you will spend time in therapy every single day. This may sound daunting, but it is what is needed to help you to establish long-term recovery.

    Two men, one with his hand on the other's shoulder

    Quick fixes may sound appealing, but they are not sustainable, and therefore they are often not appropriate for someone with an angel dust addiction.

    Another reason to attend rehab for angel dust addiction is that you will access long-term support.

    After your time at the rehab facility, you will follow a personalised aftercare plan that helps you to stay sober in the face of temptation (which is inevitable).

    This is especially useful if you do not have a strong support system, as you need to know that someone cares about your recovery, and is cheering you on.

    Finally, the social side of residential rehab is often overlooked, but it is one reason that many patients manage to successfully recover.

    When you enter rehab, you get to spend time with people who have dealt with similar struggles to you, and it may be the first time in your life that you get to do this.

    Spending time with these people can be refreshing as it demonstrates that angel dust addiction affects a wide range of people, but also that many of these people are able and willing to leave this addiction in the past.

    The leisure activities available at rehab can provide you with necessary downtime, which can be revitalising for people who have been under stress for a long period of time due to their addiction.

    Exercise in particular is a great stress reliever, so many drug and alcohol clinics will have a range of sports facilities to encourage their clients to stay active while they recover.

    What are the Cons Of Rehab For Angel Dust Addiction?

    Dog looking out of home window

    Residential rehab is not accessible to people from all backgrounds, as it requires clients to pay money to attend, and to dedicate a significant amount of time to recovery.

    Some people cannot afford to pay for private rehab, or they may have the money but are unable to take the necessary time off work.

    We do want to make it clear that NHS funding for private rehab is available in the UK for people who are struggling.

    However, it is difficult to access this funding as many people are competing for it, so it could be argued that private rehab is not a viable option for many.

    There may be other reasons people cannot agree to seeking treatment at rehab, such as having a young family to look after, being a carer, or having an addiction that is deemed too severe for rehab.

    If you relate to any of this, please call us and we will find out whether rehab is still an option for you, or whether we need to refer you to a different treatment program.

    At Rehab Recovery, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard it can be to change your relationship with addiction.

    For more information about angel dust addiction, simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 088 66 86.

    A phone calculator held above some documents

    Some people may argue that rehab is risky in the sense that it introduces you to fellow victims of addiction, and if you stay in touch after rehab, you may end up returning to drug use together.

    While this is a possibility, the opposite could be true; you could make sober friends for life who will keep you accountable.

    If this is something that concerns you, you could always go to rehab in a different area, so that you would leave any potential bad influences behind.

    This would of course only be sensible if you did not have bad influences in your hometown, as many people do.

    At the end of the day, there is nowhere you can go that is temptation-free if you have an angel dust addiction.

    However, if you attend rehab, you will feel more confident turning away from the lifestyle of addiction, and you will learn how to cope when you feel tempted to use drugs.

    This will prevent you from relapsing if you ever find yourself around someone who is a bad influence.

    Two women looking at an ipad, smiling

    Another disadvantage of rehab is that it simply does not always work. Patients may worry that they will drop everything to enter rehab, and then they will end up relapsing.

    If this is a worry for you, we want you to consider what could happen if you don’t attend rehab.

    It is true that rehab isn’t a failproof way to recover, but if you don’t attempt it at all, there is a miniscule chance that you will be able to get sober alone.

    This is because addiction is a disease that damages your physical and mental health, so no matter how much willpower you have, it is almost impossible to recover without medical intervention.

    Furthermore, relapsing does happen for some people after rehab, but because they have a good foundation thanks to their previous treatment, many of them are able to return to sobriety quickly.

    Relapsing does not discount all of the work you have done at rehab to manage your substance use problem.

    Finally, our last criticism of inpatient treatment is that it can be challenging for lone wolves who struggle with the idea of living with strangers for an extended period of time. These people may feel anxious about group therapy, sharing rooms, and simply being around other people all the time.

    However, there are adaptations that can be made for people with these concerns.

    In terms of group therapy, it is never a requirement for patients to take part; they are allowed to attend without speaking, and they are often allowed to refuse to take part if they are extremely anxious about it.

    A bedroom with art on the walls

    Sharing rooms is also something that is very easy to avoid, as all rehab centres offer private rooms. This is more costly, but it is worth it for people who need time on their own every day.

    During leisure time, people with a private room are able to have some down time instead of interacting with their fellow patients all day.

    To an extent, being around people at rehab cannot be avoided, as it is a type of community, and there is daily interaction between patients and staff members. However, as we have described, it is possible to reduce this interaction to suit your needs.

    It should also be noted that most people get used to the social aspect of rehab, and the more they get to know the other people at their facility, the easier it becomes for them to integrate into the group.

    This tends to be a faster process than it is in the outside world, because rehab is an intense environment where people are sharing their deepest feelings, and this promotes a strong group bond.

    At Rehab Recovery, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard it can be to change your relationship with addiction.

    For more information about angel dust addiction, simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 088 66 86.

    What are the Pros Of Home Detoxing For Angel Dust Addiction?

    A mother and child

    Having a home detox for angel dust addiction is not our first recommendation. In most cases, people with this addiction need to be in 24/7 care in order to make a full recovery.

    However, if this isn’t possible, here are some reasons that home detoxing may be beneficial.

    Firstly, recovering at home is ideal for people who are feeling overwhelmed, which is a very common experience for people with addiction.

    The constant change in physical and psychological symptoms, the guilt of using drugs, and the fear of losing valuable relationships can leave angel dust users feeling extremely stressed and overwhelmed.

    If they get to recover at home, it is one less stressful event for them to deal with.

    They do not have to worry about choosing a rehab facility, figuring out accommodation and travel, budgeting for it, and being away from their family and creature comforts.

    This does not mean that the detox will not present any challenges, because it is always a stressful thing for patients to endure, but taking away one source of stress can be beneficial for some individuals with an angel dust addiction.

    Secondly, home detoxing works for milder forms of addiction, or for drug dependence (which is the stage prior to addiction).

    Though we would always recommend therapy for people with addiction, it is less risky for someone with a mild addiction to neglect therapy than for someone with a severe problem.

    Two women talking one-to-one at a table

    It would also be possible for the patient to have therapy after the detox, without attending rehab.

    This means that the resources offered by drug and alcohol clinics can be accessed elsewhere, just outside of the environment of inpatient treatment.

    Finally, home detoxing for angel dust could help the patient to adapt to a sober lifestyle faster, as they are never separated from their everyday life to begin with.

    Some people struggle to adjust after rehab, as they have been sheltered from temptation for 28 days, whereas home detox patients do not have to deal with this.

    They may be able to implement some important changes while they are still detoxing, such as: ensuring their home is drug-free, cutting off people who enable their addiction, and getting an accountability partner.

    This could put them ahead of rehab patients who have to make these changes after they have spent a full month in a clinic.

    At Rehab Recovery, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard it can be to change your relationship with addiction.

    For more information about angel dust addiction, simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 088 66 86.

    What are the Cons Of Home Detoxing For Angel Dust Addiction?

    Man sitting at laptop

    At Rehab Recovery, we believe that the cons of home detoxing outweigh the pros for most people.

    One of the main reasons for this is that it does not protect patients from relapsing, as they can technically access angel dust whenever they want to, and this contributes to the low recovery rates amongst people who detox at home.

    Some people would argue that it is unrealistic to keep people away from drugs and expect them to stay sober when they return to their normal lives.

    However, we would argue it is a necessary part of recovery, as people at the peak of their addiction should not be expected to resist temptation when they have not yet learnt the necessary coping mechanisms for their drug cravings (both physical and psychological).

    It is even harder for people to stay sober throughout a home detox if they do not have people around them who are aware of their addiction, and are determined to help them to recover.

    There is a difference between a family member disapproving of an addiction and playing an active role in their loved one’s recovery, and not everyone is willing to do the latter.

    Another con of home detoxing is that it is more one-size-fits-all than rehab. This can make home detoxing extremely challenging for some patients.

    Though different medications are prescribed for different substances, as there is no use of therapy, the experience is very similar for every patient.

    A man looking out of a window

    Without a highly personalised treatment plan, there is more chance that the patient will relapse, as they have not been able to work through their individual struggles.

    For instance, angel dust rehab would target the patient’s personal issues with things like grief, trauma, and mental health, as well as providing specialist workshops for these topics. Without this, home detoxing is lacking.

    Finally, if there are any medical complications as a result of a home detox, it is much more risky for the patient as they will not receive immediate medical attention (whereas they would if they were at rehab).

    This is particularly dangerous for patients with a severe addiction, as they are more prone to a dangerous withdrawal.

    If the patient does not want to attend rehab for a long period of time, it would be safer for them to register for a 10-day stay, giving them enough time to detox in a safe setting.

    Alternatively, they could enrol as an outpatient at rehab, and this would ensure they were monitored during the day.

    At Rehab Recovery, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard it can be to change your relationship with addiction.

    For more information about angel dust addiction, simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 088 66 86.

    Why Should I Consider Outpatient Treatment For Angel Dust Addiction?

    Two women hugging

    Again, if residential rehab is possible for you, we do not advise you to opt for anything else, as the success rate speaks for itself.

    Yet, if you are looking for an alternative to rehab, outpatient treatment would be our second-best recommendation.

    If you get involved with an outpatient program, you get to have a detox and daily therapy just like an inpatient, but you do this in the daytime, and you get to spend your evenings at home.

    Just like a home detox, this has the advantage of allowing the patient to experience more familiarity, to save money, and to spend more time with their family.

    It also has the added benefit of including both detoxing and therapy, which is the best treatment for angel dust addiction.

    Another pro of outpatient treatment is that it can still include aftercare, so the patient gets extended support in their recovery.

    As they will be recovering in their local area, they will be introduced to many community resources for addiction, which can motivate them to stay sober.

    Self-help meetings are a great example of this, as they can be attended as much or as little as the patient wishes, so they can adjust their attendance depending on how much they are struggling with their addiction at any given time.

    Recovery has no end date, as people with addiction have to choose sobriety every day, so self-help meetings can be a reminder and an encouragement to do this.

    Some self-help meetings you may want to consider as a recovering angel dust user are: SMART recovery, 12 step, and Narcotics Anonymous.

    On the other hand, angel dust users are often dealing with a chronic, long-term problem, which means it is not always productive for them to have more freedom at the start of their recovery in being allowed to go home each evening.

    This massively increases the chances of relapse.

    Moreover, there are fewer options for people who seek outpatient treatment, as they are restricted to their local area.

    This may mean they miss out on specialist angel dust rehab facilities, and they have less choice in the facilities in their treatment centre.

    If someone makes the decision to attend rehab as an inpatient, they are able to choose any location, so their treatment experience can be extremely personalised.

    They may also be able to secure a place at one of the top rehabs in the country.

    I’m Ready For Rehab – What Next?

    A signpost with multiple arrows silhouetted against a sunset

    Once you have accepted that you need help for your angel dust addiction, it’s time to decide which form of treatment you want to have.

    You now know that residential rehab is the best option for most people, but please don’t be discouraged if this isn’t for you, as home detoxing and outpatient services can also be life-changing.

    To get a referral to a rehab facility as an outpatient/inpatient, or to get a home detox, contact us and one of our team members will assume responsibility for pairing you with an exceptional treatment provider in your preferred area.

    Something that is unique about our company is that we know that victims of addiction tend to be experts in all things drug use, and for this reason, most of our team are survivors of addiction.

    They are not only able to provide professional guidance, but they can also draw on their own experiences to make you feel understood.

    You may have heard stories of people recovering without professional help, but we need you to know that this is very rare.

    By choosing to access professional treatment, you are vastly increasing your chances of recovering for the long term, which means relapsing rarely or not at all.

    At Rehab Recovery, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard it can be to change your relationship with addiction.

    For more information about angel dust addiction, simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 088 66 86.

    Woman speaking on the phone


    [1] PCP Fast Facts,altering%2C%20hallucinogenic%20effects%20it%20produces.

    [2] PCP History and Statistics

    [3] What Is PCP

    [4] Why America Is the Only Place in the World Where People Use PCP

    [5] Ibid.

    [6] Ibid.

    [7] Characteristics of victims of PCP-related deaths in Los Angeles County

    [8] Facing Addiction in America

    [9] The DAWN Report: Emergency Department Visits Involving Phencyclidine (PCP)

    [10] What to Know About Using Angel Dust (PCP)

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