Drug and Alcohol

What Is Angel Dust? Use, Side Effects, and Dangers

What is Angel Dust?

Angel dust is one of the most dangerous drugs to use. Learn more about the effects of angel dust addiction, PCP abuse, and more in our blog.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

March 28, 2023

The highly potent and hazardous psychedelic drug known as angel dust is also known as PCP (phencyclidine). PCP is a controlled substance in the United States. A drug with a truly bad reputation, the usage of angel dust continues to be an issue in the nation despite its consequences.

By the Numbers:

According to National Drug Intelligence Center estimates, more than 6 million Americans aged 12 and older have used PCP at some point in their life.

What Is Angel Dust?

The 1920s witnessed the initial attempts at producing the potent dissociative drug called "angel dust," also known as phencyclidine (PCP). It was initially created as an anesthetic, but its use was stopped because of its severe side effects. Despite its danger, angel dust is still illegally used for its euphoric and hallucinogenic properties. 

Angel dust is a synthetic compound found in powder, pill, or liquid form. It is usually ingested orally but can also be smoked, injected, or snorted. The drug works by blocking specific brain receptors responsible for transmitting pain and sensory information. This results in a dissociative effect, causing the user to feel disconnected from their surroundings.

Effects of Angel Dust

The effects of angel dust can vary depending on the dosage and method of administration. Some common effects include the following:

Effect

Description

Euphoria

Users may experience a sense of pleasure and well-being.

Hallucinations

Angel dust can cause users to see, hear, and feel things that are not real.

Disorientation

Users may feel disoriented and confused, making it difficult to carry out simple tasks.

Agitation

Some users may become aggressive and agitated.

Numbness

Angel Dust can cause a feeling of numbness throughout the body.

Paranoia

Users may become paranoid and fearful.

Loss of coordination

Angel dust can impair motor skills and coordination.

Increased heart rate and blood pressure

This can lead to cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke.

Angel dust can have serious short-term and long-term effects on the body and mind. In the short term, it can cause seizures, coma, and even death. Long-term use can result in memory loss, anxiety, depression, and psychosis. It can also cause damage to the kidneys and liver.

What Causes Addiction to Angel Dust?

Angel dust is a street name for phencyclidine (PCP), is a highly addictive substance that can cause physical and psychological dependence. Drug addiction is a complex and multi-faceted disease that is influenced by various factors, including genetic, environmental, and social factors.

One of the primary reasons for addiction to angel dust is its powerful effects on the brain. The drug works by altering the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These chemicals are responsible for regulating mood, motivation, and pleasure. By increasing the levels of these chemicals, angel dust can create a powerful sense of euphoria and pleasure, which can be highly addictive.

Another factor that contributes to addiction to angel dust is its ability to create tolerance. Tolerance occurs when the body becomes accustomed to the drug and requires higher doses to achieve the same effects. As users continue to use angel dust, their bodies adapt to the drug, requiring more of it to achieve the desired effects. This can lead to a cycle of increasing drug use, resulting in addiction.

Environmental and social factors can also play a role in addiction to angel dust. People living in environments where drug use is common or with friends or family members who use drugs may be more likely to develop an addiction. Additionally, people who have experienced trauma or stress may be more likely to turn to drugs like angel dust to cope with their emotions.

Genetics can also contribute to addiction to angel dust. Some people may be more genetically predisposed to addiction than others and more likely to develop an addiction to drugs like angel dust.

Thus, addiction to angel dust is a complex and multi-faceted disease that is influenced by a variety of factors. Understanding these factors can help people better understand addiction and develop effective treatment strategies for those who struggle with addiction.

Am I Addicted to Angel Dust?
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Signs of Addiction to Angel Dust

Addiction to angel dust can significantly impact a person's physical, mental, and social well-being. The signs of addiction can vary depending on the severity of the addiction, the duration of use, and the individual's overall health. Some common signs of addiction to angel dust include:

Tolerance

People addicted to angel dust may need to take increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the same effects.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person addicted to angel dust stops using the drug, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, and sweating.

Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences

People addicted to angel dust may continue to use the drug even when it is causing significant problems, such as financial or legal problems.

Social Isolation

People who are addicted to angel dust may withdraw from social activities and relationships and may prioritize drug use over other essential aspects of their life.

Mood Swings

Angel dust causes significant mood changes, and people who are addicted may experience extreme mood swings, including depression, anxiety, and irritability. Aggressive behavior is a well-known symptom of angel dust use.

Cognitive Impairment

Prolonged use of angel dust can cause significant cognitive impairment, including memory loss, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.

Neglect of Personal Care

People addicted to angel dust may neglect their hygiene and appearance and not take care of themselves or their living environment.

Physical Symptoms

Angel Dust can cause physical symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and muscle rigidity.

Continued Use Despite Harmful Consequences

People addicted to angel dust may continue to use the drug even when it is causing significant damage to their physical and mental health.

Effects of Addiction to Angel Dust

Addiction to angel dust has various physical, mental, and social effects. These effects can vary depending on the severity of the addiction, the duration of use, and the individual's overall health. Some common effects of addiction to angel dust include:

  • Physical effects: angel dust can cause various physical effects, including tremors, seizures, muscle rigidity, and impaired coordination. Long-term use of the drug can also cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs.

  • Mental effects: Angel dust can cause significant changes in mood and behavior. People who are addicted may experience depression, anxiety, aggression, paranoia, and hallucinations. Long-term drug use can also cause cognitive impairment, including memory loss, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.

  • Social effects: Addiction to angel dust can have significant social consequences. People who are addicted may withdraw from social activities and relationships and prioritize drug use over other important aspects of their life. This can lead to problems with employment, finances, and personal relationships.

  • Legal consequences: Use and possession of angel dust is illegal in many parts of the world. People who are addicted may engage in illegal activities to obtain the drug, which can lead to legal problems and consequences.

  • Risk of overdose: Angel dust is a potent drug with a high risk of overdose. Overdose can cause respiratory failure, seizures, and coma and can be fatal.

  • Increased risk of infectious diseases: People addicted to angel dust may engage in risky behaviors such as sharing needles, increasing the risk of contracting contagious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

  • Co-occurring mental health disorders: People who are addicted to angel dust may also suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, which can further complicate their treatment and recovery. This combination is known as a dual diagnosis.

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How Long Does Angel Dust Last in the System? A Timeline

The length of time angel dust remains in the system can vary depending on several factors, such as the amount that was taken, frequency of use, individual metabolism, and method of use. The drug can be detected in various biological samples, including blood, urine, hair, and saliva.

  • In the short term, the effects of angel dust use can last for several hours to a few days, depending on the dose and method of administration. The drug can cause various symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, dissociation, agitation, confusion, and impaired coordination.

  • In the long term, the effects of angel dust addiction can be much more severe and can last for months or even years after the last use. Chronic drug use can cause significant brain damage, including memory loss, cognitive impairment, and even psychosis. It can also cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs.

Here are some general estimations for how long Angel Dust can be detected in the system:

Drug Test

Timeline

Blood Test

A blood test can detect angel dust in the bloodstream for up to 48 hours after use.

Urine Test

Angel dust can be detected in urine for up to 7 days after use, but chronic users may test positive for up to 30 days.

Hair Test

Angel dust can be detected in hair samples for up to 90 days after use.

Saliva Test

Angel dust can be detected in saliva for up to 72 hours after use.

It is crucial to remember that these estimations are based on general averages and may vary depending on individual factors. In addition, tests may only sometimes detect the presence of Angel Dust, primarily if the drug was used infrequently or a long time ago.

Can Angel Dust Cause Permanent Damage?

Yes. PCP use can lead to permanent mental health issues, especially for those already dealing with mental disorders. At the very least, angel dust makes mental disorder symptoms much worse. Although more research needs to be done, PCP may actually be able to cause mental disorders over long-term use.

They include:

  • Psychosis

  • Anxiety

  • Paranoia

  • Delusional thoughts

  • Hallucinations

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Treatment Options Available for Addiction to Angel Dust

Treatment for angel dust addiction typically involves a combination of:

These therapies are designed to help individuals overcome their addiction, develop coping mechanisms to manage triggers and cravings and learn relapse prevention strategies. Here are some of the most common treatment options:

Drug Detox

Drug detox is a process in which harmful substances like angel dust are allowed to leave the system in a safe, controlled manner. The first step of drug and alcohol treatment, drug detox should always be done with professional help. Detoxing alone, using detox kits, or taking the "cold turkey" approach should all be discouraged.

Inpatient Drug Rehab

Inpatient drug rehab (or residential drug rehab) involves living at a treatment facility for a set period, usually 30-90 days. This type of treatment provides 24-hour support and intensive therapy to address addiction's physical, mental, and social aspects.

Outpatient Drug Rehab

Outpatient drug rehab treatment involves attending therapy and support group sessions while living at home. This type of treatment is less intensive than inpatient treatment, but it allows individuals to continue working or attending school while receiving treatment.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is an essential part of addiction treatment. It includes individual and group counseling sessions to address the underlying psychological and emotional issues contributing to addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common form of therapy used to treat addiction to angel dust.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medicaton-assisted treatment (MAT) helps people manage withdrawal symptoms and treat co-occurring mental health disorders. However, no medications are specifically approved to treat addiction to angel dust.

Support Groups

Support groups provide a supportive community of people recovering from addiction to angel dust. These groups offer a safe space to share experiences and gain support from others who are going through similar struggles.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders may benefit from dual diagnosis treatment, which simultaneously addresses both addiction and mental health disorders.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a client-centered approach that helps individuals resolve ambivalence about change and increase their motivation to overcome addiction. It involves discussing the individual's reasons for change and exploring the benefits and drawbacks of addiction.

Group Therapy

Group therapy involves attending therapy sessions with other individuals in recovery. It provides a supportive community and a safe space to share experiences, gain support, and learn from others.

Family Therapy

Family therapy involves working with family members to address the impact of addiction on family dynamics and relationships. It can help improve communication, build healthy boundaries, and foster understanding and support.

Holistic Therapies

Holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture can help individuals manage stress and improve their overall well-being. These therapies can be used in conjunction with other forms of therapy to promote healing and recovery.

Thus, addiction to angel dust is a complex issue that requires comprehensive treatment. Seeking professional help and support is essential for achieving long-term recovery.

Addicted to Angel Dust? The Edge Treatment Center Will Help

Angel dust is an incredibly destructive drug. This dissociative anesthetic causes violent mood swings and more. As hopeless as angel dust addiction can seem, it's treatable.

The Edge Treatment Center will help you free yourself from angel dust addiction. Our combination of cutting-edge addiction medicine and evidence-based addiction treatment will give you the resources and tools you need to build a happy, drug-free life for yourself.

Don't risk angel dust addiction. Contact The Edge Treatment Center today and learn more about our treatment plans for angel dust.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.