Phencyclidine Addiction: Unveiling the Risks and Exploring Treatment Solutions

Learn more about the dangers of phencyclidine addiction and how Continuum Outpatient Center can help.

Introduction to Phencyclidine

Phencyclidine (PHP) was initially developed as an anesthetic for medical purposes. However, this use has shifted due to its intense dissociative and hallucinogenic effects. 

PCP creates a sense of detachment and euphoria, and it can become addictive with prolonged use. The results of PCP addiction are severe and significantly impact a person’s health and well-being.

What is Phencyclidine?

Phencyclidine is commonly known as PCP or “angel dust.” It’s a street drug used for its mind-altering effects.

PCP is associated with various effects that depend on the dosage, including:

  • Low doses cause intoxication and numbness in the extremities
  • Moderate doses can produce analgesia and anesthesia
  • High doses may lead to convulsions
Psychological effects may include depersonalization, dysphoria, and occasionally aggressive behavior.

Neurotransmitter Disruption

Phencyclidine acts as an NMDA receptor antagonist in the brain. This action disrupts the normal function of neurotransmitters, particularly glutamate. Glutamate plays a critical role in learning, memory, and emotion. This disruption can lead to the drug’s psychoactive effects and contribute to addiction.

Activation of Reward Pathway

Phencyclidine activates the brain’s reward pathway like many addictive substances. It releases dopamine and creates a sense of pleasure or euphoria. This process reinforces the behavior of taking the drug.

Genetic and Environmental Factors

Certain genetic predispositions and mental health disorders may play a risk for an individual developing phencyclidine addiction. Environmental influences and peer pressure also increase individual susceptibility to addiction.

The Prevalence of Phencyclidine Addiction

National trends show a significant rise in PCP use in recent years. 

In 2019, approximately 30,000 Americans aged 12 and older admitted to having tried PCP. This number rose to 52,000 in 2020. Also, over 3% of high school seniors admit to using PCP at least once, and more than 1% used it within the past year.

This data indicates a growing public health issue related to PCP use and addiction. Continuum Outpatient Center recognizes the need for comprehensive PCP addiction treatment.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Phencyclidine Addiction?

There are several signs that may indicate an individual is developing a phencyclidine dependency. These symptoms can vary in intensity and may not be present in every person.

The following signs and symptoms may showcase that an individual is developing a PCP addiction:

  • Psychological Dependence: Intense cravings for PCP and preoccupation with getting and using the drug.
  • Tolerance: Needing increasingly larger doses of PCP to experience the same effects.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, nausea, and headaches when not using PCP.
  • Emotional and Behavioral Changes: Experiencing irritability, aggression, and possibly violent behavior.
  • Risky Behavior: Engaging in dangerous activities, especially when under the influence of PCP.
  • Drug-Seeking Behavior: An overwhelming urge to use PCP, with many individuals going to great lengths to obtain and use it.
  • Neglecting Responsibilities: Ignoring or failing to meet work or school obligations due to drug use.
  • Changes in Social Circles: Associating predominantly with other people who use PCP and avoiding friends who don’t partake.

Short- and Long-Term Health Consequences of Phencyclidine Addiction

Phencyclidine abuse can have both short-term and long-term consequences. The nature and severity of these effects can vary depending on the frequency of use, the dosage, and individual differences.

Short-Term Health Consequences

Some short-term consequences of phencyclidine misuse include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impulsive behaviors due to impaired judgment and altered perception
  • Severe respiratory issues and erratic heartbeat
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Physical disorientation

Long-Term Health Consequences

Long-term consequences of PHP addiction may include:

  • Brain damage
  • Diminished cognitive skills
  • Damage to the lungs, liver, and kidneys
  • Irreversible psychosis
  • Cognitive decline resulting in persistent memory problems
If an individual presents with any of these symptoms, it’s important for them to reach out for healing and addiction treatment as soon as possible.
Phencyclidine Addiction

How Continuum Outpatient Center Can Help With Phencyclidine Addiction

Continuum Outpatient Center is equipped to provide specialized care for people struggling with phencyclidine addiction. Our treatment approach involves several stages, and we design each step to address different aspects of addiction and recovery. 

Evidence-based therapies are cornerstones in our phencyclidine addiction treatment. These therapies are rigorously tested and grounded in scientific research. 

Let’s delve into our most common methods and how they address specific therapeutic needs:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Continuum Outpatient Center offers a robust CBT program that includes both individual and group therapy sessions. It emphasizes the development of personal coping strategies. Our therapists focus on identifying triggers and challenging negative thought patterns in these sessions. 

We also use:

  • Role-playing exercises
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Other behavior-modification strategies

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT at Continuum Outpatient Center is an intensive approach integrating various treatment modalities. We offer sessions that specifically target:

  • Emotional regulation
  • Distress tolerance 
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
Our team tailors DBT strategies to address the unique emotional and behavioral challenges associated with phencyclidine use. More importantly, we foster a non-judgmental environment crucial for the efficacy of DBT.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

There are no specific medications approved for PCP addiction. However, Continuum Outpatient Center uses MAT to help some individuals manage withdrawal symptoms. We combine this medication treatment with counseling and behavioral therapies. 

We have medical professionals who oversee MAT to ensure the medications are safe and effective. At our treatment center, patients undergoing MAT receive continuous monitoring and adjustments to their treatment plan as needed.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

We employ EMDR as a part of treatment for people with trauma-related issues contributing to their PCP addiction. EMDR uses guided eye movements to help patients process and integrate traumatic memories.

This approach reduces the emotional impact of past traumas that may be influencing their addictive behaviors.

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Family Therapy

Continuum Outpatient Center offers inclusive family therapy sessions to address PCP addiction. These sessions can help:

  • Repair relationships 
  • Improve communication
  • Build a supportive home environment conducive to recovery
We also provide educational resources for families. These materials will help families understand addiction and the best ways to support their loved ones.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI establishes a non-confrontational and empathetic environment for healing. This treatment method is vital for people struggling with PCP addiction, as they often face stigma and judgment. 

Many people struggling with phencyclidine addiction experience ambivalence about their drug use and quitting. MI helps them articulate these mixed feelings and acknowledge the complexities of their situation.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Some people have mental health disorders co-occurring with PCP addiction. Continuum Outpatient Center’s dual diagnosis treatment offers a synchronized approach to treat both conditions at the same time. This program involves our multidisciplinary team that provides comprehensive care.

Holistic Therapies at Continuum Outpatient Center

Our holistic therapies present a unique approach to health that emphasizes the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit. A person’s wellness depends on the harmonious balance of these elements.

Here’s a detailed look at how we integrate these therapies into phencyclidine addiction treatment:


Continuum Outpatient Center tailors yoga sessions to enhance physical strength, flexibility, and relaxation. These sessions focus on poses and breathing techniques suitable for all fitness levels.

Yoga is beneficial in addiction recovery. It helps individuals:

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve mental clarity
  • Manage withdrawal symptoms 
  • Reduce cravings

Meditation and Mindfulness

We also offer meditation and mindfulness sessions that focus on:

  • Present-moment awareness
  • Non-judgmental observation 
  • Deep meditation
These practices are invaluable in managing the stress and anxiety often associated with addiction and recovery. By cultivating mindfulness, clients can learn to respond to stressors and risk factors more effectively.

Art Therapy

Art therapy at our treatment center includes painting, drawing, or other forms of creative expression. This type of therapy provides a non-verbal outlet for emotions and experiences that might be difficult for some individuals to articulate. 

Art therapy aids in self-exploration, emotional release, and the development of new perspectives. It is beneficial in addressing underlying issues related to addiction.

Recreational Therapy

Our recreational therapy involves a variety of activities, including:

  • Sports
  • Outdoor adventures
  • Team-building exercises 
  • Hobby-based groups
These activities help build self-esteem, enhance social skills, and promote physical health. Engaging in enjoyable activities can be a powerful tool in recovery, as they offer positive experiences and skills that can be transferred into a long-term, sober lifestyle.

Treatment Programs Offered at Continuum Outpatient Center

At Continuum Outpatient Center, we are committed to providing a broad spectrum of innovative and effective treatment programs. We carefully craft each program to foster resilience and sustainable healing in a nurturing environment.

Here is an overview of our Texas-based treatment programs:

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Our PHP involves flexible and structured treatment while allowing clients to live at home. We use daily therapy sessions, group therapy, and educational workshops focused on addiction and recovery. 

We design this program for those who need more intensive treatment than traditional outpatient care but not 24-hour supervision. It provides a higher level of support crucial in the early stages of recovery.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

The IOP at Continuum Outpatient Center is an intensive treatment option where patients take part in therapy and other activities while maintaining their daily responsibilities.

We also offer a virtual IOP. Here, our therapists provide therapy and support through online platforms. This is beneficial for people who cannot attend in person due to logistical constraints.

Young Adult Treatment

Continuum Outpatient Center also has a program tailored to meet the unique needs of young adults struggling with PCP addiction. 

We focus on issues like:

  • Peer pressure
  • Family dynamics
  • Educational challenges
We use age-appropriate and engaging therapeutic methods to build confidence and resilience.

Outpatient Drug Program

This program offers a more flexible approach to addiction treatment. It’s ideal for those with less severe addiction or as a step-down from more intensive programs. 

Our outpatient drug programs include regular therapy sessions and continuous support. We incorporate a combination of therapies to address all aspects of addiction.

Aftercare and Alumni Services

Continuum Outpatient Center also offers aftercare services to help clients maintain their sobriety after completing treatment programs. Alumni meetings are every Tuesday from 6:30-7:30 p.m., either virtually or in-person. 

These meetings provide a platform for former patients to connect, share their experiences, and support each other in their ongoing recovery journey.

Guiding Principles: Mission and Values of Continuum Outpatient Center

At Continuum Outpatient Center, our mission and values are the heart of our commitment to providing exceptional care. They shape every aspect of our approach to treatment and patient support. 

Our values include:


We foster a culture where staff and clients are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and commitments. This accountability extends to all aspects of our treatment and operations.

Quality Care

At our core, we prioritize delivering high-quality care. We focus on evidence-based and client-centered treatment to ensure the satisfaction of each client.


Continuum Outpatient Center values the power of teamwork. Our treatment plans involve a collaborative effort among healthcare professionals, clients, and their families. This helps to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes.


We also hold integrity as a critical value. We ensure honesty, respect, and ethical practices in all interactions. This includes maintaining confidentiality and building trust with clients.

Continuous Improvement

At Continuum Outpatient Center, we embrace continuous improvement. We emphasize personal development for clients and professional growth for staff. This way, we stay abreast of the latest advancements in addiction treatment.

Our mission at Continuum Outpatient Center is deeply rooted in our core values. We are focused on providing the best outcomes through the highest quality of mental health and substance abuse treatment.

This commitment extends within Texas and throughout the communities we serve. We embody a comprehensive approach to recovery and well-being.

Your Path to Recovery Starts Here: Confronting PCP Addiction with Continuum Outpatient Center

Phencyclidine addiction treatment can be daunting, but you’re not on this path alone. At Continuum Outpatient Center, we stand with you. Our dedicated professionals provide comprehensive and top-tier care. 

We also design individualized treatment strategies that cater to your specific situation. Our therapeutic approaches and a supportive environment ensure your journey towards healing is effective.

Get in touch with Continuum Outpatient Center today and step forward into a life liberated from addiction and filled with new possibilities. Your road to recovery starts with one courageous step.