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N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is an indole alkaloid widely found in plants and animals.  It is famously known for producing brief and intense hallucinogenic effects when ingested.  Increasing evidence suggests that endogenous DMT drug plays essential roles for several processes in the periphery and central nervous system and may act as a neurotransmitter.  [1]

It is Typically Consumed in the Following Ways:

  • Vaporized or Smoked in a Pipe
  • Ingested Orally in Brews Like Ayahuasca
  • Snorted or Injected on Rare Events
DMT Drug
The most adverse effects of hallucinogens are likely mental effects, such as intense fear, paranoia, anxiety, grief, and depression, which can put the user or others in physical harm or danger.

Most hallucinogens such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine (DOM) cause sensory distortion;  depersonalization at high doses.  At least one (N, N-Diisopropyltryptamine, DiPT) causes auditory distortions, whereas some compounds such as DMT (found in ayahuasca), psilocybin (mushrooms), or mescaline (peyote) cause episodic visual effects.  [2]

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DMT Street Names

Several slang terms refer to DMT:

  • Dimitri
  • Businessman’s Trip
  • Businessman’s Special
  • Fantasia
  • Forty-Five-Minute Psychosis

DMT Drug Effects and Health Risks

The primary effect of DMT is psychological, with intense visual and auditory hallucinations, euphoria, and an altered sense of space, body, and time.

Many users report intense, life-changing encounters such as visiting other worlds, communicating with alien creatures known as “DMT elves” or “machine elves,” and inclusive shifts in the perception of identity and reality.

When smoked, DMT produces short yet intense visual and auditory hallucinations that have been defined by users as an alternate reality, metaphysical, or a near-death experience.

Compared to other psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, ketamine, and magic mushrooms, recreational users of DMT consider it to have the lowest side effects.

Possible Side Effects of DMT

  • Heightened Heart Rate
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Chest Pain or Tightness
  • Agitation
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Rapid rhythmic movements of the eye
  • Dizziness
  • When taken orally, DMT can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Depending on the individual user, the DMT experience can reach from intensely exciting to overwhelmingly terrifying.  Unfortunately, the experience can be so overpowering that users may have trouble processing and integrating the “trip” into real life.

Mental side effects may remain for many days or weeks after ingestion of the drug.

DMT is structurally linked to the neurotransmitter serotonin and, because of this, a condition called serotonin syndrome that is potentially lethal is associated with its use.  People taking antidepressants are at the highest risk for this complication.

Serotonin syndrome happens when the body gains an excessive amount of serotonin.  The condition is often harmful or intense by taking a combination of various drugs.

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Too Much Serotonin Effects

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Loss of Muscle Coordination
  • Headache
  • At higher doses, DMT can cause seizures, respiratory arrest, and coma.

DMT could have severe unfavorable consequences for users with pre-existing psychological problems or a mental illness, such as schizophrenia.

Due to limited research data, DMT is not known to cause physical dependence or addiction, although regular recreational users may develop psychological cravings for the drug.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that DMT use does not seem to urge tolerance of the drug, unlike other hallucinogens.

Although it is not acknowledged as an addictive substance, DMT has several health risks and can produce terrifying hallucinations and psychological dependency.

DMT Experiences

These DMT experiences can include:

  • Heightened perceptual experiences can include seeing colors more intense, sounds more acute, and touch more sensitive.
  • Hallucinations:  Seeing, hearing, smelling, or feeling things that are not there.
  • Synesthesias are mixed sensory experiences, such as believing that one can hear colors, see sounds, etc.
  • Powerful delusions representing beliefs that are not backed by reality
  • Cognitive distortions such as feeling that one is invulnerable, that one is leaving one’s body, that surrounding things are not fundamental, or that one has shifted to something else (anything from an animal to an inanimate object)
  • An alteration in one’s sense of the passing of time  (e.g., time is moving far more slowly than it is; minutes may seem like hours, hours like days, etc.)

Individuals who have similar DMT experiences but are not under the influence of drugs or do not have some neurological problems, such as a head injury or stroke, would often be classified as having some psychotic disorder if they constantly have these experiences or beliefs.  On the other hand, hallucinogenic drugs description is often “mind expanding” drugs for individuals who use them but are not without corresponding dangers. To clarify, using this drug has never been safe to use as it can cause harmful events because of one’s detachment from reality.

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DMT Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Mood Swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Feelings of Fatigue
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Jitteriness
  • Mild Malaise
  • Cravings to use DMT

Although experts such as SAMHSA report that many individuals who abuse hallucinogens typically discontinue using DMT drugs independently without formal treatment, the development of any substance use disorder represents a potentially serious mental health disorder.  Therefore, individuals with moderate to severe substance use disorders often need professional treatment.  Typically, individuals who have developed a substance use disorder need rehab assistance and interventions to help them function normally without using drugs or alcohol.

DMT Drug Addiction

While DMT does not produce physical dependence, some individuals may abuse the drug to the point that they experience various complications, may it be physically or mentally.  This may be particularly true in cases of polysubstance abuse, where the user is combining DMT with other psychoactive drugs.  A pattern of problematic hallucinogen use that causes significant problems or distress is “other hallucinogen use disorder.”  Symptoms include:

  • Taking more DMT than intended
  • Unsuccessfully attempting to control or stop DMT use
  • Exhausting a lot of time and energy in obtaining and using DMT or recovering from its effects
  • Craving DMT
  • Ignoring personal responsibilities in favor of using DMT
  • Continuing to use DMT despite mounting adverse interpersonal, social, or physical/mental health problems
  • Discarding previously enjoyed habits or hobbies to use DMT

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DMT Drug Addiction Treatment

Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications for the treatment of DMT addiction.  However, those struggling with addiction to DMT can seek effective behavioral therapies to help them manage their drug use and find sobriety.  Some common forms of behavioral therapy and treatment that may help someone fighting with DMT abuse include:

  • Individual or Group Counseling:  One-on-one or group counseling to approach the underlying circumstances contributing to the abuse.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy:  A type of therapy that focuses on teaching individuals techniques to cope with cravings healthily and avoid relapse when the urge arises.
  • 12-Step Programs:  Support groups that provide a continuing, step-by-step process to recovery amongst the support of peers facing similar addictions and conflicts.
  • Motivational Interviewing:  A type of counseling that helps facilitate behavioral change by helping the client uncover his intrinsic motivation.
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation:  24/7 addiction treatment for a specified period, typically ranging from 30-90 days in duration.  This treatment program will typically include some combination of the aforementioned therapeutic approaches, dual diagnosis treatment, and holistic treatment.
  • Aftercare:  Your rehabilitation from addiction will not end with treatment.  Recovery is an ongoing process that goes beyond your treatment, and your treatment center will put you through an aftercare program once you leave the facility.  It would help if you also made a personal effort by joining support groups to help you stay on track with recovery.

If you or someone you love is seeking a safe, secure, and compassionate resource for DMT drug addiction treatment, We Level Up New Jersey is here for you.  Don’t hesitate to contact us to speak with an addiction counselor today about our levels of care. 

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[1-2] Neuropharmacology of N, N-Dimethyltryptamine – National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine