Peyote Addiction Signs & Symptoms: A Dangerous Soul Journey

Last Updated: December 19, 2019

Peyote Addiction

Cactus are unusual plants, they resist extreme conditions. Yet still, they bring beauty into our homes with their shapes and flowers. However, cacti are favorite of some people not because of their floral value but because of their ingredients. In particular, the peyote cactus and the active hallucinogen mescaline in it.
Peyote can be found in the northwestern parts of Mexico, also, it is grown in the southwestern areas of the U.S., in the Great Sonoran Desert, for example.
Peyote has been used as many other hallucinogens in various religious practices to achieve a higher state of mind. Still, the Native American Church can use peyote in some ceremonies. Some of the effects the drug causes are:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Increased levels of emotions and feelings
  • Altered Self
  • Different perception of time
  • Synesthesia (mixing senses)

But if someone uses peyote its spiritual properties, why is it Schedule I drug?

Peyote Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Some of the Peyote addiction signs are similar to any other psychoactive substance:

  • Taking too much and too often
  • Obsession with the drug and ways to obtain it
  • Social isolation and risky behavior
  • Financial and legal problems

Also, one can show an abnormal interest in spirituality, God, and self-perception.

Recognize Peyote Addiction & Side Effects

It’s important to recognize peyote addiction as soon as possible because mescaline can be dangerous and can lead to life-threatening consequences.
Some of the physiological changes that peyote causes are:

  • High body temperature
  • Sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Impaired coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Problems with appetite
  • Insomnia

What’s more, peyote affects the emotional well-being of the user and can cause:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Illusions

The long-term abuse can lead to fatal mental problems.

Dangers of Peyote Addiction & The Importance to Recognize It ASAP

As mentioned above, peyote is not physically addictive. Although, it can cause psychological addiction and severe mental issues.
Some of the dangers include:

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder is another condition characterized by sudden hallucinations. This can be stressful for the user, especially when there are no patterns of recurrence. Flashbacks can lead to madness and fatal accidents. Imagine seeing stuff and hearing colors while driving – a year after the last peyote trip!
Bad trips are another risk. The type of trip depends mainly on the product, the environment, and the user’s well-being. Nobody is immune, though. Bad trips can cause stress, depression, fear, and death.
All these dangers can lead to risky behavior and can be hazardous to the people around the user. That’s why recognizing peyote addiction is crucial. Simply because it can save lives.

Peyote Addiction Signs: How to tell if someone has an addiction to peyote and needs help?

Apart from the psychical, cognitive and emotional changes described above, if someone has an addiction based on his or her social life:

  • Neglecting appearance
  • Avoiding social occasions
  • Surrounding themselves with people who take drugs
  • Mixing drugs
  • Getting involved in cults
  • Being too interested in religion and spirituality
  • Losing touch with reality
  • Losing their family or job due to peyote abuse

Peyote Addiction Treatment: What’s Next?

First of all, be supportive and open. Users should understand that it’s hard for the users to admit that they have an addiction. Especially to a substance that is not physically addicting. What’s more, due to regular use, the addict might have troubles thinking and recognizing the reality.

peyoteFinally, note that the treatment of peyote addiction is focused on the psychological aspects of addiction: triggers of addiction, self-perception, and perspectives. Holistic approaches and yoga can be very helpful. Especially for people who have an interest in alternative practices. Many rehabilitation facilities offer suitable programs for peyote addiction.

Statistics show that only in 2014 136,000 people between 12 and 17, 502,000 people between 18 and 25, and 535,000 over 26 admitted using hallucinogens.

Page Sources

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); Office of the Surgeon General (US). Washington (DC): US Department of Health and Human Services; 2016 Nov.
  2. Dasgupta A. Critical Issues in Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse Testing, 2009 pp.477-494.
  3. P.K.Gupta. Fundamentals of Toxicology: Essential Concepts and Applications. 2016, pp 277-285

Published on: May 3rd, 2017

Updated on: December 19th, 2019

About Author

Peter J. Grinspoon, MD

Dr. Peter Grinspoon is an experienced physician with long-term clinical practice experience. As a former analgesic addict, Dr. Grinspoon knows precisely how important it is to provide patients with effective treatment and support. Medical writing for him is the way to communicate with people and inform them about their health.


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