Longterm

In persons who abuse PCP in large amounts over a long period, or in those who have psychological problems that make them especially vulnerable, a chronic psychosis may develop. This PCP psychosis is evident even when abusers are not high on PCP, and it may be quite difficult to treat. The symptoms of PCP psychosis differ considerably from person to person, but patients may show many features of SCHIZOPHRENIA, including the appearance of a thought disorder, paranoid ideation, hallucinations, mood changes, and aberrant behavior. These patients often require psychiatric hospitalization and treatment with ANTIPSYCHOTIC medications.

In research studies where PCP has been given repeatedly to animals, it has been possible to show the development of PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE (e.g., Balster & Woolverton, 1980). The doses required for dependence are quite high, so it may be that dependence in human PCP abusers is difficult to develop. There have been some clinical reports of withdrawal effects in heavy PCP abusers, but these do not appear to be present in most individuals needing treatment for PCP abuse. There are no specialized treatment methods for PCP abusers, and since many PCP abusers also abuse other drugs and/or alcohol, they are usually helped by the same counseling and psychotherapy programs that are used for other forms of drug abuse.

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