Updated on March 29, 2024
6 min read

DMT Addictiveness, Risks, and Treatment

DMT is a potent psychedelic drug that’s been around for quite some time. It’s notorious for out-of-body experiences and psychedelic effects, like:

  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Feelings of intense joy or dread
  • An altered sense of space and time
  • Perceived insights and epiphanies
  • Perceived encounters with “sentient” entities

However, it’s important to understand that psychedelic drugs like DMT can lead to harmful risks and addiction. Fortunately, there are specialized treatment options for people struggling with DMT addiction.

This article breaks down how DMT affects your body and mind. We’ll also talk about how you can develop an addiction to DMT.

Is DMT Addictive?

DMT isn’t addictive in the same way opioids are addictive because it doesn’t lead to physical dependence, like other substances. However, it can lead to a psychological dependence or hallucinogen use disorder (HUD) and, potentially, full-blown addiction.

Because of this, DMT is considered a Schedule I substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This means that the drug is unsafe, has no recognized medical use, and has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

What is a Psychological Dependence?

A psychological dependence doesn’t operate the same way a physical one does. With physical dependence, your body has grown so used to a drug and needs it to function, leading to intense withdrawal if you stop using it.

A psychological dependence is a craving and emotional reliance on a drug because you believe you can’t function with it.

Psychological dependence on DMT often occurs because people feel they need it to deal with or distract from their problems. This can turn into abuse and addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of DMT Addiction

The symptoms of HUD are similar to addiction symptoms. Watch out for these signs to determine a potential DMT addiction:

  • Taking higher doses of DMT
  • Increased frequency of use
  • Inability to stop or control usage
  • Craving DMT
  • Neglecting responsibilities and social obligations to use DMT
  • Continued use, despite social, physical, or mental health problems
  • Discarding previous hobbies to use DMT
  • Isolating from loved ones and friends

If you notice these signs in a loved one or yourself, get medical intervention immediately. Your doctor will help you get off the drug in a safe and controlled manner.

Will I Go Through Withdrawal After Stopping DMT Use?

Because DMT addiction isn’t caused by physical dependence, you won’t suffer through traditional withdrawal symptoms. However, you can still suffer from emotional difficulties after stopping DMT use, as you may have developed a psychological dependence.

These are some signs of distress after stopping DMT use:

  • Changes in how they perceive their surroundings
  • Mood swings, depression, anxiety, and lashing out
  • Disconnection, isolation, and withdrawal from social situations
  • Confusion, feeling unfocused, hopelessness, and feeling lost
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Extreme sleep and diet changes
  • Difficulty remembering things

If you’re suffering through any of these symptoms after stopping DMT use, make sure you reach out to your doctor. They can give you information about counseling and support groups and offer therapeutic ways to manage your symptoms.

If they think you really need it, they can also prescribe medication to address any extreme symptoms. Doing this can ensure you don’t relapse or end up harming yourself.

Can You Overdose on DMT?

While you can overdose on DMT, it isn’t like other drug or substance overdoses. DMT overdoses are psychological in nature compared to the fatal physiological effects that other substances sometimes produce.

However, this is not to say that DMT overdoses aren’t dangerous. The extreme psychological distress that a DMT overdose causes can still affect your heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

Signs of DMT Overdose

When it comes to DMT overdoses, look out for the following signs:

  • Intense hallucinations
  • Severe levels of anxiety, panic, and a feeling of loss of control
  • Psychotic episodes and paranoia
  • Risky behavior

A DMT overdose can put you in a vulnerable or dangerous position. You may also be a danger to others because of impaired judgment while under the influence.

If you notice any of these signs in yourself or anyone around you, call 911 immediately. Tell emergency response teams about the drug use and how much was taken (if you’re aware) so they can respond appropriately.


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What Is DMT?

DMT or N, N-Dimethyltryptamine is a naturally occurring hallucinogenic found in various plants and animals, including humans, but can be synthetically made in a lab. It’s been used for centuries in religious and spiritual contexts throughout Central and South America.

It’s often consumed for its intense effects, earning the nickname the "business trip" and the "spirit molecule." Some people reported gaining new insights into life itself during a DMT trip.

Some research suggests that DMT can help with neurological and psychiatric disorders. However, more research is necessary to determine the medical benefits of DMT.

What Are the Potential Risks of DMT Use?

There are several risk factors of DMT, even if you don’t develop an addiction or psychological dependence on it. High doses or abuse may cause:

  • Seizures
  • Breathing problems
  • Coma
  • Death

Additionally, there’s also a significant risk of getting DMT that’s been mixed with other substances. This is because recreational users might get DMT from illicit or untrustworthy sources.

DMT can also boost serotonin production, which can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome.

Some symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:

  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Rapid heart rate and high blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of muscle coordination or twitching muscles
  • Heavy sweating
  • High fever
  • Seizures

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD)

One of the long-term effects of DMT use is hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD). It’s characterized by recurring sensory distortions and hallucinations due to hallucinogen drug use.

If you’re experiencing HPPD, you might suddenly see visual disturbances or hallucinations. This can happen even after the drug’s effects have worn off. 

The symptoms of HPPD can persist for weeks to months. Some people have even reported severe cases where they experience symptoms consistent with neurological problems, such as tumors or a stroke.

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What Are the Treatment Options for DMT Abuse?

Currently, there are no medicinal treatments for DMT addiction approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, many effective behavioral therapies are available to anyone suffering from DMT abuse or HUD.

These include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): A form of psychotherapy that identifies and changes negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to drug use
  • 12-step programs: Help you achieve sobriety and maintain it through peer support, group discussion, 12-step workbooks, etc. 
  • Contingency management: A system of rewards and punishments for good or bad behavior that helps reinforce positive behaviors like abstinence
  • Motivational interviewing: Encourages you to change your thoughts about drug abuse on your terms and motivates you to participate in treatment
  • Inpatient rehabilitation: A residential treatment option that offers intensive, 24-hour care for those suffering from severe addictions.

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Updated on March 29, 2024
8 sources cited
Updated on March 29, 2024

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