Symptoms to Diagnose Other Hallucinogen Use Disorder

Ecstasy pills in a person's hand
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Other hallucinogen use disorder is a diagnosis which is documented in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5.

The "Other" in the title distinguishes the hallucinogens causing the disorder from phencyclidine and pharmacologically similar substances, which has its own disorder, known as phencyclidine use disorder.

The drugs associated with other hallucinogen use disorder include phenylalkylaines, such as mescaline, DOM, MDMA or ecstasy, the indoleamines including psilocybin and psilocin, which are the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, DMT, the ergolines such as LSD or acid, and morning glory seeds. Various other plant compounds with hallucinogenic effects are also included.


The diagnosis of other hallucinogen use disorder can be given to an individual who takes hallucinogens of the types specified above, and exhibits at least two of the following symptoms within a 12 month period:

  • The person continues to use the hallucinogens, even though they have social or interpersonal problems, such as arguments, as a result of their drug use.
  • The person continues to use hallucinogens even though they know it is causing or worsening a physical or psychological problem.
  • The person craves hallucinogens.
  • The person fails to carry out major roles in their life at work, school or home, because of their hallucinogen use.
  • The person gives up or reduces other activities that were important to them, such as social, work-related and other recreational activities.The person has difficulty cutting down or controlling their hallucinogen use.
  • The person spends a lot of time getting, using, and recovering from hallucinogens.
  • The person takes more of the hallucinogen than they intended to.
  • The person uses hallucinogenic drugs in dangerous situations, such as driving or operating machinery.
  • Tolerance for hallucinogens.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Unlike many other substance use disorders, withdrawal symptoms are rarely, if ever, part of the picture in other hallucinogen use disorder. There does not appear to be a physical withdrawal syndrome when the drug is not taken, although there can be a very pronounced tolerance for the drug, which develops over a short period of time.

Therefore, if you seem to be experiencing withdrawal symptoms after taking hallucinogens, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

If this happens, it is likely that you have either been taking another drug either instead of or in addition to the hallucinogen (drugs are often cut with other drugs that are cheaper or more easily obtained, such as amphetamines), or you are mentally or physically ill, which can develop during or after a period of drug use.

One exception to this rule is MDMA or ecstasy, which shares many of the characteristics of stimulants, and does appear to create withdrawal symptoms in many individuals taking this over time.

It would also make sense to rule out stimulant use disorder in case you have been inadvertently taking stimulant drugs. This can be detected in a urine screen which your doctor can arrange, and if you have stimulant use disorder, your doctor can help with detox to ease the associated discomfort of stimulant withdrawal.

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  • American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

By Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD
Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD is a psychologist, professor, and Director of the Centre for Health Leadership and Research at Royal Roads University, Canada.