Keep the following key points in mind when considering DMT withdrawal and detox:
- DMT is not known to cause physical dependence or withdrawal
- People who use DMT or other hallucinogens may experience mental symptoms that indicate they are psychologically dependent on the drug
- People who mix DMT with other drugs or take it in large doses may be more likely to experience unpleasant side effects
- People who take DMT are at risk of developing other long-term negative disorders such as Serotonin Syndrome and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder
- Help is available for people who think their DMT use is becoming a problem or is getting out of their control
Understanding DMT Withdrawal
DMT, or N-Dimethyltryptamine, is an increasingly popular drug that gives people hallucinations. It has been ingested as a part of ayahuasca tea as a part of religious ceremonies in South America for centuries. In the 1930s, scientists figured out how to synthesize it in a laboratory for the first time. When people use DMT in the synthetic form or in ayahuasca, it seems to produce a shorter high and has fewer side effects than many other types of hallucinogens like LSD or peyote.
DMT does not seem to cause physical dependence, and as a result, most people who use it will not go through physical DMT withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, DMT may cause psychological dependence in some people. Those who use it often may find that they start to crave it when they go through DMT detox.
Can You Withdraw from DMT?
Currently, there is no evidence that DMT is physically addictive. Some drugs, such as opioid painkillers or other types of hallucinogens, quickly cause a person’s body to become physically tolerant of them. This development means that the body becomes used to having the substance and people need to take increasingly higher doses to feel the desired effect. A related phenomenon is when a person becomes dependent on a drug. When this happens, the person will experience negative physical side effects when they stop taking the drug. It doesn’t appear that people experience DMT withdrawal symptoms in this way.
On the other hand, physical tolerance and physical dependence are slightly different from mental addiction. Addiction occurs when a person becomes mentally dependent on a substance and loses control over how often they use it. There is some evidence that DMT may result in cravings or other signs of addiction in people who use it regularly, and that they might experience some signs of mental withdrawal.
There has not been a lot of research into DMT, and cases of people having negative experiences are usually not reported. Scientists don’t know everything about how DMT affects people, and it’s good to learn about how other similar, more well-known substances can affect the body. Hallucinogenic withdrawal symptoms that people often experience with other psychedelic drugs include:
- Extreme sweating
- Cravings for the drug
When people stop using DMT, they are less likely to experience the physical symptoms of withdrawal. There have been cases where people reported craving the drug once they stopped using it.
Factors for Experiencing Withdrawal
People’s experiences with using DMT vary widely. A person who uses large doses of DMT or uses it often may be more likely to experience mental withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, someone who takes synthetic DMT may not know when the powder is mixed with other substances. If someone is unknowingly taking multiple substances at once, then one of the other substances may produce unexpected side effects.
While DMT isn’t known to cause physical tolerance on its own, someone who uses this drug can build up a tolerance to other hallucinogens including LSD and psilocybin. Those who have a habit of using multiple different psychedelic drugs on a regular basis may find that they experience dependence and withdrawal in unexpected ways.
Many different types of drugs, including DMT, activate serotonin receptors in the cells of the brain and nervous system. When people take high doses of these substances or when they mix multiple drugs that affect serotonin receptors, they are at risk of developing serotonin syndrome. Medications that may produce this effect include hallucinogenic drugs, other club drugs such as MDMA, antidepressants, over-the-counter cold medications and herbal supplements like St. John’s wort.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome fall into three categories:
- Changes in mood, such as anxiety, disorientation and restlessness
- Muscle problems, like tremors, spasms and unintentional muscle contractions
- Changes in automatic body processes, such as high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and shivering
People with this disorder may also develop a fever, hyperthermia and seizures. In severe cases that are left untreated, a person’s lungs or kidneys may shut down and this may lead to coma or death. This syndrome is rare, but anyone using multiple drugs in this category should be aware of the side effects and seek help if they think they might be experiencing symptoms. Medical professionals can prescribe medications or offer other support to help manage and reverse symptoms.
Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder
What is HPPD? Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) is another rare but potentially serious side effect of using DMT. This disorder consists of flashbacks, where a person who previously used DMT suddenly re-experiences the effects of the drug months or even years later.
Symptoms of HPPD may consist of:
- Hallucinations, despite not having taken DMT recently
- Other unexpected visual effects, such as seeing halos around objects
- Symptoms that are sometimes found in people with a stroke or brain tumor, like having difficulty reading, mixing up colors or thinking that objects appear to be bigger or smaller than they actually are
How long does HPPD last? The answer varies for each person, with some people experiencing HPPD symptoms only once, some experiencing them frequently over several years, and the majority of people not experiencing them at all. There is not one recognized cure for HPPD, but antidepressant and antipsychotic medications help some people manage their symptoms.
Detox from DMT
How long DMT lasts in the body depends on the route of administration. When people drink ayahuasca, they usually begin to experience hallucinations or other effects within an hour and report that the trip lasts up to four hours. When people smoke synthetic DMT, they tend to experience more extreme visual effects, but this trip may last only 30 minutes or less. DMT is metabolized by enzymes in the digestive system and is typically cleared out of the body by the kidneys within a few hours. Drug detox is usually very quick in the case of DMT.
The total amount of time it takes for a body to clear DMT also depends on several other factors. A person’s age, level of physical health, whether or not they have also been taking other substances and whether they are also struggling with mental health issues will affect their withdrawal and detox process.
While people don’t usually experience physical withdrawal symptoms as they are going through detox, they might have difficulty with mental symptoms. Someone who uses DMT regularly may crave it and have a hard time staying away from this or other hallucinogens. In this case, intervention from medical professionals can be very helpful.
There is no one standard method to treat hallucinogen misuse that is approved by the FDA. However, medical specialists have an understanding of several other types of behavioral therapy techniques that can help with substance use disorder. For example, in cognitive behavioral therapy, patients learn new coping skills that can help them avoid relapses. Contingency management is a different approach that aims to reward people for taking certain actions or avoiding certain behaviors.
Finding a Detox Center
While people go through DMT detox quickly and don’t have physical withdrawal side effects, they may have difficulty with experiencing symptoms of addiction. A drug detox center can help connect patients with resources to help them on their journey to recovery.
Signs that a person is dealing with a substance use disorder and may need additional help managing their DMT use include:
- Spending a lot of time or money trying to find and buy DMT
- Craving DMT
- Giving up on responsibilities, hobbies or relationships because of DMT use
- Continuing to use DMT despite experiencing negative consequences
Contact us today to speak with a representative about how professional addiction treatment can address a substance use disorder. You deserve a healthier future, call today.
Carbonaro, Theresa M.; Gatch, Michael B. “Neuropharmacology of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine.” Brain Research Bulletin, April 25, 2016. Accessed August 14, 2019.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: […]uide (Third Edition).” January 2018. Accessed August 14, 2019.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Commonly Abused Drugs Charts: DMT.” July 2019. Accessed August 14, 2019.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Hallucinogens.” April 2019. Accessed August 14, 2019.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “How Do Hallucinogens (LSD, Psilocybin, P[…] the Brain and Body?” Updated February 2015. Accessed August 14, 2019.
National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens. “Tolerance, Dependence, Addiction: What’s the Difference?” January 12, 2017. Accessed August 14, 2019.
Volpi-Abadie, Jacqueline; Kaye, Adam M.; Kaye, Alan David. “Serotonin Syndrome.” Ochsner Journal, Winter 2013. Accessed August 14, 2019.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.