Phencyclidine

Phencyclidine (PCP) is a synthetic drug that possesses attractive physiological properties. It was originally synthesized in the early 1980s as a possible surgical anesthetic. PCP allowed the patient to enter a surreal state in which the awareness of pain could be separated from the sensation of pain, a state that has been termed “Dissociative anesthesia”. In this state, the patient can experience profound insensitivity to pain, but may be conscious with his eyes open. The dissociative properties and other side effects of PCP mimic the symptoms of schizophrenia. Researchers explored and continue to explore the possibility of using PCP as a model drug to induce a schizophrenia-like state in experimental subjects, although the validity of this approach remains a topic of debate. When the drug was administered to volunteers, many symptoms were produced that are also commonly seen in schizophrenia, including social removal, depersonalization, impaired abstract thinking, and thought disorder. Schizophrenic patients given PCP are more sensitive than normal patients to its effects, and often suffer relapse.

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