Subjective Effects of Deliriants
Deliriants are a class of hallucinogen that are unique in that they offer solid hallucinations which display themselves seamlessly into waking consciousness, similar to fully formed dreams. These hallucinations are also characterised by delusions and psychosis as they are most often immediately accepted as reality by the person experiencing them. In contrast, classical psychedelics and dissociatives have progressive levels of multiple all-encompassing sensory effects before reaching the level of concrete hallucination. They also rarely induce psychosis, with most people maintaining an understanding that they are simply under the influence of a substance throughout any hallucinations which they undergo.
Outside of these delirious external hallucinations, deliriant trips are primarily characterised by incredibly uncomfortable and often dangerous physical side effects alongside deep feelings of fear, anxiety, and confusion. It is because of this that deliriant substances hold no therapeutic or recreational potential and are instead merely curiosities that should not be experimented with by any but the most experienced of psychonauts.
This article breaks down the subjective effects of the deliriant experience into simple and easy to understand descriptions with accompanying image replications. This is done without resorting to metaphor, analogy, or personal trip reports.
These descriptions are not specific to any particular substance but are applicable to the effects which commonly occur in various forms under the influence of almost any deliriant compound. This includes, but is not limited to, both synthetic and plant based deliriants, such as:
diphenhydramine (DPH), datura, atropine, hyoscyamine, scopolamine, dimenhydrinate, doxylamine, benzydamine, elemicin, brugmansia, atropa belladonna, hyoscyamus niger, mandragora officinarum
Individual effects are also summarized with a prominent link to their full article.
Visual effects are any subjective experience which directly alters a person's sense of sight.
Peripheral information misinterpretation
Settings, sceneries, and landscapes
- Autonomous entities of an intrinsically sinister and threatening nature - This can include demons, deformed monstrosities, hooded figures, mocking entities and otherwise normal human beings deformed by severe injury or illness.
- Scenarios and plots of an intrinsically sinister and threatening nature - This can include scenes of suffering directed towards oneself or other people, such as being tortured, scenes in which one is being hunted as prey by “evil” creatures or forces, and the direct experience of one’s personal fears.
- Settings, sceneries, and landscapes of an intrinsically sinister and threatening nature - This can include the visitation of hellish landscapes, ancient monolithic Lovecraftian architecture, and ruined civilizations.
- Fearing for the fabric of one’s sanity - This can be described as feeling as if one’s current perception is so horrific that they will surely be left permanently insane with severe psychological damage. The effect can leave people with an immediate sense that ordinary life is a thin shell over a comparatively horrifying reality, one which cannot be dismissed or escaped from. Despite these hallucinations being extremely stressful, this effect rarely leaves individuals with lasting psychological problems.
Auditory effects are any subjective effect which directly alters a person's sense of hearing.
Tactile effects are any subjective effect which directly alters a person's sense of touch.
Multisensory effects are any subjective effect which directly alters two or more senses simultaneously.
Although some hallucinatory effects may affect multiple senses at one time they are usually not categorized as 'multisensory effects' unless they do so consistently. For example, while experiences with autonomous entities may sometimes have a tactile component to them, more often than not they are primarily a visual experience and are therefore classified as such.
Cognitive effects are any subjective experience which directly alter or introduce new content to an element of a person's cognition.
Autonomous voice communication
Feelings of impending doom
Physical effects are any subjective experience which directly affects an aspect of a person's physical body.
Perception of bodily heaviness
Uncomfortable Physical Effects
An uncomfortable physical effect is any substance-induced alteration of a person's physical state which is unpleasant, undesirable, painful, or otherwise a source of distress. In most cases they indicate a temporary part of a substance's interaction with the body. However, in certain contexts, they can also indicate the need for attention or even medical treatment if they become dangerously severe.