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What is Phencyclidine Use Disorder?

Phencyclidine use disorder is a pattern of phencyclidine (PCP) use (or a pharmacologically similar substance) that causes significant impairment or distress, as demonstrated by at least two of the following factors occurring within a 12-month period:

  • Phencyclidine is often used in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  • There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control phencyclidine use.
  • A great deal of time is spent trying to obtain phencyclidine or recover from its effects.
  • Person has a craving or strong desire to use phencyclidine.
  • Recurrent phencyclidine use results in a failure to fulfill major obligations at work, school, or home (e.g., repeated absences from work or poor work performance related to phencyclidine use; suspensions or expulsions from school; neglect of children or household).
  • Phencyclidine use continues despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of phencyclidine use (e.g., arguments with a spouse about consequences of intoxication; physical fights).
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of phencyclidine use.
  • Recurrent phencyclidine use takes place in situations where it is physically hazardous (e.g., driving a car or operating a machine)
  • Phencyclidine use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to be caused or exacerbated by the drug.
  • Tolerance has been built up, as defined as either of the following:
    • A need for markedly increased amounts of phencyclidine to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
    • A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of phencyclidine.

Phencyclidine use disorder is rated as mild with the presence of 2-3 symptoms, moderate with 4-5 symptoms, and severe with 6 or more symptoms.

Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

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