Dissociative drugs affect the brain in much the same way as the related class of hallucinogens categorized as psychedelics. Both dissociatives and psychedelics interact with specific receptor molecules, causing short-term changes to consciousness and perception by virtue of their impact on neurochemistry. Whereas most major psychedelics accomplish these effects through action on serotonin receptors in the brain, dissociatives may act on other receptors such as NMDA receptors, thus causing different mental and perceptual states than psychedelics. In particular, dissociatives are associated with creating feelings of depersonalization, during which the person feels detached from their environment and self. This perceptual change is known as dissociation, which gives the dissociative drug category its name.
[P1] Dissociative drugs interact with receptor molecules to alter our perceptions.