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Salvia (Salvia divinorum or S. divinorum) is a plant in the mint family and grows in the Sierra Mazateco region of Oaxaca, Mexico. Used by native and the Mazatec Indians of the region for religious ceremonies and for treating common ailments, the rare perennial herb is abused for its hallucinogenic effects. Salvia can be taken in several ways – people can either chew the leaves, make tea out of the leaves, or smoke them in a water pipe or roll up like a cigarette.

Salvia falls in the hallucinogen family of drugs along with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and phencyclidine (PCP). The main ingredient of the leave is chemical Salvinorin A, which creates hallucinations and out-of-body experiences. Despite its known effects, not many Salvia-related studies have been performed to understand its working in the body, its addictive nature or its potential long-term effects. For that reason, Salvia is legal in many states, though several states have come together to place restrictions on the plant. In 2016, an estimated 1.4 million people in the U.S. (aged 12 or older) used hallucinogens.

Though the drug is used in the United States for a few decades, it probably didn’t reach mainstream culture until a 2010 video of Miley Cyrus smoking some in a water pipe hit the Internet.

Salvia use: health effects

Commonly referred to as “salvia,” “maria pastora,” “magic mint” or “sally-D,” Salvia divinorum is a mind-altering drug that can cause severe physical and psychological symptoms when abused.

Following are some of its effects.

  • Fear and panic
  • Hallucination
  • Uncontrollable laughter
  • Disconnection from external reality
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Memory loss
  • Alteration of perception

Some research has shown that Salvia works on kappa opioid receptors (KORs) in the brain that are associated with regulation of interoception, sensory perception, sense of body ownership, pain sensing, mood and consciousness. This can explain salvia’s dissociative effects which make people forget where they were and that they had smoked the drug. They sometimes forget they had bodies and weren’t sure what was real. Additionally, it also results in slurred speech, lack of coordination and silly behavior. The effects are relatively short, lasting for less than eight minutes.

With so little research done on salvia, it is difficult to determine if a person can abuse it or become addicted to it. A dissociative drug, salvia is quite popular as a recreational drug of abuse among teenagers and young adults.

Studies have shown that it can impact learning and memory in animals, but a similar effect on humans is still not clear. According to anecdotal reports from people who have tried the drug, other symptoms of salvia use included anxiety, confusion, language impairment, headache and drowsiness. Others have reported that they wouldn’t use salvia again, as it was too intense for them. There have been no reports of salvia overdoses but some people have accidentally killed themselves after using the drug.

Salvia addiction

Until more research is conducted, it’s hard to comprehend the effects of salvia abuse or salvia addiction on a person. However, there are certain signs and symptoms of salvia abuse or addiction that people should be aware of, including physical health changes, a noticeable lack of energy and motivation, depression and irritability.

Following are some of the signs and symptoms of salvia addiction.

  • Increased drug dependency
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Drug tolerance, requiring more of the drug to achieve the desired effects
  • Inability to stop drug use
  • Neglecting responsibilities and social activities
  • Focusing more on obtaining and using the drug
  • Increased secrecy or social withdrawal
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop drug use

If you or a loved one who regularly uses salvia are showing any of these signs, it’s time to seek treatment.

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Treatment for salvia addiction

There is very little research on the withdrawal symptoms of salvia, if there are any. However, anyone who is addicted or has abused salvia should undergo supervised salvia detox treatment, and be monitored for any withdrawal symptoms or any life-threatening issues. If they have any co-occurring disorders, such as salvia addiction and depression, they should be treated accordingly to prevent any chance of relapse due to the secondary illness.

Post a successful detoxification treatment, a patient undergoes intense behavioral therapies or counseling sessions, as it helps discover the underlying causes of addiction and teach people the effective skills required to live a drug-free life. Therapy or counseling may focus on understanding the nature of addiction, the factors that may have led to the addiction, and the emotions and thought processes involved in one’s drug addiction journey. After treatment, supportive programs, such as a 12-step program or classes, can continue to help someone as they make their way to a drug-free life.

Why choose Sovereign Health

A leader in providing treatment for addiction-related and co-occurring disorders, Sovereign Health of Texas is licensed by the State of Texas as a substance abuse treatment facility. Offering top-notch treatment options, Sovereign Health of El Paso offers personalized treatment programs, medically assisted detox, intensive residential treatment and intensive outpatient program to both male and female patients over the age of 18.

Depending on the frequency and amount of the drug abused, treatment for salvia addiction at our state-of-the-art treatment centers may combine detox followed by therapy or counseling sessions under the supervision and care of certified and licensed medical health professionals.

In addition to traditional clinical treatments, including medically supervised detox program, Sovereign Health of El Paso, Texas, offers its patients evidence-based treatment modalities, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), neurofeedback, individual, group and family therapy and experiential therapies.

For those struggling with salvia addiction and looking for professional and effective treatment options, Sovereign Health of El Paso, Texas, is the answer, as it offers world-class care and cutting-edge treatment methods to deal with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Sovereign Health can help you get started on the road to recovery. For more information on our treatment programs or to locate our salvia detox centers, call our 24/7 helpline number and speak to a member of our admissions team. You can even chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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