Salvia Addiction & Abuse Treatment


Used for centuries by indigenous groups throughout the Americas for religious purposes, salvia divinorum is a psychoactive herb which produces extremely intense hallucinations when used. It’s also being used recreationally more and more often – witness the many videos posted to YouTube and other forms of social media of people under salvia’s effects. Slang terms for the plant include “diviner’s sage, “magic mint” and “sally d.”

Although not a drug commonly abused, the underlying problems that can drive people towards substances like salvia are well known to Sovereign Health. Our California facilities treat both the mental and physical symptoms that often accompany salvia abuse.

Abusing Salvia

Usually, salvia is smoked – it can also be chewed, vaped and even turned into a liquid concentrate. Salvia ready for use typically resembles chopped-up green leaves. As to the question of salvia addiction, studies aren’t clear. Research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests salvia use doesn’t result in dependence or addiction. Additionally, the waters are further muddied by salvia’s legal status: salvia is legal – or decriminalized – in several states, but an illegal drug in many others.

It can be easy to dismiss concerns about salvia – after all, it has been used as a spiritual tool for years, and there are promising reports about potential roles in treating Alzheimer’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Underestimating salvia’s potency is a mistake.

Salvia rapidly and utterly alters a person’s perception – a change that can be highly damaging to a user unprepared – or unaware – of salvia’s intense effects. Salvia administered in a clinical or spiritual environment is simply going to affect the user in a different way than a user experimenting with salvia at a loud party … or a user who was expecting the vastly different effects of marijuana. Experiences with salvia can result in memory loss and the loss of consciousness. Yes, salvia’s effects are short-lived; most trips can be measured in minutes. That’s more than enough time for a person to crash through a coffee table, or jump through a window to escape disturbing visions.

Symptoms of Salvia Use

  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood swings, including sensations of extreme fear and panic
  • Depersonalization
  • Memory loss and severe impairment of coordination

Red Flags of Salvia Use

  • A compulsion to escape reality via salvia
  • An inability to stop using salvia, or a belief that salvia use makes life worth living
  • Participating in dangerous behavior – intentionally or otherwise – while under the influence of salvia
  • Psychological damage resulting from repeated salvia disorder – or from using salvia along with other illicit substances

Salvia Inside the Body

How salvia works isn’t clearly understood by researchers. Like other psychedelics, many variables contribute to the drug’s effects, including:

  • The amount of the dose
  • The user’s experiences and expectations while using salvia
  • The user’s mental state
  • The environment the user is currently in – again, psychedelics affect users in vastly different ways depending on their surroundings.

Salvia’s effects are strong and come on quickly – users experience them rapidly after ingesting the drug. Generally, salvia’s effects last around half an hour, with users reporting vivid, occasionally disturbing hallucinations. These hallucinations can be visual, tactile and auditory and often have a spiritual dimension to them.

Recent research has found salvia acts on the brain’s opioid receptors – however, salvia affects different receptors from those affected by opioids. Salvia’s long-term effects are largely unknown. Some researchers think long-term withdrawal symptoms of salvia abuse might create flashbacks for users, similar to those experienced by habitual users of psychedelics like LSD. Studies on rats, meanwhile, show memory problems may develop after long-term exposure to salvia. Disturbingly, salvia use was associated with suicide in two recent cases.

Getting Help for Salvia Abuse

Casual salvia use might be a signal of deeper mental and addiction issues. Mental illness and substance use disorders – or a combination of both, known as a dual diagnosis – are serious problems that have devastating consequences if left untreated. Sovereign Health is here to help. We use proven, effective treatment modalities to help our patients into a healthier life.

Unlike many other treatment providers, Sovereign takes a holistic view of its patients. We don’t just treat the physical symptoms of salvia use; we also treat the underlying mental disorders that often fuel the abuse of salvia and other drugs.

Why Choose Sovereign Health?

We’re a leading provider of mental health and addiction treatment. Why?

  • Sovereign’s facilities across the U.S. are maintained to the highest possible standards
  • All of our facilities are accredited by the Joint Commission
  • We heal our patients in mind and body
  • We make use of traditional and alternative treatment methods

Sovereign believes everybody deserves a chance at a life free from addiction. We’re with you every step of the way. A better life can start today. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline.

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