Teen Salvia Addiction Treatment

Salvia is a plant commonly found in Latin American countries. It is technically of the mint family, but delivers a unique hallucinogenic effect when teens chew the leaves, smoke the plant matter, or drink the herb’s extracted juices. The resulting high is incredibly intense but brief, often lasting no longer than a half hour, if it even lasts that long.

While salvia isn’t the same as dopaminergic drugs, the potential for addiction exists. Teens who use the drug to escape stress are at a higher risk for developing abusive behaviors.

What Does Teen Salvia Addiction Look Like?

  • Salvia creates psychedelic effects. Teens may become moody, feel disconnected from reality, feel strange physical sensations, or even have visual perception changes. The potential for a hallucinogenic event dictates anyone using the drug be closely supervised.
  • There isn’t enough research to say whether or not salvia causes a physical addiction. That said, the intense high creates a strong attraction and teens who begin using it tend to use it on a regular basis.
  • Salvia isn’t known for creating “bad” highs, but an altered perception of reality can lead a teen to inadvertently hurt himself while flailing or moving around. Teens who already have mental health disorders, including paranoia and anxiety, can have bad highs.

Signs of Teen Salvia Addiction

Lack of response while high

Lack of response while high

Secretive and dishonest behavior

Secretive and dishonest behavior

Cognitive decline and confusion

Cognitive decline and confusion

Poor memory or amnesia

Poor memory or amnesia

Lightheadedness or dizziness

Lightheadedness or dizziness

Fear or paranoia

Fear or paranoia

Anxiety Or panic attacks

Anxiety Or panic attacks

Causes of Teen Salvia Addiction

While there are a number of factors that may leave a teen more prone to developing a dependency, salvia itself is not usually the cause of addiction. Instead, mental health disorders and stress is often to blame.

Mental Health Disorders – Some people with Anxiety or Depression feel a calming effect from hallucinogens and seek them out as a form of relief from their everyday symptoms. Little to no research exists that can conclusively reveal whether or not salvia is appropriate for treating mental health issues. In fact, teens with existing mental health disorders are more likely to experience a worsening of symptoms, creating significant health risks.

Stress and Peer Pressure – While stress and pressure are a normal part of life, many teens feel extreme levels of stress. They may turn to drugs for relief as they look for ways to cope. Teens who are introduced to salvia look at it as a legal substance they can use to feel good and get some reprieve from the pressure, but they aren’t well-versed when it comes to the side effects. Teens who abuse salvia may have cognitive issues, memory impairments, and problems handling day-to-day responsibilities.

Genetics - Some people are capable of experimenting with drugs without ever becoming addicted. Others, especially those with a family history of dependency, are far more likely to become dependent or addicted either emotionally, physically, or both. There is not enough research to fully understand why some people have a higher risk than others.

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Teen Salvia Addiction Treatment | Paradigm San Francisco


minute – how long it takes to become “high” after a hit of salvia.


of salvia users also use chemical drugs, alcohol, or marijuana.


of people over the age of 12 have tried salvia at least once.

How Can I Help My Teen with Salvia Addiction?

Get Educated – The more you understand about salvia, the easier it will be for you to understand your teen’s addiction. While a salvia addiction is very different than what you would see with dopaminergic drugs, you do need to watch for signs that your teen is using multiple drugs to ensure they get treatment. While we know that salvia produces a hallucinogenic high similar to LSD, little is known about the long-term consequences of its use.

Help Your Teen Learn to Cope – It’s important to establish and build a foundation of trust with your teen. It’s easy to brush off the fact that teens are stressed and pressured as a normal part of life, but those who are turning to drugs --- addictive or not --- are doing so for a reason. Your teen needs to be able to turn to you for help and feel as though they can share problems without being judged. Your support is critical to finding healthier solutions and coping mechanisms so that they can better handle stress and improve their mood instead of turning to short-term and potentially dangerous solutions.

Talk about Recovery - Recovery continues long after a teen is discharged from a residential treatment facility like Paradigm San Francisco. Your teen will need your help as they adjust to the home environment; look for external resources near your home and school. Encourage your teen to keep in touch with the friends made in recovery, support them all in their efforts to maintain sobriety, and encourage them to find new outlets and activities to relieve stress on a regular basis.

What Types of Teen Salvia Addiction Treatment are Available?

Teen salvia addiction treatment is similar to treatment for other drugs. Teens will receive an individually tailored treatment plan that addresses not only the actual drug use but the reasons a teen feels compelled to use. They leave treatment with better coping mechanisms in place and have access to the resources they need to continue moving forward.


Medication isn’t a treatment for addiction. It can be used to treat symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, and the type of thinking that leads to self-harm. SSRIs are sometimes used to treat a teen’s mood, which has a huge impact on how receptive they are to therapy and treatment in general. Lastly, it may help to reduce dangerous suicidal ideation or feelings of self-harm that make it difficult for teens and therapists to work together.

Talk Therapy

Teens have a specific set of goals for therapy. They need to stop using drugs, address the triggers that led to their use, and create a support network that helps them towards their sober living goals. But this process takes time; it can’t and won’t happen overnight.

Our therapists will first help and support your teen as they go through the symptoms of withdrawal from salvia, if any. We work closely with our teens to better understand the types of stress and conflict they feel were impacting their lives. In many cases, teens feel stress coming at them from multiple angles and this is a huge catalyst for repeated drug use.

Teens who are better able to recognize their triggers can live a more intentional life, staying in the present while making healthier lifestyle choices. We give them the tools to feel empowered and in control of their lives. Talk therapy sessions focus on developing new behavior patterns, coping mechanisms, and healthier communication techniques.

Your teen may have the urge to use salvia after treatment is over, but they will leave treatment with the tools and information necessary to cope without it.

Group Therapy

While individual therapy sessions are where most of the real breakthroughs happen, group therapy and meetings are important aspects of the overall treatment plan. Teens are encouraged to interact with each other and share their personal stories. Sharing similar experiences helps teens feel less isolated and alone.

Group therapy sessions are always guided so that teens receive not only the personal story, but an overall understanding about how different people cope with stress. They learn to look at life with a different perspective and can apply some of their new knowledge to their own lives.

Teen Salvia Addiction Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco

The treatment facilities at Paradigm San Francisco are nestled in nature and stocked with all of the amenities your teen needs to enjoy their time with us. Staff members are fully-trained to guide your teen through every experience, including not only treatment, but also activities that let them become more engaged in wellness.

Drug-Free Environment

Paradigm takes pride in creating a safe environment for teens battling addiction. We offer a calming and relaxing atmosphere in which teens learn to set more realistic life expectations. As they adjust to sober living and allow their brains to heal, they remain in an environment that doesn’t rush them into temptation too soon. Paradigm San Francisco has everything your teen needs to start their path to recovery.

Support and Education

While one-on-one therapy is great, group therapy is especially important for teens. Group meetings, therapy sessions, and activities encourage teens to practice healthy socialization and communication skills. Teens struggling with the same issues are often very supportive of each other and can provide a great deal of insight as they share their own experiences. We keep our therapy groups small and make sure everyone gets the individual attention they really need.

“ I admitted my 14-year-old here earlier this year. I will admit that it had been a tough time for him since my ex-wife and I split. But that's no excuse for letting his stress and anxiety take control. He didn't like what was happening with himself, just as I didn't like it either. So we mutually decided to check out Paradigm San Francisco and it turned out to be the right choice for him. He really liked the therapists there; they treated him like a normal teenager and helped him work through his trouble. “

– Travis B.

Frequently Asked Questions about Salvia Addiction

Is salvia a serious drug?

The problem is that there isn’t exactly a ton of research about salvia, especially in terms of whether or not is has long-term effects. Teens who use salvia regularly do risk developing negative side effects, but researchers don’t yet understand exactly what they are or how long-lasting they may be. It also isn’t clear whether salvia, as with other hallucinogens, may trigger latent mental health disorders.

Is it dangerous to go on a hallucinogenic trip?

Believe it or not, hallucinogens have been used in therapy in the past and are considered relatively safe for treating some mental health disorders. But this is only true if they’re used in a safe, controlled environment. You can have bad experiences, especially if you already have anxiety, any sort of phobia, and some other mental health issues. Even a bad mood can trigger a bad trip, and that can be extremely unpleasant. There is no research to support salvia being a good therapeutic drug.

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