Salvia is a genus of mint plant, but the variety used in the recreational drug world is salvia divinorum. This variety is naturally psychoactive and puts users in an altered mental state, often inducing hallucinations. It is still legal to use in most of the United States, and is usually smoked or chewed.
Science has not found that salvia consistently creates a physical dependency in the user, which is one of the main reasons it remains legal. Abuse of it can be very dangerous, however, and it is possible to develop a psychological dependence. If regular abuse of the drug is interfering with a person’s life, they may need a period of medical detox at a residential facility in order to overcome the substance abuse.
Even though a physical dependency is unlikely, cases of psychological dependence on salvia have been seen. Often this is caused by a person using salvia to self-medicate for an undiagnosed or untreated mental health disorder.
Detox focuses on finding the causes of the abuse while also treating the patient with appropriate medication. Even though there may not be a physical dependency, residential detox is often appropriate for salvia as the user will not be in their right mind for an extended amount of time and may require medical supervision until the drug is out of their system.
Users who are experiencing strong salvia cravings may have great difficulty ceasing use on their own. As mentioned previously, this is often due to it being used to self-medicate for a mental health issue that is not being properly treated.
Family dynamics can also play a role in keeping a drug user from quitting the habit. Co-dependent behavior patterns often emerge that support the addiction. While loved ones and family members usually do not intend to contribute to the addiction, these patterns emerge unconsciously or out of lack of knowledge of how to handle an addiction.
Detox for salvia can be a bit confusing. While there is not likely to be a physical dependence, the regular salvia user may be in an altered mental state that requires medical supervision. Any salvia user who regularly displays erratic behavior and poor or strange judgment should at least consider an initial period of residential detox to break their patterns of use.
Residential detox usually lasts for a few days. The patient is medically supervised until the drug is out of their system, and any withdrawal symptoms or cravings they are experiencing will be treated with appropriate medications. Patients will also receive mental health and substance abuse counseling, and this is an opportunity for a previously undiagnosed mental health issue to be uncovered and for treatment of it to start.
Even though physical dependence is usually not seen, some users of salvia who have sought treatment have shown certain symptoms. Anxiety, paranoia and outbursts of aggression may occur. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea have also been seen.
Since salvia abuse and withdrawal are not well-documented by medical science, it is possible that other symptoms could occur. This makes it important to seek medical treatment even though a physical dependence is unlikely — the professionals at a certified treatment facility will have the most up-to-date information and can determine the best possible course of action.
There are no management drugs for salvia as there are for some of the other addictive drugs like opioids. Users who are still under the influence of salvia and who are not in control of their behavior may be given a sedative or an anti-psychotic medication until the effects of the salvia wear off.
Residential treatment is important for habitual salvia users as there is a very good chance that they are experiencing an underlying mental health disorder that they are not entirely aware of. It may be possible to do only a few days of detox to come to grips with getting off of the drug, followed by outpatient care with any counseling or medication the patient may need.
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