Hallucinogens can lead to a variety of risks and negative health effects, but there is hope with teen hallucinogen addiction treatment. Sandstone Care supports teens and young adults with substance use and mental health disorders.
The NIH defines hallucinogens as a group of drugs that alter a person’s awareness of their surroundings, thoughts, and feelings.
Hallucinogens can be split into two categories:
Both types can cause hallucinations. Hallucinations are sensations or images that seem real but are not.
Hallucinogens can make individuals feel a loss of control or disconnected from their body or environment. Hallucinogens can come from plants or be man-made.
Historically, some hallucinogens have been used in rituals or for religious purposes.
However, teens use hallucinogens for recreational purposes, experimental purposes, or as a way to self-medicate.
People can use hallucinogens in a variety of different ways. Some can be taken as tablets or pills, as a liquid, consumed raw or dried, brewed in a tea, snorting, injecting, inhaling, vaporizing, smoking, or by absorption through the lining of the mouth.
Common hallucinogens include:
Depending on the type of drug, a person can overdose on hallucinogens. It is more likely with dissociative drugs such as PCP, which can lead to seizures, coma, and death.
There is also the risk of accidental poisoning that can come from contaminants or other substances that are possibly mixed with the drug.
Individuals who use hallucinogens are also at risk of engaging in harmful and risky behavior because they have an altered mood and perception while taking the drug.
Studies suggest that some hallucinogens are addictive and build tolerance in the user.
Someone who uses a hallucinogen may do things they would never do in “real life.”
Teens are especially susceptible to developing an addiction because their brains are still going through major development throughout their mid-twenties.
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According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among people aged 12 and older, about 372,00 people had a hallucinogen use disorder in the past 12 months.
2021 Monitoring the Future Survey reports an estimated 1 % of 8th graders, 2.2% of 10th graders, and 4.1% of 12th graders used hallucinogens in the past 12 months.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides an interesting resource called Tips for Teens: The Truth about Hallucinogens, which has Q&As and basic facts about hallucinogens and what they can do to a teen’s health and development.
It is important to pay attention and know what is going on in your teens’ life to understand whether or not they may be struggling with a hallucinogen addiction.
When a teen is addicted to hallucinogens, you can commonly see changes in mood, behavior, and friendships.
You may also notice changes in their appearance. They may have a sudden change in their weight, poor hygiene, or avoid eye contact. Some types of hallucinogens, like LSD, may cause dilated pupils.
If you find that your teen is in possession of hallucinogens or drug paraphernalia, it is important to reach out and talk to them about it.
It is important to know that you are not alone and that help and support are available.
The most helpful way to know if your teen needs treatment for hallucinogen addiction is by reaching out for professional help. This can be their doctor, a counselor, or a therapist.
At Sandstone Care, teen hallucinogen addiction treatment aims to address the root causes of their addiction and help teens recognize the negative effects of taking hallucinogens.
By identifying and addressing any underlying problems, treatment aims to help teens create a life and identity without substances.
Individualized, age-specific treatment considers the unique factors related to teens’ hallucinogen addiction.
There is no medication approved by the FDA to treat hallucinogen addiction. However, behavioral treatments may be helpful.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment commonly used for individuals with borderline personality disorder or substance use disorders.
DBT can be broken down into four main skills: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.
DBT specifically targets the thoughts and behaviors that lead teens to make destructive choices.
Hallucinogens can lead to a variety of risks and negative health effects. Sandstone Care supports teens and young adults with substance use and mental health disorders.
You have questions. We have answers. Our goal is to provide the most helpful information. You can always reach out to us with any questions you may have.
According to the Journal of Psychology and Neuroscience, hallucinations are perceptions in the absence of external stimulus and involve a different sense of reality.
Hallucinations may come from increased activity in the sensory modalities.
When someone hallucinates, they may hear a voice that no one else in the room can hear or see an image that no one else can see.
There are different types of hallucinations: visual, olfactory, gustatory, auditory, and tactile hallucinations.
Someone who experiences visual hallucinations may see objects, visual patterns, people, or lights.
An example of olfactory hallucination can be smelling something bad when, in reality, nothing smells.
Gustatory hallucinations involve your sense of taste. Often, the tastes may be unpleasant or metallic.
Auditory hallucinations are one of the most common types of hallucinations. Someone may hear a voice telling them to do things, someone walking above them, or repeated tapping sounds when they are not there.
Tactile hallucinations involve touch or feeling movement on the skin. An example of tactile hallucinations can include feeling bugs crawling on your skin or someone’s hands on your body.
Hallucinogens are also commonly referred to as psychedelics.
Some teens or young people may use slang terms when talking about hallucinogens.
Other common names for LSD include acid, dots, and mellow yellow.
Common names for psilocybin can include little smoke, magic mushrooms, and shrooms.
Peyote (mescaline) is commonly referred to as buttons, cactus, and mesc.
Popular names for PCP can include Angel Dust, hog, love boat, and peace pill.
Slang terms used for Ketamine may include Special K or cat valium.
According to the NIH, alcohol, and tobacco are the most commonly used drugs by adolescents.
Next would be marijuana, prescription drugs, and hallucinogens.
Approaching teens about drugs may feel like a difficult or uneasy conversation.
When approaching teenagers about drugs, you want to remain calm and open.
Approaching the conversation in an aggressive, confronting way may make your teen feel like they can’t share certain things with you or tell you the truth without you becoming angry or them getting in trouble.
It is also important to be understanding and listen to what they have to say.
Often, teens just want to be heard, and they can be experiencing a lot of new or difficult emotions that they may not know how to handle.
Offer them support and let them know that you are there.
Educating yourself and your teen on the risks and dangers of drug use can help prevent substance abuse or help them take the step to reach out and get treatment.
Common signs of drug addiction in teenagers may include:
Drugs can interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals through neurotransmitters.
Drugs can mimic the natural chemicals in the brain; however, they don’t activate neurons the way the brain naturally does. This results in abnormal messages being sent throughout the brain.
Large amounts of dopamine, a brain chemical released from some drugs, lead the brain to continue to seek out the drug repeatedly.
The brain of someone who misuses drugs has a reduced ability to feel pleasure from natural rewards.
There are a variety of different reasons why adolescents may abuse drugs.
Many adolescents may use drugs as a way to “fit in.” They may be under the misconception that everyone is doing it or fall victim to peer pressure.
There is another popular misconception that trying drugs is part of growing up. Some teens may want to experiment with substances like hallucinogens to feel what it’s like, not knowing the negative effects it can have on their health and well-being even after just one use.
They may also begin to use drugs as a way to self-medicate. Mental health issues are common among teens and young adults, making them vulnerable to substance use disorders and addiction.
Furthermore, teens and adolescents experience a lot of stress during their teenage years. Substance abuse may come as an unhealthy coping mechanism for difficult feelings.
Teens can also be looking for a way to feel pleasure or to get “high.” Some drugs imitate euphoric feelings by interacting with the neurochemistry of the brain.
Over time, young people’s brain chemicals can become altered, and rather than creating feelings of pleasure, an individual uses substances to feel normal again.