A widely used phrase among the counter-culture of the 1960s was “turn on, tune in, drop out.” It was intended to promote the idea that altering your mind could somehow alter physical reality. What we now know is that these substances did not fulfill their promise. Unfortunately, despite what we now know about the downsides of psychedelics use, these drugs have made a resurgence in today’s adolescent population.
As of late, psychedelics have managed to gain cachet as the hip new harmless way to expand your mind. Yet, as we just mentioned, there is nothing new about it, and it is anything but safe.
This trend is especially dangerous for the adolescent population because their brain chemistry is particularly vulnerable. If you feel that your daughter is engaging in psychedelic use, it is important to intervene, because psychedelics can not only alter her mental state; it can alter her life’s trajectory.
The Resurgence of Psychedelics for Adolescents
There are many reasons why psychedelics have seen more widespread recreational use in recent years. Many states have made it legal to experiment with psychedelics in medicine and psychiatry. We would like to note that there may be some benefits to this therapy, but it is in its early stages. We do not utilize it at our center, and thus we feel it would be irresponsible to promote it.
However, this promotion of medicinal use has begun to normalize recreational use. This is dangerous because there is a big difference between psychedelic use with professional oversight and acquiring psychedelics on the street.
Another reason psychedelic use has seen a recent recreational boon in teens is that some states have even decriminalized them and/or made them recreationally legal. Of course, we aren’t here to tell full-grown adults what they should or should not do. What we want to communicate today is that psychedelics are extremely unsafe for children and teenagers.
The Myths Surrounding Safety and Psychedelics
It may be important to understand that while many naturally occurring psychedelics have been around for thousands of years (think psilocybin from mushrooms, or peyote) the most recent surge in psychedelics came in the mid-20th Century in the form of LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide). LSD was first utilized secretly by the U.S. government to aid in interrogations. Why? Because it is intensely mind-altering and disruptive!
Why was its use discontinued? Because this usage was shown to be irresponsible and incredibly harmful. Here are just a few of the negative effects of psychedelics as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
- Experiencing increased blood pressure, breathing rate, or body temperature
- Having a prolonged loss of appetite
- Interruptions in healthy sleep patterns
- Exhibiting bizarre behaviors
- Experiencing paranoia and extreme distrust of others (including family and friends)
- Experiencing psychosis and a detachment from reality
When broken down in this way, you can begin to see that psychedelics are not simply harmless fun and experimentation. These are just the short-term effects, there are also long-term effects, which may be even more disconcerting.
The Long-Term Effects of Prolonged Psychedelic Use
While short-term effects are scary enough, the long-term effects of psychedelic use can be extremely disruptive to your daughter’s ability to live her future to the fullest. According to the NIDA, two very specific long-term side effects can accompany psychedelic use.
The first is known as “persistent psychosis,” which exhibits itself in ways such as extreme paranoia, experiencing continued visual disturbances, and sudden mood changes. The second is referred to as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), and it can be very damaging.
NIDA defines HPPD as experiencing “recurrences of certain drug experiences, such as hallucinations or other visual disturbances. These flashbacks often happen without warning and may occur within a few days or more than a year after drug use.” With the potential for these long-term effects, we feel the risk for adolescents is too great to ignore.
Recovery: Seeking Spirituality Instead of Seeking Oblivion
The good news is that if caught early, the effects of psychedelic use are completely treatable. We here at Elk Mountain Girls Academy have the tools and recourses to help your daughter recover from the effects. We also can prevent recurrence by helping her understand why she was seeking these substances in the first place.
The idea of “tuning out” can be enticing. After all, life can be hard. However, we feel that there is a much better way of doing that. Plus there are ways that are free, have no negative side effects, and don’t require you to “check out” and disappear.
Instead of seeking chemical solace, we encourage our students to make a spiritual connection. Psychedelics do not take young people anywhere safe or positive; they are a cheap and dangerous thrill. They are an inadequate alternative to a spiritual experience. An authentic, natural spiritual experience, however, can take them wherever they want to go in life. With God (as they understand him), they will have the ability to succeed.
The recent acceptance and promotion of psychedelics in the U.S. have made their use seem safe and viable for the younger generation. This is a dangerous occurrence. While psychedelics may be unsafe for anyone, they are especially dangerous for adolescents. This is because their brains are not fully developed, so altering their chemical makeup, especially with something as mind-altering as psychedelics, can have long-lasting effects. If you believe your daughter is engaging in psychedelic use, please do not minimize it. These drugs are not something to be swept under the rug or ignored. They can have devastating effects on your daughter’s current potential and future success. We can help. Please call Elk Mountain Girls Academy today at (888) 403-0346 for more information.