Lasting Damage of Club Drugs

Designer drugs, also known as club drugs, are often used in nightclubs and at parties by individuals looking to enhance their experience. However, these substances can cause lasting damage. The short and long-term side effects of designer drugs should not be overlooked — even if drug use is rare. If you or a loved one is struggling with the use of club drugs or other addictive substances, you should learn everything you can about the dangers they may pose. Read on here for an overview of the side effects of LSD, ketamine, ecstasy, and more from the experts at Ascend.

What Are Designer Drugs?

Designer drugs are synthetic substances that produce powerful effects on the brain and body. Examples of these drugs can include:

  • Ecstasy/MDMA
  • LSD
  • Ketamine
  • Synthetic Marijuana
  • Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)
  • Bath Salts

Designer drugs can cause individuals who take them to feel euphoria or to experience pleasant hallucinations, but there can also be dangerous or harmful side effects of designer drugs.

The Dangers of Designer Drugs

One reason why designer drugs can be dangerous is that it can be difficult to tell if they are laced with any other substances. Because these drugs aren’t regulated, they can be more potent than you might expect. This can lead to an overdose or other issues.

Side Effects of Ecstasy

Ecstasy or MDMA (popularly known as Molly) produces feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and a distorted sense of space and time. Short-term side effects of this designer drug can include nausea, blurred vision, and muscle cramps. The powerful release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine is then followed by a crash that can include feelings of depression, anxiety, and irritability. 

Side Effects of LSD

LSD is a mind-altering substance with short-term side effects that include hallucinations, a rapid heart rate, and dilated pupils. Some individuals experience a loss of control when they take LSD. While LSD doesn’t usually produce life-threatening effects, it’s possible to experience an accident while on LSD due to the hallucinatory experiences and severely impaired decision-making. 

The long-term side effects of LSD can include flashbacks and anxiety, especially if an individual has had a bad trip. As the tolerance to LSD grows and a user takes more and more to experience the same effects, the risk of an overdose grows as well.

Side Effects of GHB

Gamma hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, is a designer drug that causes similar effects to benzodiazepines. It’s known as a date-rape drug because it is scentless, tasteless, and can cause individuals to experience confusion and a loss of control. Taken in high doses, it can cause serious side effects such as seizures, shortness of breath, and death due to lack of oxygen to the brain. Over time, those who continue to take GHB can experience long-term side effects like psychotic thoughts, respiratory depression, or even overdose.

Side Effects of Ketamine

Ketamine, also known as Special K or Vitamin K, has long been used as an animal anesthetic. Because of the detached, dissociative experience it creates in humans, ketamine has also become a popular club drug. Unfortunately, the side effects of this designer drug are pretty harsh and may include muscle weakness, depression, insomnia, and long-term cognitive difficulties.

Side Effects of Bath Salts

Bath salts are synthetic cathinones that are used as a stimulant. This type of designer drug elicits increased friendliness and sex drive, but the side effects of this designer drug can cause paranoia, hallucinations, panic attacks, and violent behavior.

Help Your Teen Avoid the Side Effects of Designer Drugs

To help your teen stay safe from club drugs, talk to them openly and honestly about substance use. Get to know their friends and provide support for any mental health issues they’re facing. The dangers of club drugs are real and can cause long-term damage to your child. If your teen needs professional help, reach out to Ascend Healthcare today. We offer a residential treatment center in California to help teens heal from addiction and build happier, healthier lives.

Family involvement, evidence-based therapies, and a supportive, safe environment all work together to help the teens in our care heal. Reach out to our team today at 310.388.3713 or connect with us online to learn more.


Ascend Healthcare provides a healing and welcoming environment for teens. Our focus on family, passion, and empowerment allow us to transform the lives of our clients and put them back on the right path. We provide a 45-90 day residential program for teens that includes numerous evidence-based therapies to help our clients succeed.