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In the world of illicit drugs, “bath salts” have nothing to do epsom salts or with taking a bath. Bath salts are man-made, designer street drugs that are psychoactive stimulants with a high potential for abuse.
About Bath Salts
According to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Bath salts is the name used for two synthetic drugs, Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and Mephedrone. They are derivatives of cathinone, a natural stimulant that comes from the khat plant that grows in the Middle East and areas of Africa. Cathinone has structural similarities to ecstasy, amphetamine, and noradrenaline. Both MDPV and Mephedrone have a high potential for abuse, physical dependence, and addiction.
Bath salts are sold as brown, tan, or white crystalline colored powders and labeled as bath salts, plant food, research chemicals, and glass cleaner and marked “not for human consumption.” This is done to avoid regulation and detection by authorities. These drugs are usually taken by sniffing or snorting. However, they can also be smoked, taken orally, or mixed with a solution and injected.
These drugs are also known as Vanilla Sky, Flakka, Pure Ivory, Ocean Burst, White Dove, and Cloud Nine, among many other nicknames.
Addiction to Bath Salts
They affect the brain and central nervous system. Extremely large amounts of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine are released, creating a sense of great pleasure. These pleasurable feelings are so powerful that many individuals have a strong urge to take the drug again. As they continue using bath salts, dependency develops, resulting in addiction.
For many users, the high from bath salts may be similar to those from methamphetamine (crystal meth), MDMA (Ecstasy), and cocaine. However, bath salts are much more powerful than cocaine.
Effects of Bath Salts Addiction
Many dangerous effects can result from taking these drugs. Individuals may have cognitive problems, such as difficulty with memory or paying attention. They may be confused, agitated, and aggressive. Combativeness, violence, and self-destructive behavior such as self-mutilation or suicidal ideation may occur. Sweating, headaches, teeth grinding, rapid heart rate, and palpitations are common.
The most dangerous and sometimes fatal potential effects include:
- Respiratory distress
- Brain swelling
When a person with a bath salts addiction stops using them, they experience withdrawal. The intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms vary based on several factors, such as:
- The amount of the drug used
- The frequency of use
- Length of addiction
- Whether other substances were used
- Method of taking the drug
- The individual’s physical and mental condition, age, and physiology
This drug is highly addictive, both physically and psychologically. When going through withdrawal, most people experience mood changes, such as anxiety, depression, irritability, and agitation. They may have panic attacks, be very suspicious, and exhibit extreme paranoia. Fatigue, nasal congestion, and sleep problems occur. Reduced cognitive functions, memory problems, inability to concentrate, and a feeling of brain fogginess are common.
Additional Withdrawal Symptoms
Additional symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Violent behavior
- Psychotic-like behaviors such as hallucinations and/or delusions
- Suicidal thinking or behaviors
- Intense cravings
Often people withdrawing from bath salts demonstrate very bizarre behavior due to their extreme psychosis and paranoia.
Do You Need Help?
If you or a loved one struggles with an addiction to bath salts or any other substance, now is the time to get the help you need. You are not alone. At Canyon Vista Recovery Center located in Mesa, Arizona, our caring, professional staff can help you achieve your goal of sobriety. Using a combination of medical, clinical, psychiatric, and holistic approaches, the staff will help you gain the valuable skills you need to attain long-term sobriety. Take the first step toward recovery and give Canyon Vista Recovery Center a call.