Bath salts are synthetic substances that contain a variety of chemicals. To add, these salts are often sold over the counter by gas stations and head shops, as well as on the street. Earning their name from one of the various products they are disguised as, bath salts are a particularly dangerous “upper.” Bath salts are commonly used in the Southern United States, including Florida.
Designer drugs such as flakka and bath salts are often seen in news headlines, and associated with bizarre behaviors. Recently, a Miami man ran out of his house, ripped his clothes off, and screamed violently while fighting off police officers while high on flakka. Consequently, Florida was the nation’s clear leader in flakka-related arrests in 2014 and 2015, but the drug has spread throughout the rest of the nation as well. Nevertheless, Ambrosia Treatment Center of South Florida is here to treat bath salt abuse and addiction to prevent these dangerous outcomes and behaviors.
What are Bath Salts?
Bath salts are a synthetic stimulant drug marketed in a way that disguises their true intent. In addition, many bath salts are sold with labels such as “plant food,” “glass cleaner,” “research chemicals,” or even “not for human consumption.” Equally important, these labels hid the fact that bath salts are sold to be abused for their psychoactive effects. In fact, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), bath salts “are from the synthetic cathinone class of drugs,” which “are central nervous stimulants . . . designed to mimic effects similar to those produced by cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA (ecstasy).”
Bath salts are highly addictive because of their euphoric effects, typically sold in the form of a white or brown crystal-like powder. People consume theses salts by snorting or sniffing them. However, bath salts abuse can also happen through being smoked, swallowed, vaporized in e-cigarettes, or dissolved into liquid and injected into the veins for example.
Types of Bath Salts
Bath salts and other synthetic cathinones include:
Alpha PVP (“flakka”)
Flakka is one of the most dangerous types of synthetic cathinones. Unfortunately, they have additionally been linked to overdose deaths, violent behavior, and self-injury.
Street Names of Bath Salts
Street names or slang terms for bath salts include:
Ivory Vanilla Sky
What are the Effects of Bath Salts Abuse?
Someone abusing bath salts may exhibit the following drug effects and symptoms:
Hallucinations and excited delirium
Increased sociability and lowered inhibitions
Increase sex drive
Increased body temperature
Increased blood pressure
While the “high” typically lasts 2 to 4 hours, the physical effects can last much longer. In addition, bath salts impact a person based on how they use the drug. For example, injections can leave scars on the arms, hands, or feet, while, in contrast snorting bath salts can lead to a runny or bloody nose.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Bath Salts Include:
Impaired cognitive function
The severity of these symptoms varies depending on the following factors:
Length of use
Method of use
Previous psychological conditions
In spite of this, treatment at an inpatient substance abuse facility can, in turn, ensure long-term recovery from bath salt addiction.
Long-Term Effects of Bath Salts Abuse
Since bath salts, flakka, and other designer drugs have just recently become more popular. Because of this, their long-term effects are still difficult to measure. However, some research shows how these drugs interact with the brain and metabolize in the body. To add, studies show long-term effects of synthetic cathinones can occur long after the desired effects wear off.
Long-term effects of bath salts include:
How are Bath Salts Addictive?
Bath salts are addictive because they increase dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for feeling pleasure. To add, this neurotransmitter plays an important role in motivation and focus. An overabundance of dopamine causes a rush of pleasure, energy, and focus, which can be addictive.
Consequently, bath salts cause unnatural flooding of dopamine that you cannot experience without using substances. However, once the effects wear off, your pleasure centers will be depleted, leading to increased substance abuse. As a result, the cycle of any addiction occurs when you continue to chase the artificial pleasure created by substances. In addition, bath salts are much more potent than other stimulants like cocaine and are highly addictive.
How to Treat Bath Salt Addiction
Treating bath salt addiction involves managing symptoms of withdrawal, relapse prevention, and dealing with underlying causes of bath salt addiction. People who usually use bath salts never have the intention of becoming addicted. However, underlying factors can make addiction more likely for some people than others.
Common underlying factors of addiction include:
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
Mental health disorders, like:
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Bath Salts and Drug Addiction Rehab
Bath salts rehab needs to focus on understanding the underlying causes of your addiction to bath salts. Most drug and alcohol rehab facilities offer dual diagnosis treatment to address substance abuse and co-occurring underlying emotional or mental health conditions.
Bath salts addiction treatment can include things like:
You can also benefit from detoxing at an inpatient rehab facility. While stimulant drugs like bath salts don’t usually require a full detox program, you could benefit from inpatient rehab to help you during the early stages of recovery. Moreover, inpatient treatment centers keep you safe from triggers and temptations as you learn how to manage underlying causes of addiction.
A designer drug is a synthetic variation of an already illegal drug. Due to slight chemical changes, manufacturers are able to stay a step ahead of legislation and law enforcement. Thus, this legal gray area is what allows substances like bath salts to be sold in stores and damage the lives of young adults.
Until recently, chemicals such as MDPV and alpha-PVP could be purchased online legally through Chinese vendors and shipped directly to your doorstep. Laboratories overseas are mostly responsible for the production of bath salts, although China has recently banned the manufacturing of these substances.
No. Designer drugs like bath salts are chemically based on naturally occurring cathinones, but they are entirely synthetic and made in laboratories. Cathinones are derived from the khat plant, which is native to the Middle East and parts of Africa.
Alpha-PVP (flakka) is created in a laboratory and is entirely synthetic. That means it is designed to be as potent as possible. Uppers like cocaine are naturally derived, which makes them less potent and more expensive to the consumer, while synthetics cost significantly less.
Bath salts increase the body’s internal temperature and heart rate, which can wreak havoc on the user’s internal organs. In fact, reports state that kidney damage and even kidney failure have occurred. Those who are prone to medical conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, or aneurysms are even more at risk.
Yes. As of July 2012 the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act banned the distribution and possession of chemicals commonly found in bath salts. However, the products are still sold illegally, oftentimes through online vendors.
Yes. Just like other amphetamines, bath salts can lead to an overdose. Symptoms of an overdose include profuse sweating, increased heart rate, vomiting, and labored breathing for instance. As with any substance, potential for overdose increases when combined with other substances such as alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drugs.
Bath Salts Addiction Treatment in West Palm Beach, FL
Bath salts and similar intoxicants can cause mental and physical damage to those addicted. If you or your loved one are addicted to bath salts, it is critical to seek inpatient addiction treatment. Ambrosia Treatment Center of West Palm Beach, Florida is here to treat addiction in South Florida. Visit our admissions page to get started today.