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Treatment for Bath Salts Addiction

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Bath salts are synthetic drugs — drugs made in a laboratory. They have nothing to do with the scented crystals you add to your bath water to make it smell nice. Instead, they’re a dangerous group of drugs made in illegal street laboratories. Common street names include bath salts or plant food.

If you or someone you love is abusing these dangerous drugs, you need help from a drug abuse treatment center that specializes in bath salts. Treatment for a bath salts addiction is available in Florida at JourneyPure Emerald Coast. We offer personalized recovery support for bath salts, other drugs and alcohol. As one of the leading holistic treatment centers in Florida, our residential treatment program provides care that addresses your physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs.

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Bath Salts: What You Need To Know

bath salt addiction

Drug trends come and go, but perhaps none have been more lurid than that of “bath salts.” Synthetic cathinones, colloquially referred to as bath salts, have no relation to the scented crystals people add to bath water to make it aromatic and soothing. Instead, they’re part of a dangerous group of drugs made in illicit street laboratories. They are not derived from diverted pharmaceutical products or plant products. Abusing them comes with a potentially devastating side effects.

Bath salts are synthetic drugs — a member of a family that includes Spice and K2 (synthetic marijuana). According to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA), synthetic cathinones are one in a group of drugs facing increased concern from public health officials, called “new psychoactive substances” (NPS). NPS are psychoactive mind-altering substances that have become increasingly more popular in the drug market. Typically, they are unregulated and manufactured to mimic the effects of illegal drugs. Producers often market these substances as cheap substitutes for other stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine. Meanwhile, expensive “party drug” products, sold as Molly (MDMA), often contain synthetic cathinones instead. In fact, a 2009 analysis of ecstasy pills in the Netherlands revealed that more than 50% of pills did actually not contain MDMA. Rather, the pills largely consisted of the same drugs found in bath salts.

NIDA data reveals that bath salts have played a part in thousands of visits to hospital emergency departments. In 2011, there were nearly 23,000 reports of bath salt use during emergency room visits. The cause of 66% of these visits was bath salts in combination with other drugs, including marijuana or synthetic marijuana (15%). This percentage suggests that people may turn to bath salts when they grow dissatisfied with the high they get from other drugs alone. Word of mouth about the intense high associated with use of bath salts makes the drug particularly appealing for teenagers and young adults. The agency’s Monitoring the Future Study for 2015 revealed that .40% of 8th graders, .70% of 10th graders and 1% of 12th graders report using salts.

bath salts stats

A second study, published in the American Journal on Addictions, found that almost 20% of high school seniors who reported using bath salts within the previous year admitted to abusing them 40 times or more. Broken down further, the data revealed that those who live with just one or no parents, who make fewer than $50 per week from sources besides a job or who go out multiple nights per week are more likely to recreationally use bath salts. Researchers noted that these risk factors in this age group mirror those that determine an individual’s likelihood to abuse other illicit drugs. The biggest observed risk factor, however, was use of other illegal drugs.

school bath salts

What Are Bath Salts?

Bath salts are chemically related to cathinone, a stimulant derived from the khat plant. Khat is a shrub plant found in both East Africa and Southern Arabia. Individuals sometimes chew the leaves to experience the plant’s mild stimulant effects. As is true of many synthetic variants, those of cathinone can be much more potent and concentrated than in the natural plant. Varieties of chemicals are included in bath salts, namely mephedrone, pyrovalerone and methylenedioxyprovalerone (MDPV). Although these three chemicals comprise the most common chemicals sold as bath salts, there are dozens of others often utilized. This lack of consistency or predictability makes addiction recognition or treatment in the case of overdose or adverse effects very challenging.

bath salts treatment

In terms of physical appearance, synthetic cathinones are normally a white or brown crystal-like powder. They can be ingested, smoked, snorted or injected. They’re typically labeled “not for human consumption” or marketed as “plant food,” “jewelry cleaner,” or even “phone screen cleaner.” Individuals can usually buy them online and in drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of brand names, which include:

  • Flakka
  • Bloom
  • Cloud Nine
  • Lunar Wave
  • Red Dove
  • Vanilla Sky
  • White Lightning
  • Ocean Snow
  • Scarface
  • Hurricane Charlie

Signs and Symptoms of Bath Salts Addiction

The effects of bath salts are unpredictable. Some people experience euphoria, decreased inhibitions and an increased sex drive. Other people develop immediate and intense paranoia, agitation and even violence. You can’t predict how you’ll react to bath salts, and no two batches can create the same effect.

effects of bath salts

Bath salts seem to raise the level of dopamine in the brain similar to how other stimulant drugs raise it. They’re similar to cocaine and amphetamine, but more powerful. Tests conducted at emergency rooms on patients admitted for bath salt use found that it has a 10 times more potent effect on dopamine than either of the older drugs. Bath salts also cause hallucinations, which can raise serotonin levels. The total effect is like a cross between LSD and cocaine, but more powerful and unpredictable.

These drugs can cause bad reactions in many people. The most common side effects of taking bath salts are cardiovascular and psychiatric problems.

Bath salts have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Experiments with rats indicate a pattern of use, tolerance and higher levels of ingestion, which means that the drug can be addictive.

People taking bath salts may show signs of delirium, excitement or hallucinations. They may have a severe headache or complain about a racing heart, chest pains or feeling spacey. Immediate medical attention may be necessary if someone passes out after taking bath salts. It can be a sign of a heart attack or stroke.

signs of bath salts

People who took bath salts have ended up in the emergency room with racing hearts, chest pains and high blood pressure. Some experience such intense psychiatric symptoms that they are admitted with suspected schizophrenia. Powerful hallucinations, delirium and more have caused breakdowns. Some people have died from taking bath salts.

According to NIDA, a lot remains unknown about how synthetic cathinones affect our brains. What we do know is that synthetic cathinones are chemically similar to amphetamines, cocaine and MDMA. Synthetic cathinones are demonstrably addictive. Users have reported that the drugs trigger intense cravings, which translates into uncontrollable urges to use the drug again. Use of bath salts is associated with a wide array of physical symptoms that can sometimes prove fatal. They include:

  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Chest pains
  • Kidney pain
  • Seizure
  • Numbness and tingling, a sensation of skin crawling
  • Excessive grinding of teeth
  • Nosebleed
  • Increased body temperature or chills
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Reduced need for food or sleep

A person using bath salts may overheat and tear of their clothing trying to cool off. They may also complain of a severe headache or a racing heart, chest pains or feeling generally spacey and out of sorts. If a user reports any of these symptoms, immediate medical attention may be necessary — especially if they pass out after taking bath salts. This may signal a heart attack or stroke.

Meanwhile, researchers have linked use of bath salts to several long-term side effects in some users. These include:

  • Permanently elevated blood pressure and heart rate
  • Kidney damage and failure
  • Liver damage
  • Degeneration of skeletal muscle tissue
  • Brain swelling
  • Death

Beyond physical symptoms, these drugs can cause a range of psychosocial effects on users including lowered inhibition, anxiety and depression. Other side effects that caused by synthetic cathinones may include:

  • Extreme, relentless paranoia. False euphoria often fades into this paranoia.
  • Hallucinations and delusions, normally caused by an increase in serotonin levels.
  • Higher levels of sociability
  • Inflated, insatiable sex drive
  • Suicide ideation
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleeping issues
  • Body tremors
  • Excited delirium, which may manifest as extreme agitation or violent behavior.

Many people start abusing bath salts as a self-medicating mechanism because they feel as though the high temporarily relieves symptoms associated with other conditions–including depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. What people need to know, however, is that abusing drugs such as bath salts actually exacerbates those conditions.

Addictive Behavior in Bath Salt Addiction Abuse

If a loved one is addicted to bath salts it is likely they will exhibit at least one of the following suspicious behaviors:

  • Lying and denying the existence of abuse. Being secretive about drug and alcohol abuse normally indicates feelings of shame, or guilt. This is the most common addiction behavior.
  • Personal problems, which can often include relationship issues or instability, a worsening or otherwise changing reputation and problems relating to work, money or the law.
  • Ignored responsibilities, people or hobbies. Addicts often choose using over paying attention to or having time for their loved ones.
  • Adjustments in everyday habits. Changes in appearance, sleep habits, weight or overall health can indicate the presence of addiction.

Bath Salt Addiction Treatment

Drug addiction is a serious brain disease. The unfortunate reality is that it is physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually challenging to stop using a drug once a brain has become dependent on the substance. When someone has come off the drug, whether due to detox or an extended period without the drug, withdrawal symptoms will occur. Many people who abuse bath salts suffer from uncomfortable withdrawal. Notably, the length of bath salt use prior to withdrawal has an effect on how intense the withdrawal symptoms are likely to be. Therefore, in some detoxification programs, it is necessary to taper the patient off the drug, which means gradually reducing use of the drug down to zero.

bath salts withdrawl

Symptoms of withdrawal may include:

  • Intense cravings for the drug
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Decreased memory
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal congestion
  • Amnesia
  • Violent behavior
  • Long but poor quality sleep

The hardest step is the very first one: committing to recovery. While the first step may take courage, admitting you have a problem opens the door for a solution. It may seem like an insurmountable task, but envisioning a new, clean life must come before achieving one. Sadly, there are currently no available medications approved to directly treat bath salt addiction, although medically assisted detox can help with symptoms. Many treatment facilities also utilize personalized behavioral therapy and symptom management programs to promote recovery from synthetic cathinone addiction. For example, the bath salts treatment program at JourneyPure Emerald Coast includes:

Treatment for a bath salts addiction is available in Florida at JourneyPure Emerald Coast. The treatment facility’s trained clinicians can also identify any preexisting mental health conditions and offer treatment that is safe and effective. The treatment facility offers personalized recovery support for bath salts, other drugs and alcohol. Notably, clients can receive assistance in dealing with past traumas that influence the reasons you use drugs. For decades, peer-led group counseling was medicine’s only answer to addiction. Today, JourneyPure Emerald Coast is proud to offer therapies and treatments that are at the forefront of addiction medicine. Our program includes therapies such as motivational interviewing and trauma-informed care. Journey Pure Emerald Coast offers a 12 Step program for substance abuse, which encourages clients to:

  • Admit that without intervention substance abuse, chemical dependency and comorbid mood disorders will continue to control their life.
  • Discover and acknowledge the reasons behind why the addiction became a part of everyday life in the first place.
  • Admit to the decisions made while under the influence and make amends to those harmed or otherwise affected.
  • Commit to doing everything in their power to move forward without addiction and help those around with their struggles.

Bath Salts: Where Did They Come From?

The history of bath salts dates back to 1928 and 1929, when chemists first synthesized them in France. The original intent for the drugs was medicinal, but those efforts were largely abandoned due to the nasty side effects. Abuse of the drugs began in earnest during the 1930s and 1940s in the Soviet Union. They were used as antidepressants. By the 1990’s, the drugs gained popularity in the United States. At that time the drugs were referred to as “Cat” and Jeff.” Meanwhile, between 2004 and 2008, bath salts were popular in Israel until the main chemical component, methadone, was made illegal.

In the United States, bath salts began to have resurgence in popularity among drug abusers in 2007. This growing popularity came amid increased availability and accessibility of the Internet — where the drug could be sold legally and largely anonymously. Meanwhile, public awareness about the existence and dangers of bath salts became a household conversation. In June 2012, President Obama directly confronted spiraling bath salts use by signing the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, The law added 31 new chemical compounds — including key bath salt ingredients mephedrone and MDPV — to the FDA’s list of substances that cannot under any circumstances be prescribed or sold.

Numerous companies are still able to circumvent these regulations and continue to sell these drugs online and in a handful of shops. Illicit chemists manufacture new variations with slightly altered chemical formulas —marketing and promoting them openly as “Glass Cleaner” and other deceptive names.

Although the bath salts phenomenon has origins that long precede the “Miami Cannibal” media circus, it would be remiss to leave that incident out of any historical recount about the drug. In that case, which occurred in 2012, a naked man in Florida attacked a homeless individual along a highway and chewed off his face. The man lost 75% of his face and the attack continued for 18 minutes before police shot the aggressor.

Immediately all news outlets zeroed in on the face-chewing aspect of the attack and quotes from a police officer that he had suspected bath salts were involved. The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s toxicology report, however, eventually revealed that the man had no traces of street drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs. The statement further confirmed the absence of bath salts, synthetic marijuana or LSD. He had actually used marijuana prior to committing the attack. Additionally, revolted witnesses said they observed him actually swallowing the facial flesh, but officials found no such flesh in his stomach.

Toxicology report notwithstanding, there is no doubt that the drug can induce violent behavioral side effects. Knowing the media history of bath salts is an essential component of understanding the addiction. The unrelenting attention thrust on the drug by news outlets may have created an expectation among people that use of the drug would lead to zombie-like behavior or something similarly lurid. When people figure out that the drug does not cause them to chew off peoples’ faces or tear off their own genitals, they may be more inclined to disregard many of the other warnings about bath salts. This suggests that increased education at a younger age about the potentially devastating effects of using bath salts may help to deter users from ever starting.

Bath Salts Rehab in Florida

JourneyPure Emerald Cost provides holistic treatment for addictions of all kinds, including bath salts. When you or your loved one enroll in our treatment program, you’ll meet staff members who will treat you compassionately and expertly. We will take the time to assess your specific needs and create a plan that helps you achieve your health and wellness goals. Prolonged use of bath salts can kill you or permanently damage your health. Don’t wait to get help. Bath salts rehab in Florida is available at JourneyPure Emerald Coast.

The bath salts addiction treatment program at JourneyPure Emerald Coast includes:

  • Medically assisted detox. Once the brain becomes dependent on drugs, it is physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually difficult to stop using. Many people who abuse bath salts suffer from uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that last several days or more. Medically assisted detox relieves uncomfortable symptoms such as cravings, nausea, depression and more.
  • Dual diagnosis assessment and treatment. Many people who abuse bath salts start because they find the high temporarily relieves symptoms associated with depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. Abusing drugs such as bath salts, however, actually makes them worse. Our trained clinicians can identify a preexisting mental health condition and offer treatment that is safe and effective. You can also get help dealing with past traumas that influence the reasons you use drugs.
  • Evidence-based treatment. For decades, peer-led group counseling was medicine’s only answer to addiction. Today, JourneyPure Emerald Coast is proud to offer therapies and treatments that are at the forefront of addiction medicine. Our program includes therapies such as motivational interviewing and trauma-informed care.
  • Your choice of spiritual recovery programs. Discover your purpose in life through 12 Step, peer-led group support or alternative treatments. Enrich your spiritual journey with these programs by making amends for past wrongs and helping others with their own recoveries.
  • Assistance that lasts beyond your residential experience. Our aftercare program gives you the helping hand you need to transition successfully to life outside residential care. You’ll work with a private coach and also have access to our proprietary Recovery Coach software program.

Get Treatment for Bath Salts in Florida

If you or someone you care about is addicted to bath salts — or if you think you might need help, but aren’t sure — call JourneyPure Emerald Coast. Admitting help is necessary is sometimes the hardest part of recovery because denial is one of the biggest characteristics of addiction. Our trained experts can help you figure out whether or not you need treatment.

At JourneyPure Emerald Coast, you’ll find a welcoming group of people who are here to help you stop taking bath salts and learn how to live drug-free. Our licensed therapists and addiction counselors will create a personalized plan for you, so you have what you need to build a solid foundation for recovery.

Your recovery plan may include individual and group counseling, 12-step work and experiential therapy to help you heal from your addiction to bath salts. We can also help you if you’re addicted to several drugs or drink as well as take drugs. No matter what you’re addicted to, we can help.

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