With so many designer drugs out there, it’s impossible to keep track of all the new chemical combinations made in homes and clandestine laboratories. Regardless, it’s helpful to know the basics about bath salts as well as signs of abuse and treatment options, especially if you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse problems.
What are Bath Salts?
Bath salts are synthetic psychoactive stimulants or designer drugs that are chemically related to cathinone, which is a natural stimulant found in the khat plant. Although the natural drug found in the plant provides mild stimulant effects, synthetic variations of cathinone are very dangerous and addictive.1
Epsom salts that are used for bathing purposes are a very different product than drugs marketed as “bath salts.” These drugs are categorized as “new psychoactive substances” and are often sold online and in convenience stores, sometimes labeled as plant food, jewelry cleaner, or phone screen cleaner.2 Typically, these packages are labeled with the warning “not for human consumption” but that doesn’t stop people from abusing them.
Bath salts can be a white, off-white, or yellow powder or they can be tablets or capsules. People usually snort bath salts, but they may also be taken orally, mixed with food and drinks, smoked, or made into a solution that can be injected. They may even be disguised as candy, as one Florida police department recently discovered.3 When abused, bath salts provide the user with a high that is similar to that of methamphetamine.
In July 2012, a federal law made it illegal to possess, use, or distribute 26 of the chemical ingredients of bath salts.4 Some sources say we don’t have enough long-term evidence to conclude that bath salts are addictive, but according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic cathinones are addictive substances that can cause the user to experience uncontrollable urges to take the drug again. Users may also experience strong withdrawal effects, including depression, anxiety, tremors, and paranoia.
Signs and Symptoms of Bath Salts Abuse
Bath salts abuse is very dangerous and can result in life-threatening physical effects.5 When abused, bath salts affect the sympathetic nervous system and can result in a number of harmful physical effects including:
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased body temperature
- Chest pain
- Heart attack
Bath salts can also cause a variety of different mental effects, including:
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
- Impaired perception of reality
- Reduced motor control
- Inability to think clearly
Several news reports have documented various incidents over the past several years involving people who were high on bath salts committing extremely disturbing “zombie-like” attacks and violent crimes.6,7 Suicidal thoughts and behaviors linked to the consumption of bath salts may even last several days after the initial effects of the drug wear off.
If you or a loved one is addicted to bath salts, it is very important that you seek help immediately, as the effects of this drug are highly dangerous and may even be deadly.
Drug Detox for Bath Salts
Individuals who are addicted to bath salts should complete a synthetic drug detox program before enrolling in drug rehab. This is the first step to overcoming addiction and learning to thrive in a lasting lifestyle of sobriety.
During detox, clients can expect to work with a multidisciplinary treatment team who will assess their physical and mental condition to create a personalized treatment program that will provide the best possible opportunity for lasting long-term sobriety.
Medically assisted detox programs, such as the ones offered at our detox center, provide 24/7 monitoring and supervision by a medical team. This allows us to regulate each client’s progress and make changes to the treatment plan as needed.
The medically assisted drug detox process is designed to comfortably carry each client through the withdrawal process and bring them down into a stable state of sobriety. This helps prepare the client for rehab, gives them time to begin healing emotionally and physically, and provides an opportunity to start thinking clearly again without the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Bath salts and any other synthetic drugs have the capability to destroy the lives of those who abuse them and everyone around them. Get help for your substance abuse today by enrolling in a safe, comfortable drug detox program at Briarwood Detox Center.