Bath salts are dangerous “designer” drugs that cause similar effects to amphetamines. They are sometimes sold legally in places such as gas stations and mom-and-pop shops as potpourri — in fact, they are often labeled “not for human consumption.” Because they are sometimes sold in legitimate stores, some may mistakenly believe they are safe for use. Unfortunately, poison control centers and emergency rooms across the United States have dealt with numerous overdose cases. And because medical personnel rarely know exactly what chemicals have been ingested, they are sometimes unable to help.
Bath salts are a relatively new designer drug that contains dangerous synthetic substances. Occasionally marketed under names such as Vanilla Sky, Bliss or Purple Wave, users can take the drug by snorting, adding it to a drink or shooting it up. Bath salts are not the additive that people sometimes put in the tub for softer skin, but they do sometimes look like the safe white crystals.
When bath salts were first sold in 2009 and 2010, they often contained synthetic cathinone; cathinone is the psychoactive ingredient in the plant khat. People who abuse khat do so by chewing its leaves, and it is the drug of choice in countries such as Somalia. Users report that synthetic cathinones produce effects similar to stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamine.
As reports of overdose began surfacing, drug enforcement officials took steps to ban the synthetic cathinone MDPV. Unfortunately, illicit manufacturers began modifying the drug formula to skirt drug prohibition laws, a process that continues to this day. The result is that no one who takes bath salts ever really understands what they’re taking or how the drug will react in the body. Hospitals cannot keep up with the new formulations, and testing is often inadequate. Medical professionals suspect bath salts are powerfully addictive and cause long term damage; however, no one knows for certain because the drug compounds change frequently and research is inadequate.
Facts About Bath Salts
The early legality of bath salts and how easy they were to purchase made it a ticking time bomb. We don’t know everything about bath salts, but what we do understand is terrifying:
- In many places, bath salts were and are easier to buy than alcohol and cigarettes
- In general, bath salts appear to cause tolerance, which means a user must use more and more to get the same high. Tolerance is dangerous and can lead to addiction
- The number of people who called Poison Control concerning bath salts skyrocketed from 304 in 2010 to 6,138 in 2011
- Bath salts increase the concentration of the brain’s feel-good chemicals. These chemicals include the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin
- If the bath salts formulation contains MDPV, it will evade detection in a typical urinalysis and by detection dogs.
- Distributors sometimes hide the drug in common chemical containers such as bug spray and fertilizer.
- The federal government classifies MDPV alongside heroin and cocaine as a Schedule I substance
The Signs and Symptoms of Abuse and Addiction
Bath salts are both tolerance-forming and potentially psychologically addictive. It is common for a user to deny they have a problem, even when it is obvious to everyone else.
The immediate signs of bath salts use will be most evident when someone is on the drug. Bath salts produce intense paranoid delusions, which may lead to aggressive or uncontrollable outbursts.
Someone high on bath salts is a potential danger to both themselves and others — they must be treated accordingly. Other physical signs of bath salts use include overheating (a user may remove their clothes as a result), high blood pressure and heart rate, chest and kidney pains, nausea and muscle tension.
Because bath salts are addictive, with heavy use, long-term behavioral changes will become evident. In the throes of addiction, a bath salts user will isolate themselves from others who don't enable them, becoming socially withdrawn, losing interest in old hobbies and having trouble at work or school as a result.
Bath salts addicts may have disrupted sleeping and eating habits, leading them to lose an unhealthy amount of weight and be more susceptible to infection and disease. Bath salts addicts will also have a tendency to put themselves in risky situations, either in trying to obtain more drugs or because they lack proper judgment.
Recognizing You Have a Problem
Denial and addition go hand in hand — when we fail to see the extent to which a drug has control over us, it is impossible to take the steps necessary to quit. Many people abuse drugs recreationally, but — for reasons that are not fully understood to science — not all of them become addicted.
If you've been taking bath salts and are concerned about whether or not you are developing an addiction, ask yourself the following:
- Do I need increasingly larger amounts of bath salts to feel the same good effect?
- Do I obsess over the drugs when I can’t get them, or when I have to go without using them?
- Have I tried to quit before, only to start using again when things got tough?
- Do I feel strong cravings for bath salts when I’m stressed out?
- Have I been isolating myself from others, particularly those who are critical of my behavior or my lifestyle?
- Has my professional or schoolwork been suffering because of my drug use?
- Do I think my life would be better off if I didn't use bath salts? Would I be happier?
What to Do About Bath Salts Abuse
When you notice someone you care about is using bath salts, it is essential to get them into treatment quickly before they further harm themselves or others. Holding an intervention is the best way to break through the cycle of denial that is endemic to addiction.
If you're considering holding an intervention, contact 12 Keys Rehab for help. We'll send a team member to your location who will arrange the specifics of the meeting and lead the discussion, helping you express your frustration and concern in a loving, compassionate manner. Following the intervention, our team member will accompany your loved one to our south Florida facility, where they can begin the detox and healing processes.
Detox and Withdrawal
Heavy bath salts users can suffer from strong withdrawal symptoms, which often present a serious barrier to treatment. Withdrawal symptoms include heavy cravings, anxiety, sleep problems and depression.
At 12 Keys Rehab, we have found the best way to manage these symptoms is with compassionate care. All incoming clients receive a physical examination to assess their immediate health needs. Then our staff will provide round-the-clock supervision while they work through their symptoms. The easier the detox process is, the better positioned a client will be to pursue a lifelong recovery from a place of physical and mental strength.
Bath Salts Rehab
Bath salts rehab at our facility is based on the concept of holistic healing — we work with our clients to strengthen their body, mind and spirit through a variety of therapies. Working with a case manager, clients are able to identify and prioritize treatment goals as they change over time.
Intake is limited to a given number of clients to ensure adequate personnel and resources are available to all. Clients participate in group and individual counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and many other treatments.
Getting Help From a Bath Salts Rehab
The staff at 12 Keys Rehab is experienced, compassionate and well qualified to treat the full spectrum of issues associated with bath salts abuse and addiction. Our small recovery center features an on-site medical detox facility, comfortable living arrangements and a private, serene location. We believe 12 Keys Rehab is a wonderful environment to rebuild a life spun out of control by addiction.
The bath salts rehab process begins with medically assisted detox. In detox, we help our clients recover from the physical effects of abuse. Bath salts withdrawal is extremely difficult alone; with help from 12 Keys Rehab, common stimulant withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, sleep issues and depression are reduced. The 24-hour care we provide assures early recovery proceeds safely as we carefully diagnose other problems associated with drug abuse. These may include mental health issues or physical ailments related to poor nutrition, intravenous injection and other common problems.
After withdrawal ends, clients begin a multidisciplinary treatment plan that we personalize for each individual. We incorporate effective therapeutic modalities such as cognitive behavioral alongside progressive treatments such as neurofeedback. Every 12 Keys client also participates in 12 Step care, which is still the most successful long term substance abuse rehabilitation support program in the world. Our small size and large staff makes it possible for us to provide more one-to-one therapy than most other rehabs in the world. This also lets us keep group therapy sessions small, which helps our recovering family members adjust to the 12 Keys environment.
Call 12 Keys Rehab for More Information
If you or someone you love is suffering from bath salts addiction, 12 Keys Rehab can help. Our staff is available 24 hours a day to answer your questions on a confidential basis. Call 12 Keys Rehab for more information, and find your path to freedom, starting today.
Call to get help now