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Bath Salts & Addiction

Bath salts are a group of drugs that are dangerous and notoriously poorly regulated. Experiencing unpredictable bouts of intense stimulation accompanied by auditory hallucinations is common with their misuse. This sometimes leads to violent outbursts, serious consequences, or even death via overdose.

Struggling with Hallucinogen Addiction? Get Help Now

Individuals with addictions to bath salts need immediate access to specialist support services due to both the addictive nature of these substances and their inherent dangers. It’s very important to get treatment for addiction to stop their use as soon as possible. 

Immediate Steps to Take for Bath Salt Drug Addiction

Someone with a bath salt drug addiction might take too much of the substance and overdose. Symptoms can vary dramatically, as bath salt drugs aren’t regulated. Every batch might contain different substances of varying strengths.

If someone is overdosing, call 911 immediately. Tell the operator where you are, what you’re witnessing, and what you’ve done to help. Wait for help to arrive, but don’t do things like force them to drink, vomit, or get up and walk around. Stay calm and with the person until help arrives.

Someone with an addiction to bath salt drugs will need a treatment plan to get better. These national resources may be helpful:

You can also reach out to us here at Boca Recovery Center for help.

What Are Bath Salt Drugs?

In the context of drugs, bath salts is a slang term used to refer to a group of synthetic drugs that contain cathinones, which are stimulant compounds originally found in the khat plant. Drugs called bath salts may also contain things like MDVP, mephedrone, and pyrovalerone. In essence, they are a class of psychoactive substances created to mimic the effects of stimulants.

Bath salt drugs are typically sold as powders labeled as “not for human consumption.” Brand names like Flakka, White Lightning, and Vanilla Sky might all be considered bath salt drugs.

In the past, clever packaging and labeling allowed bath salt drugs to be sold widely. That changed in July 2012 with the passage of the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act. Several synthetic drugs, including many included in bath salt drugs, are restricted through this bill.

This category of drugs gives rise to an array of sensations, such as an increased sense of awareness, euphoria, and sometimes hallucinations. The negative effects of bath salt drugs include paranoia and aggression. At times, severe psychotic behavior, such as a complete temporary break from reality, occurs with bath salt drugs. Because of this, bath salt drugs have been linked to overdose deaths.

Note that bath salts in the drug context are completely unrelated from personal care bath salts that are actually intended for use in a bath.

Who Abuses Bath Salt Drugs?

Teens and young adults are more likely to abuse bath salt drugs than others. While people of all ages use these drugs, designer drug use is most common among men in their 20s.

Each person’s unique life experiences shape their reasons for engaging in drug abuse. Certain commonalities do exist among those who use these drugs recreationally, however.

For instance, some users seeking a heightened state of consciousness or a powerful sense of euphoria through the effects of bath salt drugs may abuse them. Others may turn to them in hopes of enhancing their capabilities in academic or athletic situations. People may use bath salt drugs for the self-treatment of conditions like anxiety, depression, or chronic pain, while others may just succumb to peer pressure or social influence when they otherwise wouldn’t be abusing drugs at all.

People who abuse bath salt drugs are often looking for a euphoric experience or “trip.” 

Bath salt drugs should not be considered safe. In fact, they are often more dangerous than comparable illicit alternatives.

How Does Addiction to Bath Salts Form?

Synthetic cathinones can be addictive, although why and to what degree isn’t fully understood. However, animal studies and anecdotal reports from human users have made it clear that the use of bath salt drugs can trigger a strong desire for further use. 

Signs & Symptoms of Bath Salts Addiction

The most clear sign of an addiction to bath salt drugs is a compulsion to keep using the drugs despite negative effects on life. Other common signs of an addiction to bath salt drugs include the following: 

  • Physical dependence (described in more detail later) 
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities and social activities 
  • Significant and seemingly sudden changes in behavior 
  • Mood swings 
  • A personality shift
  • Agitation 
  • Paranoia 
  • Aggression 
  • Changes in weight 
  • Marks from picking at their skin 
  • Dental issues
  • Digestive problems

Many people who struggle with addiction also have financial problems, both because they must repeatedly pay for drugs and because drug abuse can make it difficult to hold down a steady job.

If you are concerned that someone you know may be addicted to bath salt drugs, encourage them to seek professional help from a healthcare provider or addiction specialist.

How Do Bath Salt Drugs Impact the Body & Mind?

Bath salt drugs are synthetic drugs that can have a range of effects on the body and mind.

Some of the ways that bath salt drugs can affect the body and mind include causing intense euphoria in users, problematic psychotic symptoms like paranoia or hallucinations, and troubling changes to a person’s mood and personality, ranging from increased agitation to aggressiveness. This puts individuals at great risk of potential harm. 

Bath salt drug use can also harm internal systems by causing dehydration and altering electrolyte levels that may result in life-threatening illnesses, such as kidney or heart failure. Notably, extended use of this dangerous stimulant may lead to physical dependency alongside serious psychological complications.

Overall, bath salt drugs can have serious and potentially life-threatening effects on the body and mind, and their use should be avoided. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to bath salts, it is important to seek professional help right away.

Is Dependence on Bath Salt Drugs Possible?

Yes, bath salt drugs can cause physical dependence with repeated use over time. Bath salts contain cathinones, which are synthetic stimulants that can produce intense feelings of pleasure and euphoria. This can potentially lead to addiction, although how addictive bath salt drugs may be is poorly studied. 

Repeated use of bath salt drugs can also cause a person to develop a tolerance to them. This means the person needs a higher dose than they once did to achieve the same effect. 

Suddenly stopping bath salt drug use once you are physically dependent means you will undergo withdrawal. Bath salt drug withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, fatigue, and intense cravings.

Overdose on Bath Salt Drugs

Bath salt drugs carry a significant risk of overdose that comes with serious and potentially life-threatening symptoms. A bath salt drug overdose can cause agitation and a severe break from reality, making it challenging for both those dealing with it alongside the individual overdosing. 

An overdose can also cause escalating body temperatures resulting in dehydration, along with other adverse outcomes. Heart complications may occur, such as rapid heartbeat, palpitations, and elevated blood pressure, all warning signs indicating possible life-threatening outcomes. 

Excessive consumption of bath salt drugs can lead to kidney failure, which could quickly result in irreversible damage to a person’s health if prompt medical attention isn’t sought. 

Respiratory failure is another potential outcome associated with bath salt drug use. Some people who overdose on bath salts may also experience seizures.

If you suspect that someone has overdosed on bath salt drugs, call 911. Immediate medical care is necessary to potentially save the person’s life.

How to Stop Abusing Bath Salt Drugs

If you’ve been regularly abusing bath salts, you need professional help. An addiction treatment program will help you identify the reasons behind your drug use and build a life that is centered on recovery. 

A treatment program might involve some or all of the following steps:

  • Detoxification: A treatment team helps your body process all of the bath salt drug doses you took, so you can get sober without experiencing life-threatening complications.
  • Therapy: Avoiding situations or people that trigger drug use can help prevent relapse. This may involve severing relationships with people you used to use bath salts with, changing your daily routine, or avoiding certain social situations. Counselors can help you develop these habits.
  • Support groups: Spending time with other people who struggled with bath salt drugs can help you learn new coping skills and feel a sense of community in sobriety.

Professional help is usually necessary for bath salt drug addiction. Bath salt drugs are powerful substances, so it’s often not enough to simply want to stop using them. You need expert help. Your team should create a treatment plan that’s tailored to your wants, needs, and preferences.

Updated April 29, 2024
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