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Treatment for Bath Salts Addiction

Bath salts are a highly potent, man-made substance that cause mind-altering and physical effects on the body. Addiction to bath salts can occur in as little as one use, and intense drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms occur when use is suddenly stopped.

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Keep reading to learn about bath salts addiction, including treatment programs, medications, and behavioral therapy.

What Treatment Options Are Available for Addiction to Bath Salts?

Addiction treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are many options available that vary depending upon the needs of the individual seeking treatment. 

If someone is addicted to bath salts, addiction treatment begins with a screening and assessment of the individual’s needs by a qualified healthcare provider. An appropriate referral can then be made to the best treatment option

Here are some of the treatment options you can expect for bath salts addiction:

Crisis Services

For individuals requiring immediate addiction care, crisis services may be warranted. They may be necessary for someone currently intoxicated or experiencing difficult withdrawal symptoms. Medical and psychiatric care can be provided while someone is withdrawing and detoxifying from the bath salts in their body. 

Crisis services may be provided in a hospital or detoxification setting. However, they are only a starting point for addiction treatment, and on their own, they are unlikely to instill lasting change. Once stable, an individual can be referred to further addiction treatment, such as inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation services. 

Inpatient Treatment 

Inpatient treatment services are provided in a highly supportive and structured setting. Individuals check in to an inpatient facility and live there for the duration of the treatment program. Care is provided 24 hours per day, seven days per week. 

Inpatient treatment may be appropriate for individuals who have an unstable living situation with little support at home. In an inpatient setting, medical and mental health professionals ensure physical and mental safety. Ongoing withdrawal symptoms are managed, and mental health issues are addressed through individual and group therapy sessions. 

Outpatient Care

Outpatient care is appropriate for individuals who have a more stable living environment and some support at home. Their symptoms of substance abuse and withdrawal may not be as severe as individuals requiring inpatient care. If you’ve only been abusing bath salts for a short time, this type of care may be appropriate for you.

Though the care plan is less intense, participation in an outpatient program requires a significant commitment from each individual. Appointments that are essential for addiction recovery are offered throughout the week, and participants must have reliable transportation and dedication to attend every session. 

As with inpatient settings, services offered via outpatient care include individual and group counseling, education courses, and connection to care after treatment ends. The intensity and frequency of services offered varies based on the individual’s needs. 

Residential Care

Residential care offers a stable and sober living environment while individuals receive addiction treatment. A residential home is more open than an inpatient setting and may not offer 24/7 care, but recovery services are still provided. 

Round-the-clock medical supervision is not typically offered, though other services are. Support groups and skill development focused on living independently are important aspects of residential care. Such services are designed to help individuals maintain a sober lifestyle after rehabilitation.  

Therapy Options Used in Treatment for Bath Salts Addiction 

Therapy is an essential piece of effective treatment for bath salts addiction. It aims to help individuals with an addiction better understand their patterns of use so they can be changed, and further substance use is less likely. 

Therapy may last for just a few sessions or continue for many years. The duration and type of treatment varies depending on the individual’s history of substance use, treatment interventions, and response to therapy. 

Behavioral therapy is known to be a useful component of treatment for addiction to synthetic cathinones, also known as bath salts. Types of therapy used for the treatment of bath salts addiction include the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used in the treatment of many substance use disorders, including addiction to bath salts. CBT aims to help individuals better understand their own behaviors, thoughts, and patterns related to substance use. In doing so, individuals make informed decisions about healthy behavioral changes they can make to support their own sobriety.
  • Contingency management: Contingency management is an evidenced-based treatment approach that uses motivational incentives for individuals with a stimulant use disorder to stop using drugs. Positive behavioral changes are reinforced by receiving an incentive following negative drug test results throughout a treatment program.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy: Also called motivational interviewing, motivational enhancement therapy (MET) helps individuals in recovery identify and resolve mixed feelings about substance use. MET strives to help individuals increase their motivation to stop using bath salts and set goals for the future. With a better understanding of their substance use and clear goals for the future, individuals are motivated to make lasting changes. 

Treatment providers must also screen for co-occurring mental health issues, such depression or anxiety. Therapy should be adjusted to treat both substance abuse and mental health disorders, as treating one without treating the other will likely lead to a relapse in substance misuse. 

There are not currently any medications available to treat a bath salts addiction. Withdrawal symptoms and co-occurring disorders, like PTSD or bipolar disorder, can be managed with medications. However, a bath salts addiction itself must be properly addressed via rehabilitation, therapy, and lifestyle changes. 

A Healthy Lifestyle in Recovery

Sustaining and maintaining a life of sobriety after drug addiction treatment will look much different than life before rehabilitation. It takes an ongoing effort and lifelong commitment to stay sober. A continuing care approach to addiction treatment is likely to provide the best treatment outcomes, explains the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). 

Throughout treatment and recovery, individuals need their care plans updated and adjusted to meet their developing needs. The intensity of treatment also changes, as individuals progress through recovery. 

Services that may be a part of continuing care for an individual following rehabilitation include the following: 

  • Medication and medical services 
  • Individual and family therapy 
  • Parenting classes
  • Vocational rehabilitation and training 
  • Social and legal services 

After rehabilitation, individuals must focus on establishing a life that promotes sobriety and does not tempt them to return to substance abuse. That may mean they need to find a new home, new job, new friends, and new healthy activities unrelated to their previous habits of substance use. Maintaining sobriety becomes a new approach to life that encourages long-term abstinence. 

Support Groups for People Recovering From Addiction to Bath Salts

Staying sober is a challenging task following addiction and is a lot to manage on your own. Fortunately, many peer groups and other supportive options exist around the world to encourage healthy living and a life of sobriety. 

  • 12-step options: One of the most popular support group models for people in recovery is the 12-step model. Such programs include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotic Anonymous, or Cocaine Anonymous. Each of these groups is driven by a common desire to remain sober from a specific substance, but many participants have co-occurring disorders and wish to stop using other substances too. Such programs provide lifelong, non-judgmental peer support for addiction recovery, and they are free to all participants.
  • Family support: Just as family therapy plays an important role in supporting an individual’s recovery from addiction, support groups are available for family members of someone in recovery. Al-Anon is a 12-step program designed for family members of someone addicted to or in recovery from substance abuse. Alateen offers support to teenagers with a family member struggling with substance abuse.
  • Secular support groups: Secular Organizations for Society is a support group option that does not utilize a 12-step model and does not have an emphasis on God or spirituality in recovery. Non-professional, peer-led groups are offered around the country for individuals in search of recovery support from a variety of substance use disorders. 

SMART Recovery, or Self-Management and Recovery Training, support groups take a science-based approach to empowering individuals in recovery. Meetings focus on the present and how to maintain healthy behavioral changes into the future. Like SOS, SMART Recovery is not based on a 12-step model, but it is a mutual support group that supports people in recovery from addiction to many substances, including bath salts. 

Individualized Treatment

Support groups and addiction treatment come in many different forms. As NIDA explains, substance use disorders are complex but treatable diseases. No single treatment is right for everyone, but options are available to fit the unique needs of every individual in recovery. 

To be effective and promote lifelong sobriety, treatment must be adapted to meet the substance use habits, medical and mental health needs, and educational and vocational needs of the person in recovery. Whether you have been abusing bath salts on their own or in combination with other substances, comprehensive treatment can help you to stop. With the right care and support, you can build a healthier, more successful life in recovery.

Updated December 1, 2023
Resources
  1. Diagnosis: Substance and Alcohol Use Disorders. (2022). Society of Clinical Psychology.
  2. Motivational Enhancement Therapy. Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
  3. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide. (January 2014). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  4. Recovery Incentives Program: California’s Contingency Management Benefit. (April 2023). California Department of Health Care Services.
  5. Synthetic Cathinones (“Bath Salts”) DrugFacts. (July 2020). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  6. Types of Treatment. New York State Office of Addiction Services and Support.
  7. Bath Salts and Synthetic Cathinones: An Emerging Designer Drug Phenomenon. (February 2015). Life Science.
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