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Bath Salts Withdrawal & Detox

Bath salt withdrawal isn’t fully understood, as this type of drug is understudied. At the same time, there are many reports of bath salts withdrawal from those who have been consistently using the drug. A professional detox program will ensure you stay safe and comfortable during bath salts withdrawal.

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Therapy and addiction treatment should follow withdrawal to ensure the best chances of long-term recovery.

What Is Bath Salts Withdrawal?

Bath salts are a class of synthetic stimulants that can cause a range of physical and psychological effects, including potentially causing physical dependence. 

Physical dependence occurs when the body adjusts to the presence of drugs in its system. Discontinuing or decreasing regular intake after developing a physical dependence on bath salts will lead to withdrawal symptoms, such as these: 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia 
  • Muscle cramps

In severe cases where dependence is high and use frequency has been prolonged, symptoms could worsen and include paranoia accompanied by suicidal thoughts or severe hallucinations. Medical assistance is crucial for managing severe symptoms and ensuring a safe and effective detoxification process.

What Causes Withdrawal From Bath Salts?

Bath salts are chemically similar to amphetamines. By elevating key neurotransmitters (such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin) within specific regions of the brain linked with positive reinforcement behaviors, bath salts boost a person’s cognitive performance in some areas. Their use can potentially increase wakefulness and activate pleasure systems in the brain, producing euphoria. 

This is a process the brain finds rewarding. Chemical changes occur, as the brain adapts to the repeated use of bath salts, leading to physical dependence.

This dependence is what then causes withdrawal. The brain can’t immediately adapt back to total sobriety after it has adapted to repeated drug use. Once it has adapted to bath salts, in the absence of bath salts, it essentially goes “haywire,” causing unwanted, unpleasant withdrawal effects. 

The variable nature of withdrawal symptoms, in terms of both severity and duration, is contingent on individual factors, such as level of dependence, duration and frequency of use, and individual factors, like the presence of co-occurring mental health issues or physical issues.

What Are the Common Symptoms of Bath Salts Withdrawal?

Bath salt withdrawal can cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms that can vary in severity and duration. Some common symptoms of bath salt withdrawal include the following:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Muscle cramps and weakness
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Paranoia and psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Intense cravings for bath salts

These symptoms can make it challenging for individuals to manage daily tasks, maintain relationships, and engage in regular activities during withdrawal. In severe cases, medical intervention may be necessary to manage withdrawal symptoms and ensure a safe and successful detoxification process.

In an addiction treatment program for bath salts, medical detox will often be the first step.

Factors That Determine the Intensity of Withdrawal Symptoms

The intensity of bath salt withdrawal symptoms depend on various factors. Primary elements include the level of dependence an individual has developed due to prolonged use or high doses. Higher doses of bath salts and more frequent use are associated with more intense withdrawal symptoms. 

It is also worth noting that despite having a shared pattern of use, some individuals display distinct durations, intensities, and types of withdrawal symptoms after stopping their use for reasons not entirely understood. Key factors that might explain this phenomenon may include age and health differences among users, as well as factors simply not yet identified.

How Long Does Withdrawal Last?

The reality is that bath salt abuse hasn’t been studied enough for a general withdrawal timeline to be firmly established. Anecdotally, it seems the duration of bath salt withdrawal varies greatly, depending on various factors, such as the individual’s level of dependence, frequency and duration of use, and other individual factors. 

Keeping in mind that more research is needed in this area, it generally seems that acute withdrawal symptoms begin within a few hours to a few days after the last use. These symptoms often peak within the first week and then lessen in intensity.

Detox From Bath Salts

Again, it’s best to have medical professionals monitoring this process to ensure safety. The detox process following bath salt use can be intense, making it essential to seek medical intervention. 

Your doctor may prescribe specific types of medicine geared at controlling certain withdrawal symptoms. They may prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, and antipsychotic agents may be prescribed if you experience hallucinations. Various other medications may be used, depending on the symptoms that present during withdrawal. 

While detox is an essential first step in the treatment process, the bulk of bath salt addiction treatment takes place in therapy. In therapy sessions, you’ll learn about the nature of addiction, and you’ll pinpoint root issues that led to your abuse of bath salts. You’ll begin to devise coping strategies that can help you to better manage life and its difficulties without turning to substances.

Bath salts are serious drugs of abuse. They can cause serious harm and result in death. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help with the withdrawal and detox process today. 

Updated March 21, 2024
  1. Synthetic Cathinones ("Bath Salts") DrugFacts. (July 2020). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  2. Drug Dependence Is Not Addiction—and It Matters. (November 2021). Annals of Medicine.
  3. Bath Salts. (April 2020). U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
  4. Synthetic Cathinone and Cannabinoid Designer Drugs Pose a Major Risk for Public Health. (August 2017). Frontiers in Psychiatry.
  5. Akathisia After Chronic Usage of Synthetic Cathinones: A Case Study. (December 2022). Frontiers in Psychiatry.
  6. Baths Salts, Spice, and Related Designer Drugs: The Science Behind the Headlines. (November 2014). The Journal of Neuroscience.
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