Bath Salts Addiction Treatment

Treatment Center for Bath Salts Addiction

Bath salts are relatively new on the illicit drug scene, but they have received a lot of attention in recent years because of their capacity to cause dangerous or psychotic behavior. While these side effects are rare, bath salts are highly addictive and pose a real threat to those who use them frequently and irresponsibly. Fortunately, bath salts addiction can be overcome with treatment and a long-term commitment to a drug-free lifestyle.

World-Class Bath Salts Rehab at Alta Mira

One of the most important goals of our bath salts treatment program is help them learn to live without using. When clients leave treatment they have to face a lot of distractions, temptations, and triggers while trying to remain clean and sober. At Alta Mira, clients learn many things that will help them later, such as trigger avoidance, relapse prevention, healthy coping strategies, and stress-relief techniques. Highlights of our bath salts treatment program include:

  • State of the art care, including detoxification and therapy
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Luxury residences with private and shared room options
  • High-end, private-pay treatment
  • Comprehensive neuropsychological testing and assessments
  • Transformational recovery program with outstanding treatment outcomes

Getting help for bath salts addiction is a big decision. But it is an important and potentially life-transforming move for anyone who has tried to manage their using on their own and failed.

What Is Bath Salts Addiction?

The name ‘bath salts’ is deceptive. These innocuously named powders are actually designer drugs that contain synthetic forms of cathinone, a mind-altering substance found in shrubs that grow in certain areas of Africa and the Middle East.

Synthetic cathinones act as stimulants in the brain, producing psychoactive effects similar to those caused by amphetamines. When smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested, bath salts induce feelings of euphoria by increasing the production and concentration of neurochemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which are involved in the regulation of mood and emotion.

Despite their intoxicating effects, bath salts were once legal in several states. Federal law was amended in 2012 to close this loophole, but compounds containing synthetic cathinones like mephedrone, methylone, and MDPV are still widely available on the illicit drug black market.

Like other illicit stimulants, bath salts can be addictive if consumed excessively, and those who ignore the warnings about the danger they represent are playing with fire.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Bath Salts Addiction

Bath salts have no medicinal uses and are taken strictly for their euphoric effects. In addition to the bursts of joy and ecstasy they cause as they stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers, bath salts also give users a sudden jolt of energy that may last for several hours after the drug was consumed. Delusions of grandeur and great personal power often accompany bath salt use, and it is these mood- and pleasure-enhancing effects that make the drug so seductive to people the first few times they use it.

But escalating bath salt consumption leads to greater tolerance for the drug, meaning users must take more and more to achieve the same effects. Withdrawal symptoms may then develop anytime the user tries to stop taking the drug for more than a few hours, and this is a telltale sign that dependency has developed.

Some of the side effects of heavy and/or regular bath salt use include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Panic attacks
  • Persistent agitation and anxiety
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Paranoia, hostility
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Outbursts of violent or psychotic behavior
  • Self-harm or suicide attempts

The symptoms of bath salts addiction can be intense and frightening, and when addiction reaches an advanced stage a person can become a danger to themselves and others if medical attention is not forthcoming.

Diagnosing Bath Salts Addiction

An addiction to bath salts can be diagnosed by a mental health professional if the following criteria are met:

  • Use of the drug is causing a person to neglect personal, professional, parental, and/or academic responsibilities.
  • Use of bath salts continues despite incidences or events that put the health of the individual at risk.
  • Bath salt consumption persists even though it is causing relationship troubles or other social difficulties.
  • Tolerance for the drug has grown significantly, to the point where the person will experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit using the bath salts

When dependency on bath salts has been established, treatment should be sought quickly to avoid severe consequences.

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Bath Salts Addiction Causes and Risk Factors

Changes in brain activity are the direct cause of drug addiction. But some people are more at risk for developing an addiction to bath salts than others.

The known risk factors for bath salt dependency include:

  • Family history and genetics. Studies suggest that up to half of the risk for drug addiction is traceable to inherited risk.
  • Previous incidence of mental illness. People often turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate when they experience disturbing symptoms of mental illness. Stimulant abuse is especially common among those who suffer from mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Other types of drug abuse, or alcohol abuse. Many people who use bath salts for their mind-altering effects have a long history of using other drugs, and dependency is more likely to develop in those who abuse more than one drug simultaneously.
  • Peer pressure. Young people who spend time with peers who are experimenting with bath salts may have a hard time saying no if they are asked to do the same, and when kids push each other to use drugs the results can be disastrous.

Withdrawal Symptoms

People who are addicted to bath salts cannot stop using them suddenly without suffering serious physical and psychological effects. Powerful cravings for the drug will be experienced within a few hours of the last dosage, and without medical attention they will only get worse for at least the first 24-48 hours.

The withdrawal symptoms of bath salts addiction include:

  • Overwhelming anxiety and panic
  • Severe and unpleasant mood swings
  • Decline in focus, concentration, and memory
  • Lethargy
  • Extreme irritability
  • Poor sleep that provides little rest
  • Sudden fits of anger or violence

Medical detox in a clinical facility is recommended for anyone attempting to overcome bath salts dependency, and this is essential if the individual is dependent on more than one drug, as people who’ve been abusing bath salts often are. Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol addiction can be fatal, and anyone who’s been mixing bath salts with alcohol will definitely require detox services.

Bath Salts Overdose

Quality control is often lacking with designer drugs, and some doses of substances like bath salts may be far more potent than users realize. This raises the risk of overdose, as does mixing bath salts with alcohol or other intoxicating drugs.

Hostile, violent, or bizarre behavior are clear signs of a bath salt overdose, and anyone exhibiting such symptoms should be rushed to an emergency room immediately. Other signs of bath salt overdose may include:

  • Intense agitation and distress
  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mental confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Frightening delusions or hallucinations
  • Unprovoked paranoia or terror

At the extreme end, bath salt overdoses can lead to death through cardiac arrest. The psychotic behavior an overdose can cause is also extremely dangerous to the bath salt user and his or her companions.

Bath Salts and Co-Occurring Disorders

People who fall prey to the lure of stimulants like bath salts often suffer from mental health disorders, usually of a type that affect their moods. Depression and stimulant addiction frequently manifest together, although the cause and effect relationship can be complex: people suffering from depression may use bath salts to help lift their moods, but the neurological effects of bath salt abuse will only make the symptoms of depression more severe and persistent.

Bath salts are not a primary drug of abuse for most people who use them. They are often mixed with other stimulants, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamines, or MDMA, to boost their effects. In other cases, people with substance use issues may combine them with central nervous system depressants like alcohol, heroin, or opioid painkillers, as a way to balance their moods.

Regardless of the pattern of polydrug abuse, this type of behavior puts users at high risk for substance use disorders, with bath salts playing a supplementary rather than leading role.

Bath Salts Addiction Treatment and Prognosis

Because the cathinones in bath salts are toxic and addictive, anyone addicted to these substances should begin their recovery in medical detox. After slowly but safely detoxifying from these drugs over a period of a few days, it will be appropriate to begin inpatient treatment, which normally lasts anywhere from 30 to 90 days depending on the severity of the bath salts addiction.

Treatment programs for bath salt addiction usually combine individual, group, and family psychotherapy with various holistic healing and stress management techniques, including meditation, yoga, massage therapy, arts therapy, wilderness or adventure therapy, and biofeedback. Life skills and educational classes can help prepare people in recovery for the challenges they will face as they attempt to preserve their sobriety back in the “real world.”

Relapse Prevention

The risk of relapse following treatment for bath salts addiction is real, and that is why aftercare or continuing care programs are so vital to the recovery process. Long-term therapy and peer group involvement are crucial elements in a well-planned campaign against drug dependency, and through continuing care the turbulent emotions or troubling life events that might provoke relapse can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Thankfully, bath salts addiction is relatively uncommon. But for those who’ve become dependent on this dangerous substance, comprehensive treatment offers their best chance for a lasting recovery.

FAQs about Bath Salts

Studies into how synthetic cathinones affect the brain and body have found that they act in the brain in a similar way to cocaine. One study found that MDPV, a common synthetic cathinone, is 10 times more potent than cocaine. The immediate effects of the drug may vary depending on its potency, which compounds are in it, and the person using it. But in general, bath salts can cause some very dangerous psychotic symptoms that can lead a person to be injured in an accident, to become violent, or to get hurt because of poor judgement. Some of the effects include:

  • Paranoia and delusional thinking
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Extreme agitation
  • Violent behavior

Bath salts can also increase sex drive and lower inhibitions, which puts a user at risk for making bad decisions and engaging in risky sexual behaviors that could lead to unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.

As a drug that causes psychotic symptoms, bath salts poses immediate risks to a user’s health. There are other dangers too, including the way in which the drug affects the body and potential side effects. As a stimulant, bath salts cause increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. They also can cause anxiety, nosebleeds, insomnia, chest pains, and loss of appetite.

All of these can cause health problems, but there are also more serious side effects a person may experience using bath salts:

  • Muscle spasms and muscle damage
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of control of bowels
  • Aggression
  • Panic attacks
  • Hyperthermia, a dangerous increase in body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Kidney failure

The health risks of using bath salts are more likely to occur and to be severe in users who snort the drug or inject it with a needle. This is as compared to users who ingest or smoke bath salts, although there is no safe use of the drug.