"Bath Salts" Drug
You’ve probably heard about new drugs called “bath salts” recently in the news. These drugs are sweeping the nation and causing people to exhibit strange, flat-out bizarre behavior. News outlets report zombie-like, cannibalistic behavior and people rolling around in traffic when on the drugs. Bath salts come in neat, sometimes attractive packaging and can be sold anywhere from “head” shops to gas stations.
What Are Bath Salts?
The group of drugs known as “bath salts” is a combination of substances with similar chemical properties to the MDMA found in Ecstasy and the cathinone found in the Middle Eastern plant Khat. The active ingredients, mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) produce an effect similar to that of stimulants. On the street, bath salts go by deceptively fun names like “Bliss” or “White Lightning.” In about 15 minutes, a person on bath salts may experience one or any of the following:
- Violent behavior
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Panic attacks
- Nausea or vomiting
- Increased sociability
The effects of bath salts can last up to six hours but have longer-lasting effects on the brain and body. They can cause cardiac arrest, addiction, and bizarre behavior that can be considered dangerous to the user and others. In 2012 alone, American poison control centers received nearly 3,000 calls about bath salt exposure. If you don’t believe this, type in “bath salts” into YouTube or Google to see the hundreds of videos about it. Or, click here and here to hear real life stories of people who have done bath salts.
Signs of Bath Salt Abuse or Addiction
Aside from the oft publicized “zombie” behavior of someone on bath salts, how can you tell if a friend or loved one is taking bath salts?
- Changes in weight or appearance. Because bath salts mimic the stimulant effects found in other drugs like cocaine or crystal methamphetamine, a person may not feel compelled to eat because their appetite is suppressed. Generally, this is accompanied by weight loss or a sallow appearance. A person on bath salts may also look high, as you might expect from someone using drugs. Changes in pupil dilation and grinding teeth may be two cues that someone you know is on bath salts.
- Strange or unusual behavior. Again, not everyone on bath salts will exhibit the truly bizarre behavior shown on the news. Unusual actions may include taking off one’s clothes (many experience sweatiness or an intense feeling of heat), lashing out at friends or random passersby, extreme unexplained paranoia, or visual and auditory hallucinations and delusions. If this behavior is not typical, it may be an indication of drug use.
- Packages of strange substances. Bath salts are marketed with different names and images, so it may be hard to tell if someone is using bath salts. On the whole, bath salts will come in tiny packages with a zip seal or little canisters with a screw top. They may indeed be marketed as bath salts but can also have other names like “Avalanche,” “Drone” or “Ivory Wave.” If you see evidence of these packages and know that your friend or loved one is not one to relax with a bath of legitimate bath salts, he or she may be using the drug of the same name.
- Neglect of responsibilities. Activities that once used to be enjoyable to a person may take the backseat when he or she is on bath salts. Work, family, friends or other social activities are often neglected because a person is very preoccupied with obtaining and using bath salts. In some instances, people on bath salts get auditory hallucinations that confuse and threaten them. In the first video mentioned above, a girl tried to write down her feelings on bath salts but almost felt afraid to do so because of the voices she kept hearing. If you notice a friend or loved one withdrawing from once-loved activities or people, it may be time to intervene.
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What’s complicated about bath salts is that they are prevalent and many people are uneducated about the possible dangers associated with taking them. They may seem like a “safe” alternative to other drugs but the fact remains simple: No drug is 100 percent safe, and bath salts in particular are far from safe.
If you need help for addiction or abuse of bath salts, we can help. We have professional clinicians who understand and are empathetic to what you are experiencing. We can help you find a treatment plan and teach you how to cope with bath salt withdrawal and addiction. Don’t wait until it’s too late – call us here at Alta Mira Recovery today.