Addiction Treatment

Bath Salts Addiction

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Medically reviewed: 02/03/2018
Last updated: 03/25/2020
Author: Medical Review

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What is Bath Salts Addiction?

Bath salts are the name given to cathinones or designer cathinones, and refers to a highly addictive family of stimulant drugs and chemicals. Created using humanmade chemicals, bath salts are brown or white crystals that are often sold online. Bath salts have known dangerous side effects including hallucinations, panic attacks, violent behavior and muscle spasms. Those who abuse the drug recreationally have a substantial likelihood of becoming addicted.

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The most common method of abuse for bath salts is sniffing or snorting. Other methods include taking bath salts orally, and smoking or injecting them. As stimulants, bath salts affect the brain in a way that is very similar to cocaine and amphetamine because they raise the dopamine in the brain to dangerous levels. In fact, bath salts can raise dopamine levels ten or more times higher than cocaine. This is why they are so addictive.

What are the Risks of Bath Salts Addiction?

In 2011, bath salts caused over 23,000 emergency room visits in the U.S. Many people mix bath slats with other drugs, increasing the potency, and the likelihood of overdose. Being a synthetic substance increases the risk of bath salt use, as dosages are unclear, and potency can vary significantly. When abusing bath salts, you are putting your body at risk of seizures, hallucinations, violent behavior, heart problems, liver disease, and death.

What are the Symptoms of Bath Salts Addiction?

People who attempt to use bath salts casually can easily develop a bath salt addiction after just a few uses of the drug. This is why it is so important to catch bath salt abuse early on.

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Here are some symptoms of bath salts abuse:

  • Nosebleeds from snorting the drug
  • Lack of appetite
  • Agitation
  • Alertness
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Heart palpitations or racing heart
  • Chest pains
  • High blood pressure
  • Lowering inhibitions
  • Increased sex drive

Bath salts carry serious side effects with each use, and are potent enough to cause death after a single dose. Severe symptoms of bath salts abuse can include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Malnutrition

What are the Signs of Bath Salts Addiction?

Addiction to a substance is defined by the individual being unable to stop taking bath salts, regardless of negative consequences. If someone shows the following behavior, it is likely that they are suffering from bath salts addiction or dependence:

  • A desire to do bath salts above anything else
  • Problems at work or school
  • Issues with maintaining relationships
  • Family problems
  • Legal problems (e.g., DUI, arrests)
  • Severe cravings
  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Anger or hostility
  • Lying about using bath salts
  • Inability to stop taking bath salts

What to do if Someone You Love is Abusing Bath Salts?

If you suspect someone you care about is abusing bath salts, there are a few things you can do:

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  • Provide support and care – let them know you are here for them and will be open to listening whenever they need to talk. Do not feel like you have to financially support them, as this can be a way of enabling.
  • Give them answers – research their addiction, and find local treatment facilities that they can attend. Find out the best form of treatment for your loved one based on their needs.
  • Set boundaries – if they refuse to get treatment, it is important to set limits. Let them know that you support their recovery but cannot be around them until they get treatment.
  • Intervene if necessary – you may require the help of an addiction specialist to set up an intervention if your loved one is suffering severe physical or psychological side effects but continues to use.

Which Treatment Options are Available for Bath Salts Addiction?

The best possible solution for bath salts addiction is getting the individual into a treatment facility. Treatment programs can be inpatient, or outpatient, and can be structured around the needs of the individual. Most programs range from 30 days to 90 days and involve ongoing therapy and aftercare options.

There are no FDA-approved medications for the treatment of bath salts addiction, making it even more important that patients in recovery from this disease begin counseling and behavioral therapy as soon as possible. The patient’s recovery plan should include treatments such as:

With these possibilities, the patient can slowly learn how to change the way they think about their addiction as well as coping strategies for dealing with triggers and cravings after treatment.

Bath salts addiction can be extremely devastating, but learning to recognize the signs of bath salts abuse and addiction, and how to get an addicted individual into treatment, can help your loved one avoid more severe consequences and may even save their life.

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