When you think of bath salts, you may envision spa products and Epsom salts. However, bath salts also refer to a category of synthetic drugs which give users stimulant-like effects. Bath salts are also commonly referred to as synthetic cathinones, due to their similar chemical structure to a substance called cathinone, derived from the East African khat plant.
Bath salts are man made, which is part of what makes their use so dangerous. People who use bath salts can potentially develop a bath salt addiction, leading to dangerous health conditions like increased blood pressure, paranoia, dehydration, and delirium.
Some bath salt addiction facts to consider include:
When someone uses bath salts, they will likely experience a rush of euphoria or energy. The effects of the drug are compared to other stimulants like cocaine, meth, and ecstasy, and because of that, there is a high potential for a substance abuse disorder to develop.
Like other substance abuse, bath salt abuse is caused by a combination of individual, genetic, and environmental risk factors. A person with a family history of addiction may be more likely to abuse substances including bath salts. Additionally, research shows that people with adverse childhood experiences are more likely to face addiction.
Other addiction risk factors include:
Bath salts can be taken orally, inhaled, or injected, with the most problems being associated with injection and snorting. When someone is experiencing synthetic cathinones addiction, they will likely show signs of bath salt abuse across a variety of physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms.
Signs of addiction include:
Because bath salts are not regulated, it is impossible for those who use the drug to know how much they’re using, and what exact chemicals are in the bath salts. There is also little research on the overall effects of bath salts. What we do know is that bath salt abuse can induce psychosis, which is a condition in the brain that leads to erratic behavior and personality disorders.
When researchers compared MRIs of a person’s brain on bath salts to a person with schizophrenia’s brain, there were similarities.
Some of the short-term bath salt addiction symptoms include:
Bath salts can also cause physical effects like rashes, fever, excessive sweating, nosebleeds, muscle tension, and more. In severe cases, bath salt abuse can lead to seizures, heart attacks, and brain stem herniation, which can all be fatal.
Additionally, bath salt overdose is a possibility, as synthetic cathinone intoxication has resulted in dangerous levels of dehydration, breakdown of the body’s skeletal muscle tissues, kidney failure, and death.
Long-term effects of bath salts use include:
When someone quits using bath salts, they will likely face withdrawal symptoms. As with other addictive drugs, the body goes through mental, physical, and emotional disturbances as the body cleanses itself of the toxins and begins the process of recovery.
Someone going through bath salts withdrawal can expect to feel:
If you or a loved one are interested in getting help for bath salts addiction, know that there are many options available to you. When treating any substance use disorder, the first step is typically a detox program, where you can be medically supervised and supported as you detox from the drug in a medical facility. It is possible to detox at home, but people who complete detox in a facility may be more likely to stay sober, safe, and also experience fewer unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
After detoxing, bath salt addiction treatment typically involves therapy interventions to get to the root of the addiction issue and any other co-occurring mental health issue. Common therapy techniques used for addiction include:
Studies show that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be very effective at treating addiction. In this type of therapy, individuals learn how to identify negative thinking patterns which may contribute to addiction issues. Once negative patterns are identified, individuals can work with therapists to reframe their thoughts and find more positive coping mechanisms.
This type of therapy can also be useful in treating bath salts abuse, as it involves rewarding individuals for “good behavior,” or staying sober. Contingency management can be an effective and motivating way for people to recover from bath salts abuse with a goal in mind.
MET is a type of therapy that helps people identify the reasons why they want to get help for their addiction issues. This therapy is particularly useful for people who have little motivation to quit using drugs and who need encouragement and self-awareness to begin their recovery from bath salt drug addiction.
If you’re looking for high-quality, compassionate treatment, you can find exactly that at Genesis Recovery. Healing from addiction can be a challenging journey, but you don’t have to do it alone. At Genesis Recovery, we’re with you every step of the way, helping you find the path to living a fulfilling and positive life.