While you may have heard of bath salts for bathing, the phrase bath salts also refers to various synthetic drugs that are sold on the black market as regular, everyday products to avoid legal detection. Sometimes referred to as synthetic or designer drugs, these substances are sold as products, like plant food or phone cleaner, or are marked with phrases like “not for human consumption.” While bath salts may refer to various synthetic drugs online or on the streets, the most common chemical they’re made with is synthetic cathinones. Long-term misuse can contribute to dependence and addiction, and our Pennsylvania rehab offers bath salts detox to help those addicted overcome withdrawals and begin their recovery.
Dangers of Bath Salts
Available in powdered, crystalline, tablet, or capsule form, bath salts are sold in brightly colored packages under labels and names like “plant food” and “not for human consumption.” They can be found on shelves in music stores, head shops, and gas stations, or they can be ordered online.
Due to false labels, there are many myths about bath salts regarding their use and side effects. Since they can be purchased over the counter, people may think they’re safer than illegal drugs. However, this isn’t true.
The fact is that bath salts are synthetic cathinones, which produce similar side effects to cocaine and meth, such as increased heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and respiration rate, along with increased energy levels, sociability, excitement, focus, and pleasure. These drugs may also reduce the desire to sleep and eat, which can contribute to dehydration.
Bath salts may also contain substances that are similar to amphetamine, like mephedrone, methylone, or MDPV (3,4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone). Due to their dangerous and unpredictable side effects, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) placed these drugs under federal control in 2011, classifying them as Schedule I drugs.
Schedule I substances are illegal to possess or sell, have a high potential for abuse, and do not have a medical use. Even though the three most commonly used chemicals to make bath salts are illegal, drug manufacturers are finding ways to alter their chemical composition enough to escape regulation and control. This means that many of these products are being sold to the public and made accessible to recreational users.
In addition to unpredictable side effects, bath salts also carry a high risk of a potentially fatal overdose as well as psychotic behavior. Also known by street names like Bliss, Cloud 9, Meow Meow, Blue Silk, Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky, Stardust, Snow Leopard, White Lightning, Red Dove, Explosion, and Tranquility, synthetic cathinones are dangerous, mind-altering substances that could produce deadly side effects.
Bath Salts Withdrawal Symptoms
Bath salts work by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine in the brain. Similar to cocaine, bath salts also block the recycling of neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for producing excitement, euphoria, creativity, and empathy. When this process of recycling is blocked, a build-up of these chemicals occurs in the brain and causes a surge of these side effects.
Over time, it’s possible to develop a dependence on the substance as the brain becomes accustomed to its stimulating effect. What’s more, the limbic system (the reward center) also learns to crave these side effects as a result of long-term use.
Individuals who have developed a dependence on bath salts will likely experience withdrawal symptoms if they were to abruptly stop using them or if they don’t have access to them for long periods. A lack of dopamine produces most stimulant withdrawal symptoms, and this is also the case when it comes to bath salts detox.
During withdrawal, the brain will struggle to produce dopamine at an average rate after using the drug, which contributes to symptoms. Common withdrawal symptoms of bath salts include:
- Feeling foggy-headed
- Inability to focus
- Intense cravings
- Muscle aches
- Slow thinking
- Suicidal thoughts
Although it’s not considered to be deadly, withdrawing from bath salts can lead to various medical complications that can be more severe without medical care. Furthermore, in addition to various physical symptoms, severe depression and suicidal thoughts could occur, which are life-threatening. If you’re planning on stopping bath salts, it’s safest to undergo the process with medical support.
Treatment for Detoxing Bath Salts
Bath salts withdrawal can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Any chemical dependency has the ability to cause medical complications, and the safest, most efficient way to achieve and sustain sobriety is with professional support.
Our Northeast addictions treatment center offers a wide variety of detox programs, including bath salts detox. Patients who are not medically secure upon arrival at our facility begin their recovery with detoxification.
Led by our medical team, our detox in PA utilizes a tapering schedule that allows drugs to be gradually flushed out of the client’s system. Additionally, to cope with difficult withdrawals, we also administer detox medications to reduce any pain and discomfort.
Not only is detox important for addressing withdrawal symptoms, but it also helps clients gradually cope with drug and alcohol cravings in a controlled and supervised environment. This reduces the risk of relapse as well as creates the opportunity for an early departure from treatment.
If you or someone you care about is battling with bath salts abuse or any other substance addiction, don’t wait to get help. In addition to detox, Clearbrook Treatment Centers offers bath salts addiction treatment, among other services.