Commonly labeled as “bath salts,” the synthetic cathinones are drugs that chemically resemble but often exceed the effects of the active stimulant substance found in the khat plant. Bath salts, or synthetic cathinones, are drugs that mimic and magnify the stimulating effects of the khat plant, found in the southern Arabia and East Africa 1. Bath salts, which are not to be confused with Epsom salts, are frequently obtained in brown or white crystal-like powder form on the internet and in head shops. Often labeled “not for human consumption,” they can be disguised as useful products, such as jewelry cleaner or plant food. Bath salts can be snorted, smoked, swallowed, or dissolved in water and injected. Common street names include flakka, white lightning, bloom, and cloud nine 1.
Bath salts serve as a cheap substitute for stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. These synthetic cathinones are often present in products that dealers sell as MDMA or molly, which can be dangerous for users who are unaware of what they’re using 1.
Users who attempt to overcome bath salts addiction without assistance are often unsuccessful due to withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings.Bath salts abuse is part of an overall substance abuse crisis confronting the nation. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), synthetic cathinones were involved in nearly 23,000 drug-related emergency room visits in 2011 5. The widespread availability of bath salts, along with the lack of legal regulation, compounds the public health issue that these drugs represent.
Like so many other drugs of abuse, repeated use can lead to bath salts addiction. Over time, the brain adapts to the presence of the drug, leading to dependence which, when established, can give rise to the emergence of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms with the cessation of or reduction in use. Users often take bath salts to relieve these symptoms, which can lead to a cycle of problematic and compulsive bath salts abuse known as addiction. Users who attempt to overcome bath salts addiction without assistance are often unsuccessful due to withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings 1.
Fortunately, bath salts detoxification services help users overcome these symptoms. Initial baths salts detox is a critical first step in finding treatment and establishing a life free of bath salts abuse.
There are several signs and symptoms that can indicate someone is abusing bath salts. Signs of intoxication often mimic those associated with cocaine, amphetamine, or MDMA abuse and may include1,2,3:
Abusing bath salts can be fatal, with the worst outcomes resulting from intravenous or intranasal use 2.
Because bath salts are unregulated and can contain many different additives and chemicals, the long-term consequences of bath salts use are not clearly defined. More research is needed to identify effects of chronic use. Chronic abuse of bath salts can lead to many troublesome and dangerous effects, such as 2,3:
The sooner you seek help for bath salts abuse the lower the risk of experiencing any long-lasting complications. Drug detox is an effective first step towards sobriety and a healthier life.
A bath salts addiction is characterized by continued use of the drug, when when doing so is detrimental to your mental or physical health and personal wellbeing. Though the signs may be there, many people struggle to recognize that addiction has taken hold of them. How do you know if you’ve reached a point of compulsive use and would benefit from formal detox services?
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), you may have an addiction to bath salts if you experience any two of the following symptoms within the past year 6:
If you abuse bath salts routinely and suddenly stop using or drastically reduce use, you will likely experience bath salts withdrawal symptoms. There is no definitive information about the timeline for bath salts detox symptoms. However, similar to the manifestation of other drug withdrawal syndromes, bath salts withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on several factors, such as:
Since bath salts share chemical similarities with the stimulant cathinone and other stimulant substances, the progression of bath salts withdrawal symptoms may adhere to a more general stimulant withdrawal timeline, such as outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). According to the APA, stimulant withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours to several days of quitting stimulants 6. The average dose being taken over a given period will further determine the length of onset and intensity of stimulant withdrawal symptoms.
Bath salts detox symptoms include 1:
If you have never been through a drug detox program before, rest assured that an experienced treatment team will make sure that you are comfortable throughout the withdrawal process. They realize how distressing the process can be and will provide you with emotional and psychological support for the duration of detox.
The detox process is conducted primarily to help stabilize you and prepare you for follow-up addiction treatment.Bath salts detox is “a set of interventions aimed at managing acute intoxication and withdrawal 3.” It seeks to minimize the immediate harmful effects of the drug and the effects of withdrawal.
When you enter a detox program, the first priority is addressing any urgent medical issues. After medical stabilization, a detox treatment plan is developed. To help you know what to expect, this plan includes information about how bath salts abuse and withdrawal affects you.
Bath salts detox involves the following 3 steps 3:
It’s important to understand that detoxification alone doesn’t rectify the maladaptive thoughts and behaviors contributing to the bath salts abuse problem. The detox process is conducted primarily to help stabilize you and prepare you for follow-up addiction treatment.
Bath salts detoxification occurs in a variety of settings, depending on your acute medical status and what works best for your situation. While no medications exist specifically for the management of bath salts detox, drugs can help control any agitation and psychotic symptoms that may result from use 4. Some options for going through the detoxification process include:
Keep in mind that no matter your situation, help is available. There’s no reason to endure bath salts withdrawal alone. Medical and psychiatric professionals can provide you with the necessary support to help you achieve sobriety.
There are many different types of substance abuse treatment, each with its own treatment philosophy, benefits, amenities, and treatment modalities. The right recovery program for you will depend on several factors, such as:
Post-detox addiction treatment programs exist to accommodate a wide range of needs. They all share the goal of teaching you to cope with your addiction and developing relapse prevention skills. Some options include:
It’s important to note that each treatment program has its own strengths and weaknesses, and therefore, it’s important to work closely with your detox treatment team when exploring addiction treatment options. What works for one person may not be right for you or your loved one, so be sure to make a list of what you think is most important in a substance abuse treatment program.