Bath Salts: What You Need To Know
When a person is suffering from an addiction, they are no longer in control. The desire to get high can be an urge so strong that some individuals turn to unconventional substances in order to experience any type of mood/behavioral change. One of these substances is bath salts, a synthetic drug that contains Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and/or Mephedrone. The use of this man-made stimulant has resulted in horrifying outcomes, and this blog serves to educate individuals on the symptoms and side effects of the drug.
Bath Salts: Background
The nickname “bath salts” stems from the drug’s similarity in appearance to actual bath salts, such as Epsom salt. This substance belongs to a group of drugs referred to as psychoactive substances. These psychoactive drugs imitate the effects of substances that exist but are currently illegal, and have become a more prominent presence in the drug market within the past decade. Regulating bath salts has proven to be a challenge as dealers are quick to change its recipe in order to avoid regulation laws, technically giving the drug a legal aspect.
The drug generally comes in a powder form, and users either smoke, inject, snort, or swallow the substance. Dealers tend to package bath salts with deceiving labels, such as “plant food” or “jewelry cleaner”. People can also purchase bath salts online or through drug paraphernalia shops, sometimes referred to by the following nicknames: Cloud Nine, Vanilla Sky, Blue Silk, or Bliss. They are marketed as a cheap alternative to cocaine and methamphetamines, and sometimes mixed in with drugs such as MDMA.
Signs and Symptoms
Bath salts are a very intense stimulant. Research has shown that MDPV has a similar effect on the brain as cocaine, but its power and intensity is more than ten times as great. People that have taken bath salts will experience symptoms similar to the following:
- Increased Sex Drive
- Intense Euphoria/Energy
- Extreme Agitation
- Violent Attacks/Behavior
This list of symptoms is less than ideal, so why would someone take such a drug? The answer is simple: for the same reason a person would take any other drug. Drugs mask feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, and stress, and allow users to have a period of relief from the battles they’re fighting. Addiction takes over the mind and body, causing skewed judgement and impulsive behavior. Bath salts are sometimes used in the place of other stimulants when a user can’t get their hands on their preferred drug. This makes the substance extremely dangerous as bath salts aren’t regulated and a cheap alternative to other highs.
One of the most obvious signs of bath salts use is the unusual amount of energy that users will exhibit. Because bath salts have effects similar to amphetamine, the brain is overloaded with euphoric sensation. This causes users to act upon these overwhelming feelings of reward. This behavior can reach frantic levels, and those high on bath salts sometimes come across as manic and hysterical. The effects generally last between 3 to 4 hours before the high begins to diminish. Users often describe the come down from bath salts as a hard crash, making the complete experience last for up to 8 hours.
Side Effects and Misuse
As mentioned, violent attacks and aggressive behavior are a result of bath salt use. There have been several tragic cases in the United States over the past years as a result of bath salts use:
- In July of 2010, a man beat his friend to death and later admitted to having ingested bath salts. In November of that same year, a young man took his own life a few days after using, claiming he couldn’t handle what the drug had done to him.
- In April of 2011, a man under the influence of bath salts killed his wife, their 5-year old son, and then himself.
- In May of 2011, a man killed his neighbor’s goat and once arrested, admitted to the police that he had been under the influence of the drug for three days.
- In one of the most gruesome cases, a homeless man in Florida was suspected to be under the influence of bath salts when he ate the flesh off of another homeless man’s face in 2012.
Another side effect of this high is the inability to control your actions or listen to commands. Paired with the aggressive nature of the drug, it is no surprise that the use of bath salts has resulted in deadly instances such as the ones listed above.
Using bath salts over an extended period of time can result in serious damage to your brain and body. Because the drug is so intense, and its effects are so altering, long-term users never return to a completely normal state of being: their everyday lives are riddled with agitation, anxiety, and aggression. These side effects include increased risk for heart attack and stroke, seizures, anorexia, chronic psychosis, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Bath salts are an extremely dangerous drug, and can have severe consequences for the user as well as those around them. Although similar to cocaine and amphetamines in composition, the violent nature of this drug is too unpredictable and much more of a concern in regard to the course of action a user may take while high.
It is imperative that anyone with an addiction to bath salts seek treatment. Bath salt use indicates that someone’s addiction has progressed to a very serious point, and sufficient treatment will be necessary in order to properly restore any mental and physical damage caused by the drug. If you or a loved one are exhibiting signs and symptoms of bath salt addiction, or any addiction at all, contact us at Arizona Addiction Recovery Center today to speak with one of our representatives. Let’s discuss which course of action is most suitable for you.