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Bath Salts Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment

Medically reviewed by

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

February 15, 2019

Over the years, the number of drugs on the market has continued to increase. A substance that has become a serious threat to Americans are synthetic cathinones, or “bath salts.” Bath salts and other designer drug abuse has increased in popularity among drug users, from two known cases in 2009 to 2371 in 2011.

What Are Bath Salts?

Bath salts are a type of amphetamine, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPVD) is the active drug in bath salts that transforms its users into a zombie-like state. The drug was created as a new synthetic stimulant and were named after the substance they resemble.

Other street names for bath salts include:

  • Dynamite
  • Lady Bubbles
  • White China
  • Vanilla Sky
  • Cloud 9
  • Ivory Wave

Bath salts are extremely dangerous, not only because of the gruesome “attacks” that it’s known for in the media, but because it is potentially ten times more addicting that crystal meth. It comes in a yellow or white powder that is then ingested, smoked, snorted, or injected.

It only takes about fifteen minutes for the high from bath salts to take effect, and can last anywhere from four to six hours. Currently, there isn’t currently a nationally recognized federal ban on the substance.

Short-Term Effects Of Bath Salts

It’s common for an individual to abuse bath salts for the high level of dopamine it causes to flood their brain. Bath salts elicit an intense euphoria, hyper-awareness, and feelings of super strength. Unfortunately, due to the potency of the drug, many people become addicted after just one use of bath salts.

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Short-term effects of bath salts include:

  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • rapid heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • dilated pupils
  • loss of motor control
  • excited delirium
  • violent behaviors
  • agitation
  • hallucinations
  • nausea
  • nosebleeds

Long-Term Effects Of Bath Salts

Because of the potency of this drug, typical “long-term” damage is seen after only a few uses. The damage from bath salts abuse isn’t limited to the user themselves. Many people show signs of violent behavior and aggression while on bath salts, and there have been news stories of people attacking others or causing damage to personal property while on the drug.

Long-term effects of bath salts include:

  • neurological damage
  • increased blood pressure
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • infections
  • tooth decay and damage
  • cardiovascular damage
  • mental health problems
  • kidney failure
  • extreme dehydration
  • breakdown of skeletal muscle

Withdrawal from bath salts is particularly intense, causing major depressive symptoms, and many coming down off the high have attempted or committed suicide.

Bath Salts Addiction Treatment

Bath salts addiction is relatively new to the sphere of addiction treatment. Thus many rehabs offer a mixture of traditional amphetamine treatment paired with new treatment specifically targeted towards the extreme addictiveness, and neurological damage bath salts cause. Inpatient treatment allows professionals to monitor patients 24/7 and give them all the attention and care they need.

The first step of bath salt addiction treatment is medically-supervised detoxification. Because of the excessive addictive properties in bath salts, getting all of the remnants of the drug out of a person’s system is essential for treatment. A medical detox program may also help to prevent relapse, and increase a patient’s willingness to remain in treatment.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely used to help patients fight off mental and emotional cravings for a drug. CBT may be paired with co-occurring disorder (dual diagnosis) treatment for any possible mental disorders associated with bath salt use.

Typically, inpatient programs are 30 to 90 days long. Due to the severity of bath salts, many treatment centers hold up to 6 month programs for full recovery. Because of the toll bath salts takes on the brain and its functioning, therapy plays a big roll in recovery. Medications may also be prescribed to help with the physical withdrawal, but due to the severe symptoms, it is still a very unpleasant and painful process.

Sober-Living For Bath Salts Addiction

Because of the high relapse rate associated with bath salts addiction, many rehabilitation centers strongly urge that inpatient treatment is followed by outpatient treatment, and aftercare support.

After care support may include a sober-living community, or sober house. In a sober-living community individuals are surrounded by like-minded people in recovery, and monitored by a house counselor. If living in a sober house isn’t an option, participating in a support group may be another thing to consider.

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