Bath salts refer to synthetic designer drugs that are sold for recreational use. Designer drugs are substances that are made to get around controlled substances laws. New substances are made that are intended to mimic an illegal drug. Then the substance is sold as some kind of household product that’s not intended for human consumption, which gets around certain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. However, buyers and sellers know that the substance is being used as a recreational drug.

Until the substance is banned, it’s bought and sold on the legally ambiguous “grey market.” Bath salts get their name because they were once sold as bath salts and other products like plant food. The term bath salts can refer to a wide variety of designer stimulants, but it typically refers to substances in the class of drugs called synthetic cathinones. Bath salts are used to mimic the effects of stimulant drugs like cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), and amphetamines. Like those other drugs, it can cause substance use disorders and addiction.

Signs Of Bath Salt Addiction

Bath salt addiction isn’t as common as addiction to other illicit stimulants like cocaine and meth. In addition to the stimulating euphoria that’s common with illicit stimulants, cathinones can also cause uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects like hyperthermia, sweating, paranoia, panic, and suicidal thoughts. Addiction is marked by compulsive use of a drug despite consequences, and it usually happens after a period of abuse. However, the unpleasant nature of a bath salt high often prevents users from seeking it out over other options. However, if someone is abusing bath salts, they may show the following signs and symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Sweating
  • Spasms
  • Drug cravings
  • Isolation
  • Using the drug to feel normal
  • Using outside of social settings
  • Hiding the drug
  • Lying about drug use

What Is Involved In Bath Salts Addiction Treatment?

If you see the signs of a substance use disorder in yourself or someone else, you may need addiction treatment to effectively address your problem. Addiction involves powerful compulsions that may get out of control without help. Addiction treatment is a complex process that’s designed to treat substance abuse and underlying issues like mental health problems. The first stage in addiction treatment is often medical detox, which is reserved for people with high-level medical needs like dangerous withdrawal.

Stimulants like bath salts don’t usually cause life-threatening withdrawal, but addiction may come with other medical needs that may need to be addressed with 24-hour medical treatment. After detox, you may go through an inpatient program, intensive outpatient, or an outpatient program. Addiction treatment should be tailored to your needs through the full continuum of care.

How Dangerous Are Bath Salts?

Bath salts are a powerful stimulant that can cause serious medical problems with long-term use and in high doses. An overdose of synthetic cathinones can cause high fever, heart-related complications, and rapid muscle breakdown. Long term use may cause kidney and liver problems. If left unaddressed, a substance use disorder that involves bath salts could be fatal.

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