Bath Salts Symptoms and Warning Signs

There are countless reasons mood-altering substances, such as alcohol and illegal drugs, are abused. For some individuals, it gives them the chance to escape while for others, it is the exuberance of youth and the recklessness that comes with it. Those who choose to experiment with chemical substances for recreational purposes often look for cheap and ‘legal’ ways of doing so.

New psychoactive substances (NPS), once dubbed ‘legal highs’, were popular with youngsters trying to get high. While these substances are potentially extremely dangerous to use, most who use them do not go on to have any major problems. However, there are some who have developed crippling addictions to substances like bath salts and who are now trying desperately to break free. If a bath salts addiction is something you are struggling with, please know that help is available.

Bath salts are also known as ‘psychoactive bath salts’, and although a designer drug, they get their name from the fact that they were sold as real bath salts. As they resemble Epsom salts and the like, manufacturers managed to get away with selling them legally for a long time. Despite labelling packaging as ‘not fit for human consumption’, that is exactly what they were being legally sold for. The result was that many people found themselves in the grip of a deadly addiction.

Other Names for Bath Salts

  • Psychoactive Bath Salts
  • PABS
  • Synthetic Cathinones
  • Bloom
  • Flakka
  • Cloud Nine
  • White Lightening
  • Vanilla Sky
  • Scarface

Recognising the Common Warning Signs of Bath Salts Abuse

Although the use of bath salts can lead to severe consequences, the fact that they were once classed as ‘legal’ highs, meant that many individuals believed them to be a safe way to get intoxicated. Young people, who could not access substances such as alcohol, for example, would buy legal highs for recreational purposes.

Bath salts can be taken in any number of ways. They can be taken orally, snorted, smoked, or injected. Nevertheless, whatever way they are taken is extremely dangerous, but injecting is particularly harmful. The effects of bath salts on the mind and body can be severe and is often likened to being severely intoxicated by alcohol.

However, abuse of bath salts can lead to a whole host of health problems, including:

  • nausea
  • kidney pain
  • agitation
  • aggression
  • chest pains
  • high blood pressure
  • raised body temperature
  • rapid heartbeat
  • confusion
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations
  • suicidal thoughts
  • delusions

If you have been abusing bath salts and experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, you may need professional help to get better. Abuse of any substance can have a detrimental impact on quality of life. If you are becoming preoccupied with bath salts and find that your life has started to revolve around your use of them, it is time to act.

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The Dangers of Bath Salts Abuse

Abusing bath salts is incredibly dangerous as you could simply never know exactly what you are taking. The ingredients can lead to many health problems and, as well as this, it is extremely hard to figure out how much is actually safe to take.

Both mental and physical health problems can be attributed to bath salts abuse. In addition to heart problems and seizures, the use of bath salts can lead to problems such as paranoia, aggression, and violence. What’s more, there is an elevated risk of overdose when using bath salts, which has in fact led to death in some people.

Apart from the health risks associated with bath salts abuse, there are other issues that must be considered. Since the use of bath salts tends to induce strong cravings for the substance, there is a risk of addiction and the associated problems that come with this.

Anyone who allows their use of bath salts to spiral out of control is likely to experience problems as well as issues with those they love. It is impossible for addiction not to cause relationship problems. Addiction is an illness of the brain and as such affects the way the addicted person behaves. As your illness progresses, your behaviour will change; bath salts will become the single most important thing in your life. There is just no way that your family members and friends will be able to pretend that nothing is happening; nor would they want to, by the way.

While it may be difficult for you to notice these changes in behaviour in yourself, to those around you it will be much more obvious. They will probably find it hard to understand why you have changed. If they realise it is because you are abusing a chemical substance, they will find it hard to accept that you are continuing to abuse it when it is causing harm to not only your life but theirs too. Most people with no experience of addiction do not fully comprehend the pull it has over the affected individual.

Recognising a Bath Salts Addiction

If your use of this substance is affecting your day-to-day life, it is likely that you are contending with an addiction. While bath salts abuse is highly dangerous, it will not cause addiction in everyone. So how can you recognise the signs of addiction?

A dependence on bath salts may not occur immediately.

In the beginning, you might have started using bath salts occasionally. Nonetheless, when occasional use progresses to regular use, you could already be well down the path to addiction.

If your use of bath salts is not having an impact on your ability to go about your daily life, you may think you don’t require professional help right now. But if you feel as though your life is consumed by your need to use this substance, it is highly likely that you have already become physically dependent.

Think about your use of bath salts and whether you are using more than before. Do you spend much of your time using bath salts or thinking about using them? You should also consider how much control you have over your use. If you find that you cannot resist the urge and have no control over how much of this substance you are using, you may already have an issue.

Thankfully, you do not need to continue living in the grip of a bath salts addiction. You can access help for this illness, and provided you are committed to getting well, you can look forward to getting your life back on track.

Bath Salts and the Brain

Although more research needs to be done in terms of how bath salts affect the brain, it is thought that they have a similar effect as cocaine. However, it must be noted that bath salts are much more powerful and can actually exacerbate symptoms that may occur with cocaine use.

As with other stimulant drugs, bath salts can affect the production of dopamine chemicals in the brain, causing a surge to be released. This results in feelings of euphoria and joy. Users often report feeling energetic and will be much friendlier with those around them.

Nevertheless, as bath salts are much more potent than other stimulant drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, they can result in hallucinations, nervousness, paranoia, and delusions. These effects on the mind can cause affected individuals to become psychotic and sometimes violent. It is not unusual for people under the influence of bath salts to have self-harm or even suicidal thoughts.

Regular use of bath salts can alter some of the brain’s structure, in much the same way that most other mood-altering chemicals do. These changes can affect the ability to make positive decisions and can cause continued abuse even when doing so is having negative consequences for you and others.

Learn the Immediate Side Effects of Bath Salts Abuse

Bath salts can have many immediate side effects, which can be quite dangerous. Below are a few examples of what can happen to the mind and body:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Chest pains
  • Blurred vision
  • Rash
  • Excessive sweating
  • Headaches
  • Numbness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Raised temperature
  • Hallucinations
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Violent or aggressive behaviour
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self-harm
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Depression
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Learn the Long-Term Bath Salts Abuse Side Effects

There is still much research required into the long-term effects of bath salts abuse, but it is believed that chronic regular abuse will raise the risk of the following health problems:

  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart disease
  • Brain damage

Intervention for a Bath Salts Addiction

It is important to get help for a bath salts addiction as soon as possible. As with almost every other type of addiction, this is an illness that will not go away without intervention and addiction treatment. If you are a family member or friend of someone you believe is addicted to bath salts, you might be hoping that the problem resolves itself.

What you should know is that it is more than likely that your loved one’s situation will only worsen without your help. Speaking to your loved one about your concerns could mean that you are met with denials or even anger; however, if you are sure that he or she has a problem, it is better to take decisive action.

Try to stay calm when raising the issue of addiction and avoid getting into a heated debate. Even if the affected person is unwilling to entertain the idea of treatment at the moment, you might find that he or she comes around to the idea after having a little time to think and reflect. It’s best if you contact an experienced interventionist for advice.

What you should also be aware of is the fact that many addicts are unable to see the harm that their actions are causing. The nature of addiction is that it changes the way the brain functions. It can render your loved one incapable of making good and logical decisions, which can mean that addicts are unable to see the truth of their situation.

Detox and Withdrawal from Bath Salts

Since bath salts can cause intense cravings, it is common for those who abuse them to continue using, which can lead to a physical dependence. To break free from a bath salts addiction, you would need a detox. This is where you will stop abusing the drug and wait for your body to get rid of any remaining chemicals that have built up over time.

The detox process can be complicated though. As the body tries to get back to normal, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, some of which can end up being quite unpleasant. It is not possible to predict exactly what symptoms you will experience and how severe these may be, as this will be influenced by a range of factors such as your health, age, and the severity of your addiction.

What is important, though, is that you detox in a dedicated facility. There is always a risk of severe withdrawals when detoxing from drugs, particularly one as powerful as bath salts. To ensure your safety, it is best to complete the process under the careful supervision of experienced and fully trained professionals.

Treatment and Next Steps

When you have completed detox, you can then start to address the psychological issues associated with your addiction. Rehabilitation programmes are provided by the NHS, charities, and private clinics, and they are either inpatient or outpatient based. The type of programme that you choose for your treatment will depend on several factors, including the severity of your illness, your personal preferences, and your individual circumstances.

Treatment in a rehab facility will consist of a variety of counselling and therapy techniques designed to address the cause of your illness and to help you develop ways of learning how to live a substance-free life going forward.

Questions about Treatment

How much will treatment cost?

If you choose a treatment programme with the NHS or a local charity, it is likely that you will not have to pay for treatment. However, with a private clinic, costs can vary from one provider to the next. On average, a 28-day programme will cost between £4,000 and £6,000.

Will all my counselling sessions be one-to-one?

One-to-one or individual, counselling sessions will likely form a big part of your treatment programme, but you may also be offered group therapy sessions from time to time. If you are getting treated in an inpatient facility, you may also take part in lectures and seminars with other patients.

Will I have to take medication?

When detoxing from mood-altering chemicals, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild to severe in intensity. In some instances, medication can help to ease the symptoms, or even prevent the worst ones from occurring. Nevertheless, you should only be prescribed medication if it is appropriate, and it will only ever be prescribed by a medical professional.

Do I have to stay overnight?

Whether an overnight stay is required or not will depend on who is providing the treatment and the type of programme you choose. Most private clinics offer residential programmes where you will stay in the clinic for the duration of your treatment. This will normally mean staying within the facility for a period of between four and twelve weeks, depending on how severe your illness is. If you choose an outpatient programme, you will not stay overnight. Instead, you will attend regular counselling and therapy sessions before returning home after each session.

What will I do about work?

If you need to have treatment in a residential facility, clinics can arrange to provide you with a note of absence to give to your employer. One of the doctors can sign you off work for the duration of the treatment. Remember that addiction is a recognised mental health problem and as such you are entitled to time off for treatment. Whether your employer pays you or not will depend on their policy regarding sick pay. Nonetheless, you can claim statutory sick pay if you are unable to work due to your illness.

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