Bath Salts: Addiction Effects and Treatment

The use of synthetic cathinones, known as “bath salts”, continues to rise, especially among teens and young adults. These man-made stimulants are chemically related to the khat plant, which in many cultures is chewed for its mildly stimulating effect. The synthetic version, however, is much more potent and therefore much more dangerous. Bath salts can be swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected and cause delusion, aggression and psychosis.

Despite its name, this drug has nothing in common with Epsom salts, bubble bath powders, or other products manufactured for use while bathing. Synthetic cathinones belongs to a class of drugs called new psychoactive substances (NPS), which share several things in common:

  • They have no legitimate medical value.
  • They are made from substances not meant for human consumption.
  • They are made to mimic the effects of other drugs.
  • They are made as cheap substitutes for other drugs.
  • Their effects are mind-altering.

More than 80 chemicals are found in bath salts, and little is known about how these may affect the brain and body. Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is the most commonly reported ingredient in bath salts. In the brain, it mimics the effects caused by cocaine, but is about 10 times stronger. Bath salts may also contain other stimulants like mephedrone and methylone.

Street names for bath salts include:

  • Ivory Wave
  • Cloud Nine
  • Bliss
  • Ocean Snow
  • Stardust

Effects of taking bath salts

  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Psychotic delusions
  • Aggression
  • Kidney and liver failure
  • Death

Continued abuse of bath salts can lead to tolerance, dependence and addiction.

How Elan Treats Addiction to Bath Salts

At Elan Recovery + Wellness, we use a number of treatment methods to help our guests understand, manage, and emerge from addiction to bath salts, as well as any co-occurring mental health conditions:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Addiction education
  • NA meetings
  • Adaptive testing software, which helps us assess your mental health daily
  • Complete evaluation by a psychiatrist
  • If indicated, psychotropic medication to rebalance the brain chemistry
  • Weekly visits with our staff psychiatrist
  • Management of medications by our advanced psychiatric nurse practitioner

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