Disease: Bath Salts Abuse and Addiction

    Bath salts facts

    • Bath salts as drugs of abuse refer to white powder or crystalline substance that has no bathing or other cosmetic use.
    • The active ingredients in bath salts tend to be similar chemically and in their effects to stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines. Some have hallucinogenic effects.
    • The rate of bath salts abuse in the United States has rapidly increased over the last few years, and the substance is sold in many small stores as well as on the street.
    • A number of the active ingredients in bath salts are considered to be quite addictive and dangerous. They have therefore been banned by laws in the majority of states as well as by federal law.
    • There are a number of biological, psychological, and social factors (called risk factors) that can increase a person's likelihood of developing a bath salts abuse or dependency.
    • The signs and symptoms of bath salts intoxication tend to include feeling euphoric ("high"), sexually stimulated, thinking one is more focused, and having a high energy level for two to four hours after taking the drug.
    • Multiple severe medical and emotional complications can result from bath salts abuse, including death.
    • Health-care professionals diagnose bath salts abuse and addiction by thoroughly gathering medical, family, and mental-health information.
    • The treatment of bath salts intoxication involves providing intensive medical monitoring and attention to address the specific symptoms experienced by the individual.
    • Treatment for the psychological symptoms of addiction likely takes a great deal longer than managing the medical problems involved.

    What are bath salts, and how are bath salts abused?

    Bath salts are a type of "designer" drug of abuse. The reason these drugs are commonly called bath salts is because they tend to be in the form of white powder or crystals. It is important to note, however, that these substances are not the same as the bath salts in which people bathe. Many of the bath salt drugs are mephedrone, methylone, and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV or MDPK) and are chemically similar to stimulant chemicals like cocaine or amphetamines. MDPV or MDPK also have similarities to hallucinogens like Ecstasy.

    Some of the other many street or slang names for bath salts include Red Dove, Blue Silk, Vanilla Sky, Purple Wave, Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning, White Dove, Super Coke, Tranquility, Zoom, and Magic. Mephedrone also has street names like meow, drone, and meph. These so-called designer drugs are usually ingested, smoked, sniffed, or injected.

    The rate of bath salts abuse has rapidly increased. For example, poison-control centers in the United States reportedly received 302 calls regarding abuse of this drug in 2010. That number increased to 1,782 calls in just the first four months of 2011 and more than 5,000 calls by October of that year. The areas where these drugs are used have also seemed to expand; originally, most of the calls to poison-control centers came from Louisiana, Florida, and Kentucky but later on came from 33 states.

    As of 2011, bath salts were the sixth most commonly used drugs, after tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and Ecstasy. Bath salts users tend to be male and younger than the users of other drugs, and most use it at least weekly. Most bath salts users snort or otherwise inhale the drug, causing a more intense high and higher risk of addiction and complications.

    What is the history of bath salts?

    Substances that cause the "high" (intoxication) often referred to as "bath salts" include methylone, mephedrone, and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV or MDPK). These active ingredients are derived from drugs called cathinones, which come from the East African plant called the Catha edulis. Bath salts are thought to be made in China, in tablet or powder form. These substances are often sold over the Internet, as well as in convenience and tobacco stores, gas stations, truck stops, pawn shops, in tattoo parlors, and on the street. In an attempt to avoid the legal consequences of the banned substances found in bath salts, drug dealers have apparently developed bath salts with other active ingredients. One of those is referred to as Cosmic Blast.

    Are bath salts addictive?

    Given the similarities in effects that these drugs have to cocaine, methamphetamines, and other stimulant drugs of abuse, bath salts should be considered to be quite addictive. Also, despite the newness of these drugs and resultant lack of sufficient research on bath salt-specific addiction in humans, animal research has already shown that these substances can be quite addicting. Therefore, medical professionals consider bath salts to be quite capable of wreaking the same addictive havoc on the lives of users as other stimulant drugs.

    Are bath salts legal?

    A majority of states have made a number of the active ingredients in bath salts illegal on the state level, and the United States federal government has made MDPV (an active ingredient in many bath salts) illegal due to the drug's tendency to cause hallucinations, paranoia, and violence in those who take it. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) now lists a number of the active ingredients found in bath salts as Schedule I drugs, meaning they are illegal because they are understood to have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and have no accepted safe use.

    What are risk and protective (prevention) factors for bath salts abuse and addiction?

    There are a number of biological, psychological, and social factors, called risk factors, that can increase a person's likelihood of developing a substance-abuse or substance-dependency disorder. The frequency that addictions to any drug, including bath salts, occur within some families seems to be higher than can be explained by the addictive environment of the family. Therefore, most substance abuse professionals recognize a genetic aspect to the risk of this and other drug addictions. Mental-disorder symptoms that are caused by bath salt abuse or addiction include mood disorders like depression or anxiety. Social risk factors for bath salts, as for any type of drug abuse and addiction, include male gender, age 18 to 44 years old, unmarried marital status, and lower socioeconomic status. According to statistics by state, people residing in the West tend to be at higher risk for chemical abuse or dependency. As with substance abuse in general, prevention of bath salt abuse and addiction is increased by circumstances like receiving appropriate supervision, as well as clear messages from family members that drug use is unacceptable.

    What are the symptoms and signs of bath salts intoxication?

    The signs and symptoms of bath salts intoxication include feeling euphoric ("high"), sexually stimulated, thinking one is more focused, and having high energy levels for two to four hours after taking the drug. Those symptoms tend to be followed by feeling very let down for several hours to days thereafter.

    What are the side effects, complications, and prognosis of abusing bath salts?

    Possible side effects and complications of even low doses of bath salts abuse include rapid heart rate, chest pain, high blood pressure, agitation, hallucinations, paranoia, and delirium. The agitation and delirium can last for days. Other risks of using these drugs, particularly with overdose, include liver failure, seizures, heart attack, brain swelling, and severe fever (hyperthermia). Emotional complications of bath salts abuse can include panic attacks and violence against oneself (suicidal thoughts or actions, or self-mutilation, as in cutting or burning oneself). The bath salts abuser may develop thoughts, attempts, or acts of homicide or violence against others. Deaths from the medical problems associated with bath salts have been known to occur as well.

    How is bath salts abuse and addiction diagnosed?

    As with any drug abuse, bath salts abuse is a disorder that is characterized by a destructive pattern of using the drug(s) that leads to significant problems or distress. Bath salts addiction is a disease that is characterized by a destructive pattern of abuse of the substance that leads to significant problems involving tolerance to or withdrawal from it, as well as other problems that the use of bath salts can cause for the sufferer, socially or in terms of the person's work or school performance. In order to be diagnosed with bath salts abuse, an individual must exhibit a destructive pattern of abusing this substance that leads to significant problems or stress but not enough to qualify as being addicted to it. This pattern is manifested by at least one of the following warning signs or symptoms of use or abuse in the same one-year period:

    • Recurrent bath salts use that results in a lack of meeting important obligations at work, school, or home
    • Recurrent bath salts use in situations that can be dangerous
    • Recurrent legal problems as a result of bath salts use
    • Continued bath salts use despite continued or repeated social or relationship problems as a result of the drug's effects

    In order to be diagnosed with bath salts addiction, an individual must exhibit a destructive pattern of abusing the substance that leads to significant problems as manifested by at least three of the following signs or symptoms in the same one-year period:

    • Tolerance, which is either markedly decreased effect of bath salts or a need to significantly increase the amount used in order to achieve the same high or other desired effects
    • Withdrawal, which is either physical or psychological signs or symptoms consistent with withdrawal from bath salts, or taking it or a substance that is chemically related in order to avoid developing symptoms of withdrawal
    • Larger amounts of bath salts are taken or for longer than intended.
    • The individual experiences persistent desire to take the drug or has unsuccessful attempts to decrease or control its use.
    • Significant amounts of time are spent getting, using, or recovering from the effects of bath salts.
    • The individual significantly reduces or stops participating in important social, recreational, work, or school activities as a result of using bath salts.
    • The individual continues to use bath salts despite being aware that he or she suffers from ongoing or recurring physical or psychological problems that are caused or worsened by the use of the drug.

    There is no single test that indicates that someone is abusing or addicted to bath salts with complete certainty. Therefore, health-care professionals diagnose these disorders by thoroughly gathering medical, family, and mental-health information. The professional will also either perform a physical examination or request that the individual's primary-care doctor do so. The medical examination usually includes lab tests to assess the person's general health and to explore whether or not the individual has a medical condition that includes mental-health symptoms.

    In asking questions about mental-health symptoms, mental-health professionals are often trying to find out if the person suffers from depressive and/or manic symptoms, as well as whether the individual suffers from anxiety, hallucinations, delusions, or some behavioral disorder. Health-care professionals may provide the people they evaluate with a quiz or self-test to screen for substance abuse or dependence. Since some of the symptoms of bath salts misuse and dependence can also occur in other mental illnesses, the mental-health screening helps determine if the individual suffers from bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or other psychotic disorder. Any disorder that is associated with sudden changes in behavior, mood, or thinking, like bipolar disorder, a psychotic disorder, borderline personality disorder, or dissociative identity disorder (DID), may be particularly challenging to distinguish from some symptoms of bath salts abuse or dependence. In order to assess the person's current emotional state, health-care professionals perform a mental-status examination as well.

    In addition to providing treatment that is appropriate to the diagnosis and to the person in need of it, determining the presence of mental illnesses that may co-occur (co-morbid/dual diagnosis) with bath salts abuse or dependence is important in promoting the best possible outcome. Dual diagnosis of bath salts-abusing or addicted individuals indicates the need for treatment that addresses both issues in an integrated fashion by professionals with training and experience with helping this specific population.

    What is the treatment for bath salts abuse and addiction?

    The treatment of bath salts intoxication involves providing intensive medical monitoring and attention to address the specific symptoms of the individual. It also often involves using medication to alleviate the agitation and other emotional symptoms of intoxication.

    The primary goals for the treatment of addiction symptoms (also called recovery) are abstinence, relapse prevention, and rehabilitation. When the addicted person first abstains from using drugs, he or she may need help avoiding or lessening the effects of withdrawal. That process is called detoxification or detox. That part of treatment is usually performed in a hospital or other inpatient setting (often called detox centers), where medications used to decrease withdrawal symptoms and frequent medical assessments can be provided. As with many other drugs of abuse, the detox process from bath salts is likely the most difficult aspect of coping with the physical symptoms of addiction and tends to last for days.

    People who may have less severe psychological symptoms of bath salts dependency may be able to be maintained in an outpatient treatment program. Those who have a more severe addiction, have relapsed after engaging in outpatient programs, or who also suffer from a severe mental illness might need the higher level of structure, guidance, and monitoring provided in an inpatient drug-treatment center, often referred to as "rehab." After inpatient treatment, many bath salts addicts may need to reside in a sober-living community, that is, a group-home setting where counselors provide continued sobriety support and structure on a daily basis.

    Another important aspect of treating bath salts addiction is helping family members and friends of the addicted person refrain from supporting addictive behaviors (codependency). Whether codependent loved ones provide financial support, excuses, or fail to acknowledge the addictive behaviors of the addict, discouraging such codependency of friends and family is a key part of the recovery of the affected individual. Focusing on the bath salts-addicted person's role in the family likely becomes even more urgent when that person is a child or teenager. Bath salts-dependency treatment for children and adolescents differs further from that in adults by the younger addict's tendency to need help finishing their education and achieving higher education or job training compared to addicts who may have completed those parts of their lives before developing the addiction.

    What are bath salts, and how are bath salts abused?

    Bath salts are a type of "designer" drug of abuse. The reason these drugs are commonly called bath salts is because they tend to be in the form of white powder or crystals. It is important to note, however, that these substances are not the same as the bath salts in which people bathe. Many of the bath salt drugs are mephedrone, methylone, and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV or MDPK) and are chemically similar to stimulant chemicals like cocaine or amphetamines. MDPV or MDPK also have similarities to hallucinogens like Ecstasy.

    Some of the other many street or slang names for bath salts include Red Dove, Blue Silk, Vanilla Sky, Purple Wave, Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning, White Dove, Super Coke, Tranquility, Zoom, and Magic. Mephedrone also has street names like meow, drone, and meph. These so-called designer drugs are usually ingested, smoked, sniffed, or injected.

    The rate of bath salts abuse has rapidly increased. For example, poison-control centers in the United States reportedly received 302 calls regarding abuse of this drug in 2010. That number increased to 1,782 calls in just the first four months of 2011 and more than 5,000 calls by October of that year. The areas where these drugs are used have also seemed to expand; originally, most of the calls to poison-control centers came from Louisiana, Florida, and Kentucky but later on came from 33 states.

    As of 2011, bath salts were the sixth most commonly used drugs, after tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and Ecstasy. Bath salts users tend to be male and younger than the users of other drugs, and most use it at least weekly. Most bath salts users snort or otherwise inhale the drug, causing a more intense high and higher risk of addiction and complications.

    What is the history of bath salts?

    Substances that cause the "high" (intoxication) often referred to as "bath salts" include methylone, mephedrone, and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV or MDPK). These active ingredients are derived from drugs called cathinones, which come from the East African plant called the Catha edulis. Bath salts are thought to be made in China, in tablet or powder form. These substances are often sold over the Internet, as well as in convenience and tobacco stores, gas stations, truck stops, pawn shops, in tattoo parlors, and on the street. In an attempt to avoid the legal consequences of the banned substances found in bath salts, drug dealers have apparently developed bath salts with other active ingredients. One of those is referred to as Cosmic Blast.

    Are bath salts addictive?

    Given the similarities in effects that these drugs have to cocaine, methamphetamines, and other stimulant drugs of abuse, bath salts should be considered to be quite addictive. Also, despite the newness of these drugs and resultant lack of sufficient research on bath salt-specific addiction in humans, animal research has already shown that these substances can be quite addicting. Therefore, medical professionals consider bath salts to be quite capable of wreaking the same addictive havoc on the lives of users as other stimulant drugs.

    Are bath salts legal?

    A majority of states have made a number of the active ingredients in bath salts illegal on the state level, and the United States federal government has made MDPV (an active ingredient in many bath salts) illegal due to the drug's tendency to cause hallucinations, paranoia, and violence in those who take it. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) now lists a number of the active ingredients found in bath salts as Schedule I drugs, meaning they are illegal because they are understood to have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and have no accepted safe use.

    What are risk and protective (prevention) factors for bath salts abuse and addiction?

    There are a number of biological, psychological, and social factors, called risk factors, that can increase a person's likelihood of developing a substance-abuse or substance-dependency disorder. The frequency that addictions to any drug, including bath salts, occur within some families seems to be higher than can be explained by the addictive environment of the family. Therefore, most substance abuse professionals recognize a genetic aspect to the risk of this and other drug addictions. Mental-disorder symptoms that are caused by bath salt abuse or addiction include mood disorders like depression or anxiety. Social risk factors for bath salts, as for any type of drug abuse and addiction, include male gender, age 18 to 44 years old, unmarried marital status, and lower socioeconomic status. According to statistics by state, people residing in the West tend to be at higher risk for chemical abuse or dependency. As with substance abuse in general, prevention of bath salt abuse and addiction is increased by circumstances like receiving appropriate supervision, as well as clear messages from family members that drug use is unacceptable.

    What are the symptoms and signs of bath salts intoxication?

    The signs and symptoms of bath salts intoxication include feeling euphoric ("high"), sexually stimulated, thinking one is more focused, and having high energy levels for two to four hours after taking the drug. Those symptoms tend to be followed by feeling very let down for several hours to days thereafter.

    What are the side effects, complications, and prognosis of abusing bath salts?

    Possible side effects and complications of even low doses of bath salts abuse include rapid heart rate, chest pain, high blood pressure, agitation, hallucinations, paranoia, and delirium. The agitation and delirium can last for days. Other risks of using these drugs, particularly with overdose, include liver failure, seizures, heart attack, brain swelling, and severe fever (hyperthermia). Emotional complications of bath salts abuse can include panic attacks and violence against oneself (suicidal thoughts or actions, or self-mutilation, as in cutting or burning oneself). The bath salts abuser may develop thoughts, attempts, or acts of homicide or violence against others. Deaths from the medical problems associated with bath salts have been known to occur as well.

    How is bath salts abuse and addiction diagnosed?

    As with any drug abuse, bath salts abuse is a disorder that is characterized by a destructive pattern of using the drug(s) that leads to significant problems or distress. Bath salts addiction is a disease that is characterized by a destructive pattern of abuse of the substance that leads to significant problems involving tolerance to or withdrawal from it, as well as other problems that the use of bath salts can cause for the sufferer, socially or in terms of the person's work or school performance. In order to be diagnosed with bath salts abuse, an individual must exhibit a destructive pattern of abusing this substance that leads to significant problems or stress but not enough to qualify as being addicted to it. This pattern is manifested by at least one of the following warning signs or symptoms of use or abuse in the same one-year period:

    • Recurrent bath salts use that results in a lack of meeting important obligations at work, school, or home
    • Recurrent bath salts use in situations that can be dangerous
    • Recurrent legal problems as a result of bath salts use
    • Continued bath salts use despite continued or repeated social or relationship problems as a result of the drug's effects

    In order to be diagnosed with bath salts addiction, an individual must exhibit a destructive pattern of abusing the substance that leads to significant problems as manifested by at least three of the following signs or symptoms in the same one-year period:

    • Tolerance, which is either markedly decreased effect of bath salts or a need to significantly increase the amount used in order to achieve the same high or other desired effects
    • Withdrawal, which is either physical or psychological signs or symptoms consistent with withdrawal from bath salts, or taking it or a substance that is chemically related in order to avoid developing symptoms of withdrawal
    • Larger amounts of bath salts are taken or for longer than intended.
    • The individual experiences persistent desire to take the drug or has unsuccessful attempts to decrease or control its use.
    • Significant amounts of time are spent getting, using, or recovering from the effects of bath salts.
    • The individual significantly reduces or stops participating in important social, recreational, work, or school activities as a result of using bath salts.
    • The individual continues to use bath salts despite being aware that he or she suffers from ongoing or recurring physical or psychological problems that are caused or worsened by the use of the drug.

    There is no single test that indicates that someone is abusing or addicted to bath salts with complete certainty. Therefore, health-care professionals diagnose these disorders by thoroughly gathering medical, family, and mental-health information. The professional will also either perform a physical examination or request that the individual's primary-care doctor do so. The medical examination usually includes lab tests to assess the person's general health and to explore whether or not the individual has a medical condition that includes mental-health symptoms.

    In asking questions about mental-health symptoms, mental-health professionals are often trying to find out if the person suffers from depressive and/or manic symptoms, as well as whether the individual suffers from anxiety, hallucinations, delusions, or some behavioral disorder. Health-care professionals may provide the people they evaluate with a quiz or self-test to screen for substance abuse or dependence. Since some of the symptoms of bath salts misuse and dependence can also occur in other mental illnesses, the mental-health screening helps determine if the individual suffers from bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or other psychotic disorder. Any disorder that is associated with sudden changes in behavior, mood, or thinking, like bipolar disorder, a psychotic disorder, borderline personality disorder, or dissociative identity disorder (DID), may be particularly challenging to distinguish from some symptoms of bath salts abuse or dependence. In order to assess the person's current emotional state, health-care professionals perform a mental-status examination as well.

    In addition to providing treatment that is appropriate to the diagnosis and to the person in need of it, determining the presence of mental illnesses that may co-occur (co-morbid/dual diagnosis) with bath salts abuse or dependence is important in promoting the best possible outcome. Dual diagnosis of bath salts-abusing or addicted individuals indicates the need for treatment that addresses both issues in an integrated fashion by professionals with training and experience with helping this specific population.

    What is the treatment for bath salts abuse and addiction?

    The treatment of bath salts intoxication involves providing intensive medical monitoring and attention to address the specific symptoms of the individual. It also often involves using medication to alleviate the agitation and other emotional symptoms of intoxication.

    The primary goals for the treatment of addiction symptoms (also called recovery) are abstinence, relapse prevention, and rehabilitation. When the addicted person first abstains from using drugs, he or she may need help avoiding or lessening the effects of withdrawal. That process is called detoxification or detox. That part of treatment is usually performed in a hospital or other inpatient setting (often called detox centers), where medications used to decrease withdrawal symptoms and frequent medical assessments can be provided. As with many other drugs of abuse, the detox process from bath salts is likely the most difficult aspect of coping with the physical symptoms of addiction and tends to last for days.

    People who may have less severe psychological symptoms of bath salts dependency may be able to be maintained in an outpatient treatment program. Those who have a more severe addiction, have relapsed after engaging in outpatient programs, or who also suffer from a severe mental illness might need the higher level of structure, guidance, and monitoring provided in an inpatient drug-treatment center, often referred to as "rehab." After inpatient treatment, many bath salts addicts may need to reside in a sober-living community, that is, a group-home setting where counselors provide continued sobriety support and structure on a daily basis.

    Another important aspect of treating bath salts addiction is helping family members and friends of the addicted person refrain from supporting addictive behaviors (codependency). Whether codependent loved ones provide financial support, excuses, or fail to acknowledge the addictive behaviors of the addict, discouraging such codependency of friends and family is a key part of the recovery of the affected individual. Focusing on the bath salts-addicted person's role in the family likely becomes even more urgent when that person is a child or teenager. Bath salts-dependency treatment for children and adolescents differs further from that in adults by the younger addict's tendency to need help finishing their education and achieving higher education or job training compared to addicts who may have completed those parts of their lives before developing the addiction.

    Source: http://www.rxlist.com

    The treatment of bath salts intoxication involves providing intensive medical monitoring and attention to address the specific symptoms of the individual. It also often involves using medication to alleviate the agitation and other emotional symptoms of intoxication.

    The primary goals for the treatment of addiction symptoms (also called recovery) are abstinence, relapse prevention, and rehabilitation. When the addicted person first abstains from using drugs, he or she may need help avoiding or lessening the effects of withdrawal. That process is called detoxification or detox. That part of treatment is usually performed in a hospital or other inpatient setting (often called detox centers), where medications used to decrease withdrawal symptoms and frequent medical assessments can be provided. As with many other drugs of abuse, the detox process from bath salts is likely the most difficult aspect of coping with the physical symptoms of addiction and tends to last for days.

    People who may have less severe psychological symptoms of bath salts dependency may be able to be maintained in an outpatient treatment program. Those who have a more severe addiction, have relapsed after engaging in outpatient programs, or who also suffer from a severe mental illness might need the higher level of structure, guidance, and monitoring provided in an inpatient drug-treatment center, often referred to as "rehab." After inpatient treatment, many bath salts addicts may need to reside in a sober-living community, that is, a group-home setting where counselors provide continued sobriety support and structure on a daily basis.

    Another important aspect of treating bath salts addiction is helping family members and friends of the addicted person refrain from supporting addictive behaviors (codependency). Whether codependent loved ones provide financial support, excuses, or fail to acknowledge the addictive behaviors of the addict, discouraging such codependency of friends and family is a key part of the recovery of the affected individual. Focusing on the bath salts-addicted person's role in the family likely becomes even more urgent when that person is a child or teenager. Bath salts-dependency treatment for children and adolescents differs further from that in adults by the younger addict's tendency to need help finishing their education and achieving higher education or job training compared to addicts who may have completed those parts of their lives before developing the addiction.

    Source: http://www.rxlist.com

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