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The Dangers of Abusing Bath Salts

Bath Salts is the colloquial name given to a synthetic drug which is used on a recreational basis and can be snorted, ingested, smoked, or injected. The latter though is ill-advised as this drug rarely has listed ingredients, let alone a dosage, and can, therefore, be immediately fatal to the user.

One of the main ingredients used in Bath Salts is 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and it has been found to be highly addictive and probably more so even than methamphetamine making it possibly the most addictive drug in the world currently.

The recreational use of Bath Salts has been linked to close to 23,000 emergency room visits in the United States alone in 2011. One clinical study found that over 15 percent of patients sent to an emergency room as a result of abusing Bath Salts were in critical conditions or died.

In the United States, the ingredients that are known to be most commonly used to develop Bath Salts have been banned from being used by humans.

Short-term Effects

The short-term neurological effects of Bath Salts include:

  • Severe agitation.
  • Violent behavior.
  • Getting a false high/euphoria which quickly develops into paranoia.
  • Psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations where they see and/or hear things that aren’t there, or even delusions where they may think that they are the president of the country or a prophet.
  • Uncontrollable cravings for the drug.
  • Having suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide.
  • Self-harm.

The physical effects of the drug may include issues such as:

  • Smelling like mephedrone which is one of the drugs used in Bath Salts.
  • A skin rash.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Developing a high fever.
  • Having the sensation that there’s something crawling on the skin.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Involuntary movements of the eyes.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Nosebleeds or feeling that the nose burns.
  • A ringing or buzzing sound in the ears.
  • Pain experienced at the back of the mouth.
  • Excessive grinding of the teeth.
  • A numbness or tingling sensation throughout the body.
  • Chest pains or severe discomfort which may be a sign of a heart attack.
  • Convulsions or seizures.
  • Herniation of the brainstem as a result of increased pressure inside the head and this can be a fatal condition.

Long-term Effects

The long-term use of Bath Salts can result in permanent complications that may include:

  • An increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Liver damage and possible failure.
  • Kidney damage and failure.
  • Skeletal muscle breakdown.
  • Swelling of the brain which may lead to brain death.

Management

Due to its highly addictive nature, withdrawing patients from Bath Salts can be quite a challenging process. Specialist doctors trained in addiction medicine are then sought to help manage these individuals and their services are requested in order to monitor the user’s progress.

Once the withdrawal process is completed, the patients are then admitted to the inpatient substance rehabilitation program to undergo psychotherapy and group therapy sessions. Here, they will consult with occupation therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.

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