Many lives have been shattered by bath salt abuse, yet this substance continues to lay beneath the surface, being largely misunderstood by abusers and non-abusers. Bath salts have unique challenges compared to other drugs because they are made from various chemicals, some of which are legal. This makes bath salts easier to sell in head shops or gas stations, and can give a false sense of hope that users are doing nothing wrong.
Law enforcement is completely aware of the dangers of bath salts, and they have been successful in making many of the chemicals used in bath salts illegal. However, this takes a great deal of effort, and by the time that the chemicals are discovered and made illegal, street chemists are already on to something new. This cat-and-mouse game is one that has devastating consequences for drug abusers and their families.
You may have heard that bath salts cause hallucinations and form fast addictions, but these chemicals are even more dangerous than that. Let’s discuss how bath salts work on the brain and the frightening effects that can occur.
How Bath Salts Work on the Brain
When a person buys bath salts, they don’t know what they’re getting. All they know is that they bought a packet of crystallized powder. Some users choose to take the powder little by little while others ingest the entire contents in one sitting or a short period of time, which is a very bad idea. Not that bath salts are okay in any quantity, but taking more of the drug is almost certain to leave the user with severe reactions. And, since the user doesn’t know what’s in the crystal powder, they don’t know what dosage of the chemicals they’re getting.
Bath salts work similarly to amphetamines and raise the dopamine levels in the brain. These increased dopamine levels are what lead to euphoria and energy. Within the body, however, the blood pressure is rising, the heart is beating faster and the nervous system goes into overload. When this happens, the brain starts acting out in paranoia because it isn’t sure how to react.
The heightened stage of paranoia in the brain is why bath salt use is heavily associated with symptoms like panic attacks, mood swings and reckless behavior. Some users have reported feeling like their limbs were falling off; others have been found rolling around in traffic. Some have lost their lives.
Even the lucky ones who don’t engage in reckless behavior aren’t out of the clear. There are other problems that can occur as well. Since the brain cannot rest, people who use bath salts are more inclined to reach for sedatives to help them relax. Sedatives like Xanax can have serious interactions with the chemicals in the bath salts, and users run the risk of overdosing on other substances because one sedative is not going to have any impact on slowing down the stimulating effects of bath salts.
Ingesting Bath Salts is Like Playing Russian Roulette
Bath salts are dangerous, frightening and unpredictable. No drug is without its effects, but bath salts have to be some of the worst because you don’t know what chemicals you’re getting or how much of the chemical you’re ingesting. Before many of the bans were placed on bath salts, emergency rooms across the U.S. were having a hard time keeping up with patients admitted for bath salt use. The problem is that emergency rooms are not equipped to test for synthetic drugs, so unless the patient admits to what they took, the ERs can only go so far in treating the patient.
Interestingly, it has been found that bath salts often contain substances like lidocaine, which is a topical anti-inch agent and analgesic. There are many other chemicals found in bath salts that we don’t even know about yet, and we have no idea how they will affect the brain or the body. All we know is that bath salts are like being on cocaine, meth and LSD all at the same time, and the body doesn’t know how to respond, so it shuts down and goes into panic mode.
Of course, there are the other implications to think about as well, such as the addictiveness of the drug and the hallucinations that come with it. Bath salts are extremely addictive, and they can start the cycle of abuse or continue it, leading to further experimentation with illegal substances and reckless behavior.
If you or a loved one needs help with a bath salts addiction, don’t wait another second. Contact The River Source at 866-294-9331. We have experience in treating bath salt addictions and can offer the support and understanding your family needs.