Tag Archives: Cocaine

Stimulant Abuse: When Users Take Bath Salts Instead of Cocaine or Meth

Bath Salts Addiction Stimulant Abuse - Fight Addiction Now

The United States has witnessed the rise of several “designer drugs” in recent years – synthetic compounds used to create specific effects. One of the most dangerous of these is bath salts, a crystalline substance that resembles large salt crystals. They can contain several different chemicals, including mephedrone and other synthetic cathinone substances. Bath salts can produce profound symptoms, and cause a host of severe medical problems.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has identified many of the active ingredients in bath salts and banned their sale in the United States to help curb the number of bath salts-manufacturing operations in the country.

What Are Bath Salts?

The term “bath salts” applies to any of the synthetic stimulant drugs containing cathinone, a stimulant compound commonly found in khat plants – which grow in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc.). Bath salts are structurally similar to other mainstream stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine and can cause similar effects. They can also produce hallucinogenic effects like ecstasy does.

A bath salts user may:

  • Ingest these drugs orally,
  • Inhale them in a manner similar to snorting cocaine, or
  • Melt the crystals down into a liquid and inject them into the bloodstream (for a fast-acting, concentrated effect).

Brief History of Bath Salt Use in the U.S.

Drug dealers sell bath salts under several street names, including (but not limited to):

  • Drone
  • Meow
  • White Lightning
  • Bliss
  • Super Coke
  • Zoom

The United States poison control centers received 304 calls about bath salts in 2010. In just the first four months of 2011, they received more than 1,700 calls and more than 6,000 by the end of 2011.

This jump indicates the spike in popularity of these drugs between 2010 and 2011. In fact, bath salts were the sixth-most used drug in the U.S in 2011. Most of the calls to poison control centers originated from southern states (Florida, Louisiana, and Kentucky, primarily), but now at least 33 states have been affected.

Several major news stories about the disturbing effects of bath salts abuse may have helped quell the sudden surge of interest in them. Poison control centers in the U.S. saw a noticeable drop in the number of bath salts-related calls in recent years. In 2012, there were 2,691 calls, and then “only” 996 in 2013.

Bath Salts Side Effects and Overdose Symptoms

Bath Salts Side Effects Overdose Symptoms - Fight Addiction NowLike any stimulant, bath salts are profoundly addictive. A person who uses a stimulant will generally feel a rush of positive feelings, including increased energy, higher alertness, improved mood, and euphoria.

However, most stimulants are fast acting, but not long lasting, and the user will experience a severe crash once the effects of a dose start to fade.

Symptoms of bath salts use generally include:

  • Sexual stimulation
  • Feeling of increased focus
  • Hyper-alertness
  • A few hours of increased energy

Depending on how a person ingests bath salts, he or she may experience severe medical complications. For example, inhaling the drug produces a more intense “high,” but it also affects the body more acutely in a shorter time.

Some of the most dangerous side effects of bath salt stimulants use can occur after inhaling or injecting the drug. Side effects typically include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Agitation
  • Fever

However, these side effects may increase dramatically or evolve into worse symptoms such as seizures, cardiac arrest, brain swelling, liver failure, and intense hallucinations.

‘Replacing’ Cocaine or Meth with Bath Salts

Some people mistakenly believe that bath salts are a safer alternative to cocaine and methamphetamine with similar effects. Some drug users choose bath salts because they believe they are essentially the same thing as other, more expensive stimulants such as cocaine and meth. However, this is not the case, and although they may produce similar effects, bath salt stimulants are not safer than any other drug. In many ways, bath salts are far more dangerous than the more recognizable illegal stimulant drugs.

Similarities Between Cocaine and Bath Salts

When it comes to bath salts vs. cocaine, both drugs pose serious risks. As with any illegal drug purchase, there is no way for a person who buys these drugs to know the quality or purity of what they are buying.

Some illegal drugs pick up harmful substances like mold during trafficking, and some dealers may add other substances to their drugs to make them more potent and addictive. Since there are several cathinone compounds used in bath salts production, there is simply no way to tell what exactly a dose contains.

Similarities Between Meth and Bath Salts

The question of bath salts vs. methamphetamine is a similar issue. Meth can produce intense effects very quickly that result in a crash after a few hours. Bath salts also result in a crash and can produce psychological symptoms often observed in individuals struggling with meth addiction.

One major similarity between meth and bath salts is their ability to produce intense hallucinations. There have several documented incidents of people under the influence of bath salt stimulants engaging in extreme violence against others, self-harm and even cannibalism during their delirium.

Understanding Stimulant Abuse

Any type of addiction is destructive, but stimulant abuse often causes the most destruction in the shortest amount of time. A person with a stimulant addiction may have begun their use by looking for a boost to get through a stressful day or to overcome fatigue. As this type of use becomes a habit, the person will start relying on the stimulant more and more until the body starts craving it just for normal functioning.

What started as an occasional habit can easily escalate into full-blown addiction in a very short time.

The destruction stimulants can cause on the human body also happens very quickly. With some addictions, an individual can recover from most of the effects over time. However, stimulant abuse can lead to serious injuries that may entail permanent damage. Bath salts addiction also causes profound psychological damage, which may lead to long-term mental health difficulties.

Learn More About Bath Salts Abuse

Long-term stimulant abuse of any kind can cause serious deteriorating effects on the mind and body. For example, a person who experiences bath salts addiction may suffer organ failure and deep psychological stress under the influence of these dangerous drugs. There is also a very high risk of overdose. Bath salts are powerful synthetic drugs, and users who choose to inhale or inject these drugs are at a very high risk of fatally overdosing.

One of the biggest dangers of designer drugs in America is the perception that they are somehow safer than cocaine, ecstasy or meth. It’s crucial for everyone to know the risks of stimulant abuse and the dangerous effects these drugs can have.

Are You Addicted?

Fight Addiction Now is a community of people with firsthand experience with addiction. Some members have been living sober for years, while others are still early in their path to recovery. Others have seen friends and family battle through addiction and recovery and want to offer support to others in similar circumstances. Their paths all cross in our online forum.

One of the most important elements of bath salts treatment is identifying the problem in the first place. If you think you or someone you know is struggling with bath salts addiction or any other type of drug abuse, try our free quiz to see if seeking treatment is the best next step to take.

See If You’re Actually Addicted

Cocaine Detox: Do I Really Need to Go to Detox for Cocaine?

Cocaine Detox Process Do I Need Detox for Cocaine - Fight Addiction Now

Detox for Cocaine?

Yes, is the short answer. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are not as severe or life threatening as can in the case of alcohol, benzodiazepines and opioids. However, while cocaine detox is typically not life threatening, if a patient has underlying medical issues, it can be fatal. For example, patients may not know they have a heart condition until withdrawal symptoms begin and result in cardiac arrest.

If you are a healthy adult, chances are good that cocaine withdrawal will be safe and non-life threatening. Still, there are other reasons to seek inpatient detox when going through cocaine withdrawal.

Cocaine Withdrawal

Withdrawal from cocaine is awful, physically and mentally. It has been likened to the worst hangover of your life, times 10. For this reason alone, many people choose to detox in a medical setting.

Detox centers can provide patients with medication for anxiety and other miserable side effects of withdrawal. These medications can make the process more tolerable for the patient. Typically, cocaine withdrawal is not dangerous, but for the best chance of recovery, most medical experts recommend inpatient treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Cocaine Detox Process

We’re just getting starting on the complex topic of cocaine detox. Continue learning more about it by reading our responses to several of the most frequently asked questions:

What are the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal?

Cocaine produces an extreme sense of euphoria during use. When a person stops using the drug, there will be a crash. Negative feelings become extremely strong, and cravings for the drug begins.

Most of the withdrawal effects are psychological. Once the body begins to withdraw, the following symptoms will occur:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Difficulty feeling pleasure
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Severe restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • General sad feelings
  • Depression or thoughts of hurting yourself

How bad is cocaine withdrawal?

It will depend on the duration, frequency and amount of cocaine your body is used to. The psychological effects of withdrawal are always more prominent than physical effects during cocaine detox. So, it may only be slightly physically uncomfortable, but extremely difficult mentally.

How long do symptoms of withdrawal last? 

Cocaine stays in your body for about 72 hours. During this time, the drug is dwindling throughout your system and withdrawal symptoms will begin. For patients who were habitual heavy users, the withdrawal period can last from one to three weeks.

If someone has used cocaine heavily for many years, withdrawal symptoms can last weeks or months. Once withdrawal symptoms have ceased, cocaine will still be found in urine for up to 12 weeks.

What are the stages of cocaine withdrawal?

  • Days One Through Three: The body will begin withdrawal. Mood will drop, and remorse or depression begins. During this stage, hunger and restlessness are common. As symptoms begin, many users must fight using the drug to make their symptoms go away.
  • Days Four Through Seven: Psychological symptoms worsen during this period. Cravings for the drug will increase and many patients begin to sleep longer periods of time. Strong withdrawal symptoms during these days include severe anxiety, apathy, paranoia, depression and irritability.
  • Days Eight Through 14: Around day eight, patients begin to feel better mentally, and physically if there were physical symptoms. The general mood can be misleading, as negative psychological symptoms come in waves. One minute, the individual will feel as though he or she can conquer the world. The next minute, he or she may feel as low as ever. Cravings for cocaine will occur randomly.
  • Days 15 Through 21: During week two of withdrawal, symptoms remain steady. Psychologically, patients have mood swings and can be unstable. Physically, patients often still experience strong hunger. Cravings for the drug will still vary.
  • Day 22 And Onward: If may take months for psychological effects to go away completely, but they level off around this time. Patients may still have cravings for cocaine, and sometimes give into temptation.

How dangerous is cocaine withdrawal?

If you do not have any underlying medical conditions, cocaine withdrawal is non-life threatening. Many patients still obtain medical care during this time to receive help with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. A formal detox environment can also help prevent relapse.

Can I withdraw from cocaine at home?

It’s possible, but most professionals and recovering patients recommend finding professional care to help ease psychological symptoms. Especially morose and helpless moods can lead to relapse or failure to withdraw. 

Are there any methods to make cocaine withdrawal easier?

While there are no drugs specific to treating cocaine withdrawal, detox centers can prescribe medications to help treat the psychological effects of the process. Anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants may be administered to help control mood swings.

What are the signs of cocaine overdose?

Cocaine overdoses are a medical emergency and can easily be fatal. If you suspect someone has overdosed on cocaine, do not take any risks, and call 911 immediately.

Symptoms of cocaine overdose include:

  • Extremely high energy levels (more than typical of the person while on cocaine)
  • Talking incessantly
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Involuntary limb tremors or twitches

Are there any long-term effects of cocaine use?

Cocaine has been called the “heart attack drug,” as heart attack is the No. 1 cause of death in those who abuse cocaine. Cardiac problems can occur immediately after use while the user is high, but also occur after long-term use. The heart is severely damaged over time and can suffer cardiac arrest down the road. If you have a known heart condition, stop using cocaine immediately.

Other symptoms of long-term cocaine use include:

  • Respiratory problems leading to decreased oxygen flow
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Brain shrinkage
  • Neurotransmitter deficiencies
  • Gastrointestinal damage
  • Infectious diseases from poor decision making
  • Chronic nosebleeds
  • Constant headaches

What happens after detox?

Cocaine has a high abuse potential and can result in long-term addiction. Thus, we advise continuing with a reputable substance abuse program after detox.

Inpatient, outpatient and support groups can all help a patient cope with their addiction. Detox is not enough to stop addiction, as you will need long-term support and treatment to be successful and avoid relapse. 

How is cocaine addiction treated?

Cocaine addiction is treated differently for everyone. There is no one-size-fits-all method for treatment. Depending on the patient, the length of addiction and previous relapse, treatment types and lengths will vary. Some patients seek intensive inpatient therapy, while others choose outpatient and group support therapies.

Importance of Professional Cocaine Detox

Choosing to detox from cocaine in a treatment facility can significantly ease the process of withdrawal. Although cocaine withdrawal is typically not physically dangerous, patients need psychological support and treatment during the process. If you or a loved one is suffering from cocaine addiction, consider an inpatient detox program for treatment.

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