Bath Salts Detox Symptoms, Timeline, Medications and Treatment
- Why is Detox Necessary for Recovery?
- Is Detox From Bath Salts Dangerous?
- Medically-Assisted Detox and Withdrawal
- What to Expect During Bath Salts Detox
- Bath Salts Detox Treatment
- Choose the Best Bath Salts Detox Center
Why Bath Salt Detox is Necessary?Because bath salts are difficult to track, detect, and research, their use is quite dangerous.
Detox is an important first step to initiate a program of recovery from bath salt abuse.
Use of synthetic cathinones, also known as bath salts, is emerging in the U.S. at near-epidemic levels.
“Bath salts” defines a very broad category of drugs, each containing a chemical that is similar in structure and function to cathinones (a stimulant-like natural product found in the khat plant), such as 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) or mephedrone.
Bath salts detox describes the process of ridding the body of all traces of bath salts by abruptly stopping bath salt intake. As with other stimulant drugs, bath salt detox is often accompanied by withdrawal symptoms, which though not life threatening, are very uncomfortable and may benefit from inpatient medical treatment.
Why is Detox Necessary for Recovery?
Bath salts have a similar mechanism of action to amphetamines and other stimulants.
Bath salts have a similar mechanism of action to amphetamines and other stimulants. Consequently, psychological and physiological dependence is very likely.
Also similar to amphetamines, successfully traversing a period of detoxification is necessary for recovery from bath salt addiction. The goals of treatment are:
- Relapse prevention.
Detox is the first step along the road to abstinence.
Is Detox From Bath Salts Dangerous?
So in cases where bath salt detox proves dangerous, it is often not due to the active ingredient or synthetic cathinones, but to other adulterants in the drug (either used for stability, color, scent, or other purposes).
Why Detoxing at Home Can Be Harmful
If you visit with your healthcare provider prior to initiating detox at home, he/she may be able to
Your healthcare provider will be able to conduct a medical history and physical examination and determine if it would be safe to detox on an outpatient basis, or whether your specific circumstances require inpatient monitoring.
Medically-Assisted Detox and Withdrawal
While the symptoms of bath salt detox and withdrawal are rarely life threatening, they are quite uncomfortable.
Medications may be prescribed and administered to assist the patient during this process, such as:
- Benzodiazepines for anxiety.
- Antipsychotics for psychosis-type symptoms or hallucinations.
However, because because additional pharmaceutical intervention is not without risks (including cardiac), patients should be closely monitored during administration of these medications.
This is one of the reasons that inpatient treatment is often preferred to outpatient detox for bath salts. Another plus to receiving inpatient care is to preclude any adverse events that may arise from any health issues (substance abuse related or otherwise) that may exist at the time of recovery.
What to Expect During Bath Salts Detox
The symptoms that accompany bath salt detox are similar to those of amphetamines and include:
- Intense cravings.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Concentration problems.
- Varying degrees of psychosis.
It is up to the healthcare providers whether to taper the patient down from higher doses of bath salts or have the patient quit “cold turkey” (abruptly, with no tapering).
The patient can expect to feel “under the weather” so to speak for at least 3 days.
How Long Does Detox Last?
The initial phase of detox-related withdrawal symptoms lasts anywhere from 48 hours to 1 week, with the protracted phase lasting as long as several weeks.
However, as detox continues, the symptoms will decrease in severity once over the initial “crash” phase.
Bath Salts Detox Treatment
A structured program for detox from bath salts can occur in one of two settings:
Regardless of which treatment option you choose, withdrawal symptoms can and should be treated to lessen their severity during the detox process, as well as to potentially minimize the temptation to relapse.
Choose the Best Bath Salts Detox Center
As with any other drug of abuse, the choice of treatment setting depends on several factors, including:
- The length of abuse.
- The severity of dependence.
- Personal preference (e.g. private, luxury, executive, etc.).
- Co-occurring medical and mental health conditions.
- Financial situtation.
Be sure to select a bath salt detox center with caring, helpful staff that is dedicated to making sure you are as comfortable as possible during withdrawals.
Keep in mind that severe dependence, characterized by more severe withdrawal symptoms, may be required to detox under direct medical supervision due to the likelihood of complications.
- Coppola, M. & Mondola, R. (2012). Synthetic cathinones: Chemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology or a new class of designer drugs of abuse marketed as “bath salts” or “plant food”. Toxicology Letters, 211(2), pp. 144-149.
- Jordan, J. T., Harrison, B. E. (2013). Bath Salts Ingestion: Diagnosis and Treatment of Substance-Induced Disorders. The journal for nurse practitioners, 9(7), pp. 403-410.