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Your brain on drugs: What are Bath Salts?

Bath Salts are one of the newest and most highly addictive designer drugs being sold right now. Bath salts contain Mephedrone and MDPV. Mephedrone and MDPV are stimulants that are very similar to methamphetamine or meth and cocaine. Bath salts have tons of different names such as Ivory Wave, White Lightning, Bliss, Hurricane Charlie, Vanilla Sky, Charge, and White Knight.

Bath salts come in a powder form and can be snorted, injected or smoked. They are most commonly used by teens and young adults because they are so easily accessible. Bath salts can be bought on the internet, at local convenience stores, and at the nearest smoke shop better known as a head shop. Bath salts are very discreetly labeled not for human consumption but that has not stopped its abuse from spreading.

Your Brain on Drugs: How do bath salts affect the brain?

Bath salts wreak havoc on the body and the brain which is part of the reason why bath salt manufacturers label their product accordingly – not for human consumption.

Mephedrone is a stimulant and MDPV is both a stimulant and psychoactive drug. The qualifier “psychoactive” means that the drug crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes changes in neurochemical function, resulting in amplifying effects on mood, thought, perception and behavior. Sometimes bath salts can be mixed with other chemicals and cause psychosis and hallucinations. One study done on rats showed that the main ingredient in Bath Salts, Mephredrone, doesn’t deplete large amounts of Serotonin in the brain the way MDMA does.

Bath Salt abuse is relatively new so there have not been extensive studies or research done on the long-term brain effects. However, the addictive nature of the drug most likely comes from its blockage of dopamine reuptake in the brain. Bath Salts send signals to the brain that tell it that the body is in “danger” which can prompt paranoia, panic attacks, mood swings and hyperthermia . When your body goes into hyperthermia you can sweat excessively, overheat, dehydrate, pass out and overt exert your body to dangerous lengths. Bath Salts ‘shock’ your body’s nervous system and too much stress on the body can lead to insomnia or a heart attack.

US Navy – BATH SALTS: It’s not a fad…It’s a NIGHTMARE.

Your Brain on Drugs: Bath Salt Side Effects

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Hypertension
  • Irritability
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Delusions of super-human strength
  • Delusions of  invincibility
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicide
  • Aggressive and violent behavior

Your Brain on Drugs: Bath Salts Addiction and Recovery

Bath Salt addiction is very dangerous because of the recurring psychotic episodes brought on by hallucinations and delusions of super-human strength. There have been some news reports of ER’s have having problems treating individuals who abuse this drug because sometimes standard drug treatment won’t have a lasting effect. The procedures for treating a meth and cocaine overdose don’t work well for bath salts overdose.

The standard treatment for bath salts is to give the patient valium to calm them down but in some cases that doesn’t work effectively.  When the patient comes off their sedation, their behavior goes right back to the uncontrollable state of psychosis they were in when admitted. Bath Salt abusers need more personalize cared, like that offered at drug rehabilitation centers to truly gain recovery.

Bath salt use can possibly result in permanent brain damage. The chemical ingredients found in bath salts are also found in insecticides, chemical treatment plants designed to kill algae and fungus. More research needs to be done to figure out what else is in bath salts that could potentially harm a person.


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