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Bath Salts (Synthetic Cathinones): ADDICTION, WITHDRAWAL & ALTERNATIVES

What Are Bath Salts (Drugs)?

“Bath salts” is the unofficial “street name” for a group of designer drugs that typically contain synthetic cathinones, which present effects comparable to cocaine and amphetamine. The white crystals often resemble Epsom salts or other legal bathing products, but are chemically unlike actual bath salts.

The packaging of bath salts often state “not for human consumption” in an effort to prevent prohibition of the drugs. Street names for this drug include Bliss, Ivory, Wave, and Vanilla Sky. Bath salts are typically ingested by snorting/sniffing. Bath salts can be smoked, consumed orally, or conjured into a solution that is injected into the veins.

Bath Salts Side Effects

Effects that have been reported to Poison Control include agitation, suicidal thoughts, confusion, combative/violent behavior, increased heart rate, hallucinations/psychosis, chest pain, hypertension, serious injury or death. The onset of the drug is around 15 minutes, and the high can last for 4-6 hours. On October 21, 2011, the DEA exercised its emergency scheduling authority in order to control three of the stimulants used in making bath salts. Because of this order, bath salts are designated as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance.

Physical Side Effects of Bath Salts (Synthetic Cathinones)

  • Euphoria
  • Increased Alertness and Energy
  • Intensified Sensory Experiences
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Increased Heart Rates, Chest Pains, Heart Problems
  • Blurred Vision
  • Drowsiness, Loss of Consciousness
  • Tingling in the Extremities
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Ulcers
  • Loss of Coordination, Confusion
  • Malnutrition

Psychiatric/Mental Health Side Effects of Bath Salts (Synthetic Cathinones)

  • Psychosis
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  • Paranoia and Delusions
  • Hallucinations (Tactile, Visual, and Auditory)
  • Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors (Self Harm, or Behaviors Harmful to Others)

Bath Salts Withdrawal Symptoms?

Because bath salt drugs are made from an ever-changing array of different chemicals, the symptoms of withdrawal can change – depending on the chemical makeup of the batch ingested. However, in general, the withdrawal symptoms from synthetic cathinones (bath salts) mirror the withdrawal symptoms of stimulants. Therefore, bath salts drug withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  • Jittery Reactions
  • Slowed or Impaired Speech
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Insomnia or Hypersomnia (Including Sleep Disturbances and Nightmares)

Bath Salts (Synthetic Cathinones) Addiction Treatment: How Alternative to Meds Provides an Alternative to Addiction

ATMC employs corrective treatments which are directed to address underlying causes that led a person to use bath salts or other substances. Identifying these root issues allows us to work at correcting them, which can make lasting relief and stability a possibility. There are members of our staff who have been through similar substance abuse problems and offer our residents a level of unmatchable compassion. If you or someone you care about is taking bath salts, please call ATMC and get the guidance you are searching for.


This content has been reviewed, and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. John Motl, M.D.

Dr Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona.  He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine.  Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.

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