What Happens When Someone Consumes Bath Salts?
The term bath salts is one of the street names given to the illegal designer drug methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDVP, although medical professionals note that newer designer drugs are calling themselves “bath salts,” but they are made from different chemicals in order to skirt the Drug Enforcement Administration’s regulations. Bath salts are in the family of synthetic cathinones, or designer drugs created in a lab specifically to mimic the effects of cocaine or amphetamines.
This article will discuss what bath salts are, why people use them, and what the dangers of using them are.
The process that normally occurs when a person takes bath salts is detailed below.
People who ingest bath salts typically do so because they can’t afford cocaine, ecstasy, or another powerful stimulant, but they want similar effects. Bath salts are much cheaper, so increasingly, people who misuse drugs are turning to synthetic cathinones. Desired effects include:
- Greater attention to tasks
- Increased performance in activities, especially those with a goal
- Time distortion and perception changes, including colors, sounds, and touch
- Euphoric, happy high
- Increased sexual stimulation
The desired high from bath salts can last 6-8 hours. After the person comes down, however, the withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, which can lead them to take more of the drug, so they do not feel depressed, tired, or grumpy anymore. This can quickly lead into an addictive spiral, which can lead to the negative side effects.
Withdrawal symptoms may occur.
One dose of bath salts can lead to withdrawal symptoms. These include:
- Tremors or physical weakness and shaking
- Insomnia or prolonged difficulty sleeping
Reported withdrawal symptoms, even after the first experience with bath salts, are intense, and often lead the person to take another dose to ease the sensations. This can quickly cause a negative spiral that leads to mental and physical problems that can be dangerous and even fatal.
Taking more bath salts may result in harmful side effects.
Bath salts are extremely addictive, so it is easy for a person to take more and enter a cycle of taking too much in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms or retain the high. This leads to serious problems with the brain and body.
Side effects can include:
- Extreme paranoia
- Suicidal thinking or behavior
- Aggressive or homicidal thinking or behavior
- Panic attacks
- Excited delirium
- Induced psychosis
- High blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Respiratory distress
- Serotonin toxicity
Overdose and hospitalization may occur.
Once a person enters a cycle of taking bath salts repeatedly, they can begin to hallucinate or experience an overdose. This often leads to hospitalization, most often for psychotic, suicidal, or self-harming behavior. A person overdosing on bath salts may lash out or be unable to determine what is reality and what is fantasy, so they will be given sedatives in the hospital, along with fluids to rehydrate them and treatments for other conditions like heart attack or seizure.
Long-term effects may take hold.
If the person who overdoses on bath salts survives the experience, they can be in the hospital under sedation, and receiving treatment for the overdose, for up to two weeks. They may also have long-lasting physical problems, including:
- Permanent mental health problems, including depression, aggressive behavior, or psychosis
- Heart problems
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
The person should get help to overcome bath salts addiction.
It is very important to call 911 to get help if a person is overdosing on bath salts. The sooner they get emergency medical attention, the more likely they are to survive the overdose. Once they are out of the hospital, they should seek help from a medical professional or professional rehabilitation program. Medically monitored detox and comprehensive therapy can help the person overcome the addiction and get healthy.
If you or someone you love are struggling with bath salt misuse or addiction, reach out to our drug rehab in New Jersey right now. Call us at to speak to one of our admissions navigators who can answer all of your questions, including those about paying for rehab and insurance options.
American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.
While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.