Bath salts are a collection of bath designer drugs. The name comes from cases where the drugs were disguised as bath salts for use by other users. The bath salts, powders, or flakes tend to resemble Epsom salts, although they differ chemically. In some instances bath salts have been identified as bath soaps, because they sometimes have similar ingredients. Some bath salts imitate substances found in shampoos such as lavender, chamomile, and clover. Epsom salt has been used for thousands of years to treat various conditions such as cramps, headaches, and athlete’s foot, while bath salts such as Epsom salt and other salts have only had limited prior exposure to the public.
The primary effect of bath salts is the mental effects. Because bath salts increase heart rate and blood pressure quickly, they can be extremely dangerous if ingested by an unaware person. The increased heart rate and blood pressure, and the resulting tightness in the muscles, may cause temporary blindness and decreased vision. People who have ingested bath salts may also experience vomiting, severe confusion, and increased heart rate.
Psychological addiction is the most common form of bath salt addiction. Other symptoms include irritability, anxiety, depression, and restlessness. Over time, the user will experiencedrawal symptoms including anxiety, restlessness, and depression. These symptoms are considered mild and will not typically prove to be harmful unless they are combined with other symptoms.
Psychologists are not completely sure how bath salts work but have guessed that they act on the same areas of the brain that opiates drugs work on. Other possible drugs known to act on the same areas of the brain as bath salts include alcohol, cocaine, and amphetamines. Because bath salts do not produce the same physical dependency as other drugs, it is difficult to say if they actually addictive. Some people may decide that they are too much of a “want” because they cannot seem to stop using them.
The reason for this seeming similarity to other drugs is that bath salts stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers. When the brain releases chemicals such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, it causes pleasure and relaxation. Dopamine is thought to be the main culprit in the “high” that bath salts create. As these chemicals travel through the brain, they stimulate particular nerve cells. These cells fire in an unusual pattern, which some experts believe can be linked to the release of sexual hormones.
In addition to the above-mentioned substances, bath salts contain a substance called propylhexane, also known as hexahydrocuric acid (THC). This chemical is believed to work against dopamine and norepinephrine. At least one study claims that there is a relationship between taking bath salts and the increase of certain types of diabetes in laboratory animals. While this study has not been widely publicized, it has been discussed at length by prominent health authorities, including the American Diabetes Association. One of the possible reasons for this is that the consumption of bath salts can cause the pancreas to release excessive amounts of insulin into the bloodstream.
Because of the link to diabetes and addiction, experts have placed the blame on bath salt addiction on the users themselves. Many who use bath salts are unable to stop their use of the product. They begin to think that the constant use of the product is what is causing their illnesses, and that they need the rush that bath salts provide to feel normal. Some even believe that certain bath salts cause depression, which could be a root cause of addiction. If you are addicted to bath salts, it is important that you seek help to get off of the addiction.
Another synthetic cathinones that may have a relationship with bath salts is methylone. Methylone is often found in bath salts under the name Styrian Gold. While bath salts containing ethylene have not been linked to addiction, users of bath salts that contain ethylene have become so highly inebriated that emergency services were called. It is believed that the high concentration of methylone in bath salts leads to an addiction because it is similar to cocaine. As with bath salts containing ephedrine, there may be serious health consequences if one is addicted to synthetic cathinones.