Bath salts are a newly grouped category of designer drugs. The term derives from cases where the new drugs were disguised as bath salts. The bath salts, often white powders, crystals, or beads, often look very similar to Epsom salts, yet are different chemically. They are usually available in a variety of scents and flavors. The main difference between bath salts and Epsom salts is that bath salts are applied to the body after a bath while Epsom salts are ingested orally.
Bathers and users alike have reported adverse effects from bath salts abuse. The most common and immediate effect is dizziness. The individual often feels like they are intoxicated, lightheaded, or faint. Other symptoms can include confusion, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, depression, decreased bowel or urinary function, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, flushing, sweating, difficulty breathing, nervousness, tingling in hands and feet, and numbness or tingling in the toes and fingers. These symptoms are serious and should be promptly investigated.
Severe symptoms such as hallucinations, confusion, and panic attacks may occur, especially after the intake of bath salts. Symptoms of these problems include: disturbances in thought patterns, severe anxiety, and delusions. Another symptom is what is called “acid rain”. This is when an individual is dehydrated by excessive water consumption from bath salt. This can lead to the onset of heat stroke or even hyponatremia, a condition where the body stops maintaining a normal internal temperature.
The salts are considered to be relatively harmless, although it is extremely rare for someone to die from an overdose. However, serious health conditions can arise from their overuse. In the United States, bath salts have been found in a number of cases that required emergency treatment. Among those involved in extreme sports, the problem of bath salts was widely known and is commonly used by athletes.
The psychomotor and neuroendocrine systems are the areas of the brain that control muscle movement, and the levels of dopamine are primarily affected by the intensity of the exercise. When the body is exercising, the body releases more serotonin, a substance that plays an important role in regulating moods and stimulating the appetite. As previously mentioned, bath salts affect the levels of dopamine in the brain, and this affects an individual’s ability to maintain a regular heart beat, regulate moods, and respond to stimuli. When bath salts affect the levels of dopamine, it can lead an individual to experience hallucinations and delusions. These delusions can be dangerous, as they can lead to terrible behaviors, such as thoughts of suicide and violence.
There are many other common symptoms associated with these types of recreational and medical substances. Although it is difficult to draw any concrete conclusions based on limited research, there has been a connection between abuse of bath salts and auditory hallucinations, two symptoms of psychosis. Psychotic episodes often involve hallucinations, which can be an indicator of the extent of substance abuse. Other signs of psychosis can include vision problems, hearing voices in the head, and extreme euphoria.
Because bath salts use can be so addictive, individuals who abuse these substances can develop physical addictions. Once the chemicals build up in the brain, they become more sensitive to stress, making it harder for the individual to avoid using them. When the person requires bath salts to perform certain tasks or activities, the chemicals can interfere with their perception of time and reality. Because of these side effects and the addictive nature of bath salts, many individuals resort to self-medication with substances like alcohol or cocaine.
Individuals who use bath salt abuse may also experience emotional problems. Some of the common symptoms of bath salt abuse include depression, anxiety, guilt, paranoia, agitation, mood swings, panic attacks, insomnia, and impulsivity. Because bath salts have stimulant properties, they can cause people to experience negative mood changes and feelings. In some cases, people suffering from emotional problems have used synthetic cathinones to try to self-medicate to alleviate these feelings.