Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic drugs are man-made chemical substances – “designer drugs” that are chemically similar to or that attempt to mimic the effects of other controlled substances. The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that synthetic drugs significantly affect the central nervous system, leading users to engage in erratic, unpredictable and oftentimes violent behavior. Unfortunately, over the course of the past several years, rates of synthetic drug abuse have been dramatically increasing. There are currently two main types of synthetic chemical substances that are the most frequently abused throughout the US: synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as Spice or K2, and synthetic cathinones, more commonly referred to as bath salts.

Spice and Bath Salts – Dangerous New Drug Trends

More about Spice/K2: Spice or K2 is a potent synthetic drug, one that typically consists of dried plant materials that are soaked in or laced with synthetic cannabinoids – man-made drugs that were designed to mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The use of Spice or K2 is most prevalent amongst teenagers and young adults, seeing as the substance can easily be purchased and is relatively inexpensive. In fact, MIDA reported that roughly 60 percent of all emergency room visits that were directly related to Spice involved adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 and 20 years old. Because this specific synthetic drug is still relatively new to the market, there is little known about its long-term effects on the central nervous system and the body and mind as a whole. However, it is known that when taken in any amount, this drug leads to severe physical and psychological symptoms. Psychotic effects take hold almost instantaneously, and can include anxiety and panic attacks, extreme paranoia and auditory and visual hallucinations.

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More about Bath Salts: Bath salts is the common name for a type of synthetic drug derived from synthetic cathinones like butylone or methylone. Essentially, bath salts are synthetic stimulant, modelled after the chemical compounds of drugs like ecstasy or cocaine. However, the effects of this chemical compound are far different than the effects of any other illicit stimulant. Not only do individuals who consume bath salts report a significant number of severe physical symptoms – like chest pains, heart palpitations, dramatically spiked body temperature, increased blood pressure and increased heart rate – but the psychological symptoms are responsible for a growing number of annual emergency room visits. Bath salts are known to produce psychological symptoms like extreme agitation and aggression (which often leads to violent outbursts and attacks), extreme paranoia, hallucinations and delusions.

Synthetic Drug Withdrawal

The US National Library of Medicine published an article titled, “Adverse Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids: Management of Acute Toxicity and Withdrawal.” The study suggests that the use of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones is given more media attention than the associated withdrawal symptoms, which can be equally as devastating as active abuse. The article also suggests that roughly 53 percent of individuals who sought treatment for synthetic drug abuse returned to using because the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal were so harshly uncomfortable. For this reason, it is crucial that any individual who has been suffering at the hands of synthetic drug abuse immediately transfers to inpatient treatment once the medical detox process has come to an end.

The more common symptoms associated with synthetic drug withdrawal include:

  • Extreme fatigue and sleepiness coupled with sleep-related issues like insomnia.
  • Severe psychological symptoms, namely anxiety and depression.
  • Persistent headaches.
  • Extreme paranoia (which is tied into anxiety) and can be coupled with auditory and visual hallucinations.
  • Loss of appetite, which can lead to noticeable weight loss over time.
  • Difficulty concentrating or staying focused on anything for longer than several minutes at a time.
  • Body tremors and uncontrollable shaking.
  • Intense psychological cravings, which often lead to relapse if not effectively treated.

When it comes to treating the symptoms of synthetic drug withdrawal, the most effective methods include a combination of non-narcotic pain relievers, sleep aids and intensive therapeutic intervention. In many cases, men and women who are admitted to our facility after a long stint with synthetic cannabinoids or cathinones need to undergo intensive psychiatric care because of the psychological withdrawal symptoms they are experiencing. At Pine Tree Recovery Center we treat each client comprehensively, focusing on physical, emotional and mental health and well-being.

It is important to note that withdrawal symptoms vary in severity depending on the length and severity of use. Even those who have been abusing synthetic drugs for several months are likely to experience severe, life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

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Why is Medical Detox Necessary?

It is not uncommon for individuals who have been abusing synthetic cannabinoids like Spice or K2 to experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms within 48 to 72 hours of the last dose. Dangerous symptoms typically go hand-in-hand with chronic, long-term use, but they can happen to anyone who avoids seeking immediate medical treatment. These symptoms include:

  • Drastically increased heart rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Extreme chest pain
  • Respiratory depression
  • Other difficulties related to breathing (like hyperventilation)
  • Seizures

The symptoms associated with bath salt withdrawal (synthetic cathinone withdrawal) are not quite as dangerous, but they tend to last for an exceptionally long time – even longer when left untreated. Individuals who abused bath salts for any length of time reported experiencing paranoia and auditory/visual hallucinations for up to a full month after the final dose. At Pine Tree Recovery Center we ensure a safe and short-lived withdrawal experience. Our main priority is keeping each and every one of our clients as comfortable as possible, regardless of what substances they were abusing. We also believe in providing a comprehensive detox experience, meaning we effectively tackle all underlying causes of substance abuse and dependency as well. Many men and women who turn to synthetic drugs do so in an attempt to self-medicate underlying mental health issues. Unfortunately, these substances only work to exacerbate and worsen these issues. We have licensed and highly experienced psychiatrists and psychologists on staff to help identify and treat these issues before they worsen any further.

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Pine Tree Recovery Center and Synthetic Drug Detox

At Pine Tree Recovery Center we offer a medical detox experience that is truly unlike any other. The level of quality clinical care we provide cannot be found in any traditional hospital setting or in any state-run facility. We understand how psychologically destructive synthetic drug withdrawal can be, and our team of medical professionals and licensed therapists and psychiatrists has worked together to provide a comprehensive, individualized and effective detox experience. Men and women who have been suffering at the hands of synthetic drug abuse will undergo a multi-phased assessment upon program admission. Our clinical team will closely examine physical health, psychosocial health, current medical standing and psychological health, ultimately developing a unique and personalized treatment plan – typically one that includes ongoing psychiatric assessments whenever synthetic drug abuse is deemed a primary cause of treatment admission. Our main goal at Pine Tree Recovery Center is to offer each and every client the opportunity to undergo safe and pain-free withdrawal in our private, homestyle retreat, not only working towards physical stabilization but preparing them for the remainder of their addiction treatment experience.

To learn more about synthetic drug withdrawal and our unique medical detox program, give us a call today 24/7 at (888) 693-1751 or submit this form online click here. Our Treatment Advisors are standing by to answer any questions you may have.