It is very hard to truly describe the category of synthetic drugs. This is because the number of drugs that could fall under that category is growing at an alarming rate and it is almost impossible to write a complete list down of all the drugs. Because of this, the signs and symptoms associated with synthetic drug addiction are also very wide ranging.
What Are Synthetic Drugs?
Synthetic drugs are created in laboratories, where certain chemical reactions have been observed. Their chemical structure can be exactly the same as other, more conventional drugs such as opium or cocaine, but they have stronger effects and fewer negative side effects. This is what makes them so popular. Unfortunately, very little is known about the long term effects of synthetic drugs, but more research is being done into them as they are becoming more widespread.
At present, two types of synthetic drugs are particularly popular, being:
- K2 or Spice, which is a type of synthetic marijuana
- Bath salts, also known as PABS or research chemicals.
Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Drug Addiction
It is very difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms of a synthetic drug addiction simply because the chemicals are created in such a way that they tend to not show any lasting effects. Additionally, the packing is very deceptive. Rather than finding suspicious looking wrappers and balloons, you are more likely to find official looking sachets of potpourri, fish food or pant food. It is only when you know what you are looking for that you will be able to tell whether or not a loved one is abusing synthetic drugs.
Some of the sign and symptoms to look out for, however, include:
- Suicidal or homicidal behavior
- Chest pain
In recent reports, there have also been a number of deaths associated with the use of synthetic drugs. This includes heart attacks and death due to overheating. Furthermore, some have exhibited self-destructive behavior, such as bashing the head against a wall.
The reality is, however, that you are likely to have to catch someone in the act of taking the drugs in order to see the symptoms. However, they can last for several hours and some could be present for a number of days. Furthermore, you can look for signs such as shirking normal responsibilities, withdrawing from social life and problems at work or at school.
It isn’t known exactly how many people use and abuse synthetic drugs at present. What is known, however, is that incidents are on the rise and not just in this country but also in Europe, Canada, Australia and Israel. In most countries, these substances are now banned. The first reports of the substances being used in this country, according to the DEA, occurred in 2007. Since then, reports have increased on an almost daily basis and poison control centers are now regularly dealing with emergencies relating to synthetic drugs.
There is now a federal ban in place on bath salts, and most states already had several partial bans in place before this. This was as a direct result of an event in Marquette County, Michigan. At this time, some 35 patients were admitted to hospital after they consumed bath salts that are now known to have contained MDPV. The statistics one these patients are staggering:
- 17 required hospital treatment.
- 1 died.
- The median age was 28.
- 54% were male.
- 69% had a drug abuse history.
- 46% had a mental illness history.
- 17% reported that they had suicidal thoughts following consumption of the synthetics.
As the issue with synthetic drugs is still in its infancy, treatment is still quite experimental. However, more and more drug and alcohol rehab centers, like our Creative Care facility, are now focusing more strongly on these issues. It has been found that talking therapies (individual, group and family) are the most effective therapies. At present, none of the synthetic drugs has been associated with withdrawal symptoms, which means there is generally no need for a period of detoxification, although the patient does have to demonstrate they have been free from the substances for a certain period of time. Hence, you or your loved one will be able to go straight into rehab care.
At Creative Care, we only use evidence-based practices. Because there is not much known about synthetic drug abuse treatment, we believe it to be vital that we work together with the research done by others in order to deliver the best possible care. Evidence-based practice includes looking into professional research as well as working with true clinical experts. Our goals is to make sure the best possible outcomes for you can be achieved, allowing you to return to the community as a productive member of society.
We ensure that are given all the necessary tools to regain your physical and mental health. If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, either one that lead to or that was caused by, synthetic drug abuse, we will treat you as someone with a dual diagnosis, meaning both issues will be addressed. At the end of your treatment, you should once again be able to take full control of your life.
If you suspect you or a loved one has a problem with synthetic drug abuse, it is very important that you seek help straight away. At Creative Care, it is our mission to remain at the forefront of developments in the world of drugs and drug abuse, so we always know which synthetic products are currently circulating the market. To date, addiction to synthetic drugs has been purely psychological and we would be more than happy to help you deal with these problems. We also have a strong focus on dual diagnosis, as many people who abuse drugs also suffer with a mental health issue. Please contact our team at Creative Care today to see how we can help you.