Updated on February 6, 2024
5 min read

What Does Bath Salts Addiction Look Like? Know the Signs

Key Takeaways

Bath salts are synthetic cathinones and stimulant drugs. They have higher potency than natural cathinones of the khat plant of East Africa and Southern Arabia.

These substances bear structural similarities to natural cathinones but are chemically stronger. As 'New Psychoactive Substances,’ the effects of bath salts are akin to MDMA or amphetamines.

Bath salts only have recreational purposes and have no recognized medical application. Their potency and recreational nature make them prone to misuse and abuse, often leading to addiction.

Are Bath Salts Addictive?

Yes, bath salts mimic other drugs of abuse (like cocaine and MDMA) and are highly addictive. A survey of 1,500 people who use bath salts found that over 50% of users consider it addictive.1

Using bath salts can trigger intense cravings and lead to drug binges, making cessation challenging. Regular use increases tolerance, necessitating larger doses to achieve the same effects. 

Over time, this can lead to physical and psychological dependence as you seek the euphoric feeling the drug provides. Such misuse often escalates into addiction.

Are Bath Salts Illegal?

Yes, bath salts are illegal. In 2011, former president Barack Obama classified it as a Schedule I controlled substance, including substances like mephedrone, methylone, and MDVP. 

This classification means healthcare professionals can't legally prescribe or sell it. Despite this, some can purchase bath salts online or in head shops, convenience stores, and gas stations. Illegal vendors often disguise it as a household cleaning product, such as “glass cleaner.”


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Bath Salts Addiction Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of bath salt addiction include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Difficulty with daily responsibilities
  • Preoccupation with finding bath salts 
  • Ignoring the consequences
  • Taking a higher dose than normal 
  • Using bath salts regularly
  • Poor hygiene
  • Low mood or agitation when unable to take drugs
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Loss of interest in things you usually enjoy
  • Withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use

Bath Salts Overdose Symptoms

Watch out for signs and symptoms of bath salts overdose:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Extreme agitation
  • Violent behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory distress

If you or someone you know experiences these effects, visit the emergency department immediately. Overdosing on bath salts requires close medical monitoring due to a lack of antidote for overdose cases.

Bath Salt Withdrawal Symptoms

Suddenly quitting bath salt use can result in these withdrawal symptoms, which can be uncomfortable and dangerous:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Feeling paranoid

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Bath Salts Addiction Treatment

Treatment for bath salt addiction while still under research, typically involves medication and therapy. Various treatment options are available for substance use disorders like bath salt addiction.

The initial stage of treatment manages the drug’s immediate side effects, including temperature regulation and aggression. Healthcare providers also screen for co-occurring mental health conditions and devise a treatment plan based on medical advice.

 You may also undergo behavioral therapies like:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A talk therapy that identifies and challenges ways of thinking. It also helps you develop new skills and strategies to support recovery.
  • Individual or group therapy: Sessions may occur one-on-one or in a group where you can learn from each other’s experiences.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy: This type of therapy is time-limited and explores the desire and motivation to take drugs.
  • Peer support: Support from friends, family, or therapy groups like 12-step programs can be critical to addiction recovery.

Guidance for Caregivers and Family Members

Here are some ways to provide support and help those struggling with bath salt abuse overcome their addiction:

  • Educate yourself about the drug: Research and learn more about bath salt addiction, its signs, symptoms, and effects on the body. The more knowledge you have, the better you understand your loved one's struggles.
  • Encourage them to seek treatment: Offer your support and encouragement to seek professional help. Let them know you're always by their side, and you can accompany them to appointments or even help them find a treatment facility.
  • Be patient and understanding: Recovery from addiction is a long process, and there will be setbacks along the way. It's essential to be patient and understanding with your loved one as they work towards sobriety.
  • Avoid enabling behaviors: It can be tempting to try and protect your loved one from the consequences of their addiction, but this can actually hinder their recovery. Avoid giving them money or making excuses for their behavior.
  • Take care of yourself: Supporting a loved one through addiction can be emotionally and physically draining. Take care of your well-being, and seek support from others if necessary.

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How Can You Prevent Bath Salt Addiction?

To help prevent bath salt addiction, it's essential to follow these steps:

  • Avoid drug use: The best way to prevent addiction is to avoid using drugs, including bath salt. This also includes limiting exposure to those who consume it.
  • Educate yourself and others: Share information about the dangers of bath salt use, its potential for addiction, and ways to seek help with friends and family members.
  • Seek alternative forms of recreation: If you or someone you know is using the substance as a form of recreation, try to find alternative activities that are enjoyable and don’t involve drug use.
  • Seek help for mental health conditions: Many people turn to drugs as a way to self-medicate underlying mental health conditions. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, seek proper treatment and support. 

Resources for Help and Support

If you or someone you know is struggling with bath salt addiction, there are resources available to help. Consider reaching out to:

  • National Helpline: 1-800-237-TALK (8255)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) treatment locator
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
  • Your primary care provider or a mental health professional: Consult them for personalized guidance and treatment options


Taking bath salts has many risks, but stopping can be even more difficult. Dependence on the substance can lead to tolerance and addiction. 

Those addicted to bath salts require professional help to support their recovery. Multiple types of regulated treatment are available to aid them in their journey. 

If you or someone you know needs intervention, seek help and reach out for treatment today.

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Updated on February 6, 2024
7 sources cited
Updated on February 6, 2024
  1. Prosser et al. “The Toxicology of Bath Salts: A Review of Synthetic Cathinones.” Journal of Medical Toxicology, 2012.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Synthetic Cathinones (“Bath Salts”).” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2023.
  3. Prosser et al. “The Toxicology of Bath Salts: A Review of Synthetic Cathinones.” Journal of Medical Toxicology, 2011.
  4. Johnson et al. “Investigation of “Bath Salts” Use Patterns Within an Online Sample of Users in the United States.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 2014.
  5. Baumann et al. “Psychoactive “bath salts”: not so soothing.” European Journal of Pharmacology, 2013.
  6. Scherbaum et al. “New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) – a Challenge for the Addiction Treatment Services.” Pharmacopsychiatry, 2017.
  7. McClenahan et al. "Cardiovascular effects of 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2019.

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