Synthetic Drug Addiction

The category of synthetic drugs is one that is very hard to pin down, due to the speed at which this category is expanding. In the last dozen years, the list of synthetic drugs being abused in the US has grown enormously. So the signs and symptoms of synthetics abuse will have a very wide range. Symptoms of use of this class of drug is enough to create alarm in parents, medical professionals, law enforcement officials and lawmakers.

​New synthetics arrive on the market constantly, so it is not possible to compile a complete list. Chemists who wish to evade arrest can simply shift the formula slightly and come up with something new that might not be listed in the text of laws that ban drugs.

The synthetics class includes drugs like those called Bath Salts and those sold as synthetic marijuana (Spice). Both these types of drug are sold in deceptive packaging, being labeled as plant food, fish food, “soothing bath salts,” incense or potpourri. They have imaginative and fancy names. There are as many as a hundred different chemicals that might be included in either of these formulations. There are also Piperazines, another class of synthetics, and scores that just use a letter-number designation, like 2C-E, MDEA, or 3-FEC.

Synthetic Drug Signs/Symptoms

Although synthetic drugs are changing all the time and can be a difficult thing to pinpoint, Desert Mountain Health has the necessary tool to address any and all issues related to synthetic drug use. The first step being proper assessment from one of our medical professionals accompanied by one of our specialized blood and urine tests that can detect the most recent forms of these drugs.

If you are trying to determine if a person has abused a synthetic, you might be looking for signs and symptoms like these:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal tendencies and attempts
  • Homicidal tendencies
  • Delusions
  • Overstimulation
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Chest pain
  • Heart attack
  • Death
  • Overheating that causes a person to tear off his clothes
  • Other self-destructive behavior like bashing one’s body or head against walls

Less severe symptoms of synthetic drugs can include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Inability to speak
  • Restlessness
  • Euphoria

Symptoms can last for hours or even days. Since these drugs are addictive, one of the signs of synthetics abuse is compulsive use despite the harm that is being experienced.

The difficulty with determining if a particular set of symptoms relates to synthetic drug abuse is that drug tests, like laws, are trailing behind the industry manufacturing these drugs. There is one drug test, for example, that can identify fourteen drugs that might be included in bath salts, but there are eighty others that might make up the formulation. So a person could be tested for all known drugs and test negative but have abused a new chemical that was not included in the list.

Desert Mountain Health’s Synthetic Drug Treatment

Synthetic drugs can be hard to find and can have irreversible effects. The first step is to pinpoint exactly what drugs these clients have been using which is done by our highly trained medical staff. Detox will be the first step to make sure the client is stabilized and can effectively and safely join our treatment. Once this is done we can effectively treat the client. The client will engage in group addiction therapy with our other clients, undergo individual addiction therapy sessions, EMDR (trauma therapy) when needed, end engage in all of our wellness activities. Please our IOP section under services for more details.