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Synthetic Drug Addiction

Symptoms, Consequences and Treatment for Synthetic Drug Addiction

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Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Drug Addiction

Synthetic drugs—also referred to as “club drugs” or “party drugs”—include substances like bath salts and Spice (or K2). Synthetic drug abuse can easily lead to addiction, which affects all aspects of life, including a person’s physical, psychological and social well-being. If you are concerned that you or a loved one is addicted to synthetic drugs, some signs of addiction you should watch for include:

  • Being unable to control synthetic drug usage habits
  • Being extremely secretive about activities or whereabouts
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, school or home
  • Needing more of the synthetic drug to achieve the same effect (developing a tolerance)
  • Continuing to use synthetic drugs despite the fact that it’s causing harm
  • Experiencing consistent riffs in relationships at work, school, and home

Consequences of Synthetic Drug Abuse

Synthetic drugs are especially dangerous because manufacturers don’t disclose the ingredients that were used to make them. These substances and their active ingredients have not been approved for human consumption, and as a result, the people consuming them have no idea what they are putting into their bodies and may suffer dangerous and unpredictable side effects.

There are many different types of synthetic drugs available (a number that continues to increase rapidly) so the symptoms of abuse and addiction may vary and are often difficult to pinpoint.

Short-term and long-term health problems caused by synthetic drug abuse may include:

  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased risk of heart attack

Synthetic drug addiction can also lead to psychological problems, such as:

  • Psychotic behavior
  • Self-harming behavior
  • Homicidal behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks

A variety of social problems may also come as a result of synthetic drug addiction, including:

  • Unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Legal trouble
  • Violence in the home

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Treatment Options for Synthetic Drug Addiction

Treatment for synthetic drugs should be highly individualized, as a person may not always know exactly what substances he or she has been ingesting regularly. While getting help is vital to overcoming a synthetic drug addiction, there are several factors that will affect the type of treatment you or a loved one should seek. These include:

  • Willingness to accept treatment
  • Motivation for seeking treatment
  • Prior treatment and relapse history
  • Financial circumstances

If you or your loved one is ready to receive treatment, a substance abuse treatment specialist or clinical counselor can help you determine the best type of treatment for your needs, which may include one or several of the following options.

Medically Supervised Detox

Detox is the first step to beginning a comprehensive treatment plan for synthetic drug addiction. Medically-supervised detox provides the support of on-site medical staff who can ensure clients remain safe and comfortable during detox. Since withdrawal from synthetic drugs can be unpredictable, medical assistance is ideal for managing uncomfortable symptoms and slowly easing clients down into a state of sobriety. During detox, clients may also begin individual and group counseling to address emotional responses to detox and begin planning for ongoing treatment at a rehab facility.

Residential Inpatient Treatment

Long-term residential treatment at Nova provides at least 90 days of individualized addiction treatment. Each client’s program is led by a multidisciplinary team that works together to provide the most comprehensive care available. Programs consist of 12-step facilitation, blended with a balanced mix of clinical and medical treatment modalities. This results in a well-rounded care plan that addresses all the aspects of an individual’s addiction while meeting their physical, mental and emotional needs.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is a wonderful way to transition out of residential treatment into a supported lifestyle back at home. It’s also ideal for those who may not be able to commit to living in a residential facility for 90 days. Outpatient programs for synthetic drug addiction require that clients meet several times a week at a safe location for group sessions. These group meetings allow members to discuss ongoing issues they are experiencing, gain additional insight and perspectives, and continue working through the principles of the 12-step program as they live them out at home.

Sober Living

After residential treatment ends, some clients may prefer or need to enroll in a sober living program. These programs provide a safe, sober place for people in recovery to practice their new life skills. With a substance-free, structured environment, these community living homes provide peer support and ongoing counseling to help people remain sober and accountable during early recovery. Sober living programs require that residents follow the rules and regulations of their structured community home while they continue to meet other life obligations like school and work.


Aftercare programs are designed for clients who have completed a residential treatment program for synthetic drug addiction. Clients in recovery receive clinical and peer support to help them deal with stressful or emotional life circumstances that may be difficult to handle while practicing sobriety in early recovery. Aftercare programs require that clients meet once a week with peer groups, which provides the essential support and encouragement needed to continue a life of sobriety.

These treatment options listed above can be combined to provide a comprehensive synthetic drug addiction program that closes the recovery circle and breaks the hold of addiction in a person’s life.

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