Some drugs are naturally occurring, like alcohol, marijuana and opiates that are derived directly from opium (like heroin). Other drugs are synthetic, meaning that they were produced in a laboratory from a combination of chemicals. Many synthetic drugs are produced for valid medical reasons – the vast majority of prescription drugs are synthetic. However, there are also a lot of illicit synthetic drugs that are manufactured illegally. In many cases, these illegally produced drugs are intended to mimic the effects of naturally occurring drugs. For example “Spice” or “K2” is the synthetic version of marijuana. While synthetic drugs are extremely dangerous and do serious harm to physical health, it can be difficult to regulate them, because they are frequently produced in small-scale home laboratories. Despite the danger involved in taking synthetic drugs, users are drawn to their cost-effectiveness and availability. Most synthetic drugs are highly addictive, and those who have been suffering at the hands of a synthetic drug addiction will benefit immensely from attending an inpatient drug detox.
What are Synthetic Drugs?
- Synthetic stimulants
The majority of synthetic stimulants contain chemicals that produce effects somewhat similar to the effects of cocaine (which is a naturally occurring drug). Some examples are bath salts, ecstasy or molly. Because synthetic stimulants are so impure and are frequently cut with a variety of harsh chemicals, their effects are typically unknown to the user until after they have been consumed. Drugs like bath salts have been known to cause erratic and violent behavior and taking such drugs (more often than not) will lead to arrest and serious legal issues.
- Synthetic cannabinoids
Synthetic cannabinoids mimic the active ingredient in marijuana – THC. Most synthetic cannabinoids consist of five different chemical compounds which are sprayed directly onto dried leaves and crushed, mimicking the appearance if marijuana. This synthetic substance is often marketed as being a “safe” alternative – nothing could be farther from the truth. Because there are well over 100 known forms of synthetic cannabinoid, the user never really knows what kind of high (and what kind of health-related complications) are in store.
- Synthetic hallucinogenic drugs
There are synthetic versions of LSD and PCP, two psychoactive drugs that lead to hallucinations and other severe psychological consequences. Synthetic LSD is known to lead to severe paranoia and delusions, and can result in erratic behavior and lasting consequences related to mental health. Synthetic PCP provides an intense out-of-body high that leads to feelings of disassociation and can result in permanent psychosis.
Synthetic Drug Addiction
Those who manufacture synthetic drugs have a very specific target. They target youth and young adults who might not have easy access to the “real thing.” In fact, the majority of synthetic drug users are between the ages of 12 and 17. If you have a teenager who has been acting erratically and you suspect that drug abuse is involved you may want to check for the signs and symptoms of synthetic drug abuse. The abuse of synthetic drugs is also common amongst inmates. Synthetic drugs are commonly manufactured within prison walls and there is very little chance that they will show up on drug tests. The lack of visibility when it comes to drug testing also appeals to another demographic. Synthetic drug manufacturers very frequently target recovering addicts. Individuals in early recovery might view synthetic versions of their drug of choice as safer alternatives to the real thing. They might convince themselves that ingesting the synthetic version of drugs like cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine isn’t the same as taking the real thing because it won’t actually count as a relapse. The truth is that taking synthetic drugs is definitely a relapse and that many synthetic drugs are even more addictive than their naturally occurring counterparts.
Those who are abusing synthetic drugs will typically exhibit a host of signs and symptoms including (but not limited to):
- Fleeting feelings of euphoria
- Aggression and irritability
- An inability to form complete sentences
- Profuse sweating
- Severe anxiety
- Suicidal tendencies
- Extreme risk-taking behavior
- Aggression and violent tendencies
- Chest pain, heart palpitations and heart attack
Synthetic drugs are more dangerous than any other variety of drug on the market, predominantly because of their ability to cause lasting psychological damage in such a short amount of time. If you or someone close to you has been abusing synthetic drugs – or using them at all – professional intervention is likely necessary. At Princeton Detox & Recovery Center, we are dedicated to providing those who are struggling with addiction of all severities with the medical support and therapeutic care they need to get and stay sober. We understand how complex kicking a synthetic drug habit can be, see as this classification of drug varies so immensely and because the signs and symptoms of abuse are inconsistent and unpredictable. We have extensive experience treating the symptoms of synthetic drug withdrawal, and our comprehensive program includes a list of vital services that will ensure a life of fulfilled and meaningful recovery.
Withdrawing from synthetic drugs can be extremely dangerous, which is why those who have been struggling with synthetic drug abuse must attend a medically monitored detox in order to physically and mentally stabilize. Most drugs cause intense physical symptoms and mild psychological symptoms (like insomnia and mild depression) during the detox stage. Synthetic drugs can cause serious psychological symptoms, ranging from suicidal ideation to major depression and panic attacks. At Princeton Detox & Recovery Center we have licensed psychiatrists on-site who work hard to help alleviate the more severe psychological symptoms of synthetic drug detox.
Synthetic Drug Detox Services
At Princeton Detox we offer the following detox services:
- 24-hour care from licensed medical professionals
We have physicians on staff who provide each of our detox residents with ongoing care and support. Their goal is to make the physical symptoms of synthetic drug withdrawal as tolerable as possible using non-narcotic medications.
- Nutrition services
We offer three nutritious, chef-prepared meals every day, as well as healthy snacks and nutritional guidance. We believe that eating well is a big part of comprehensive recovery, and that adequate nutrition helps speed along the detox process.
- Therapeutic services
At Princeton Detox we believe that therapeutic intervention should start from the very moment the recovery journey begins. We offer daily group therapy sessions and regular one-on-one therapy sessions with our licensed therapists.
- Introduction to the 12 step method of addiction recovery
We offer daily 12 step meetings so that our detox residents can get accustomed to the formatting and benefits of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
- Post-treatment planning
Detox is only the very first step. We help each of our residents determine which inpatient treatment option would best suit their personal needs, and we even help develop an aftercare plan to be implemented when inpatient drug rehab comes to an end.
- Ongoing case management
Upon admission, each resident will be assigned a case manager who will provide ongoing services from detox all the way through inpatient treatment.
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If you or someone you love is struggling with a synthetic drug addiction, help is available – and medical detox is a required first step. Give us a call to learn more about our comprehensive drug detox program and to get started on your own personal journey of drug addiction recovery. We look forward to speaking with you soon and answering any questions you may have.