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Synthetic and Designer Drugs

Counseling for Synthetic and Designer Drugs

Synthetic and designer drugs are often newly-created versions and adaptations of illicit drugs. Sometimes, they are even new substances, manufactured by individuals in labs, or even in homes. These drugs usually are much stronger than their illicit counterparts. The sheer intensity of the substances can cause more devastating effects on the body. One of the most concerning aspects about synthetic and designer drugs is the common use of highly toxic materials as ingredients when making them.

There are three major categories of synthetic drugs:

  1. Synthetic cannabinoids – mimics marijuana
  2. Synthetic stimulants – mimics cocaine, methamphetamine, “bath salts”
  3. Synthetic hallucinogens – mimics LSD

Synthetic/designer drug makers will often give their creation its own brand name. They often market it under such names as: K2, Spice, Vanilla Sky, White Rush, Scarface, etc. Whatever the name, these products are extremely dangerous and can be life-threatening if ingested…even once. Yes. Just a single use can kill you.

Another challenge related to these substances is that they are ever-changing depending on what the individual manufacturing it decides to put in them. The ingredients that are used can be tweaked and changed however the the person making it decides, which can make potentially even more deadly. To make it even more complicated, with the ever growing number of chemicals being developed…these manufacturers genuinely have no way of knowing exactly what their drugs contain.

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Using Synthetic and Designer Drugs Is Extremely Risky

The risks of using synthetic and designer drugs are huge because you never really know what you are taking. When you these these drugs there is a good chance that your body will be altered and you may not function as your normal self after just doing it one time. It can also target select body functions causing them to decline in function with each continued use. The plain truth is that you may not even survive at all, even after one dose. So you have to ask yourself, “Is using this really going to be worth the risk of possibly losing or ruining my life, or the lives of others?” But with so much misinformation out there and a general ignorance to just how lethal these drugs area – the questions rarely get asked. And far too often, younger people become the deadly recipients; giving in to peer pressure or the misinformation they learn on the internet.

Some symptoms of using synthetic drugs may include:

Hallucinations
Aggression
Paranoia
Suicidal thoughts or impulses
Homicidal tendencies
Increased heart rate
Increased blood pressure
Confusion
Vomiting
Heart attack or stroke
Death
Seizures
Self-destructive/violent behavior
Delusions

What Makes Synthetic Drugs So Dangerous

Since synthetic and designer drug makers often change the properties of the original drug counterpart, these drugs typically will have a new, different effect on the brain. They typically also have a different effect on the behaviors of those who ingest them. These new and different effects on the brain/behavior can make drug rehab and counseling more difficult. Each individual who receives treatment and counseling will need to have a different regimen according to how the substance they’ve chosen to ingest has affected their body. The old days of “one path to recovery” as a motto for addiction treatment is simply no longer valid. Treatment centers and professionals who are worth their salt know they have to adapt care to meet the ever-changing problems that arise from an ever-changing and adaptive list of drugs. If the chemistry is ever-changing, how can the care and treatment be successful if it doesn’t change to meet it?

Why Is Synthetic Drug Addiction So Hard To Treat

Most synthetic drugs will end up causing physical damage, psychiatric damage and/or addiction. Once an individual starts using them they will most likely not be able to stop themselves from going back again and again, despite the terrible consequences. Knowing the risks and what they might lose is not enough to keep most addicted people from using again. When addiction reaches this high of a level, there must be some sort of intervention and rehabilitation. This is necessary if the person is going to have the best opportunity for recovery and the support needed to reclaim their life and restore sobriety. People addicted to synthetics/designer drugs often need a structured, treatment environment, medication intervention and working with addiction professionals in order to get them back on the right path.

What to Expect in Treatment for Synthetic and Designer Drug Addiction

With synthetic and designer drugs, expect counseling and rehabilitation to be intensive, structured and thorough. This is needed in order to detoxify the body, create behavior limits, learn new skills, support knew boundaries, address the guilt and shame and curb cravings/urges for the substances. Being inpatient in a facility tailored specifically to treating these addictions can also be very helpful. However, initially they may have severe withdrawal symptoms and behaviors that will have to be managed with medication and other measures that are deemed necessary at the time to ensure their safety.

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Ultimately, drug addiction is a complex and difficult disease affecting the you and everyone in your life. It is up to you to start making the right decisions; ask for help and find the motivation you need in order to make a better life for yourself and the ones you love. Your road to recovery begins with you and your greatest chance of success lies in part on your willingness to accept the change.

Stop.

Breathe.

You CAN do this.

Call Now (346)-493-6181

What Happens After I Finish Treatment?

After detox and inpatient treatment, continuing to work with a seasoned and experienced counselor who specializes in addiction recovery will only increase your chances of helping you reclaim your life. If your loved one is suffering from addiction, be supportive and let them know you care…because it may make all the difference – and get some help for yourself, now. You cannot save them from themselves, but you can learn how to help and how to heal.

Survival is not enough – life is meant for living.

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Ben Carrettin is a Nationally Board Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). He is the owner of Practice Improvement Resources, LLC; a private business which offers an array of specialized counseling, evidenced-based clinical consultation, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and targeted ESI-based services to individuals and businesses.