Learn about spice, symptoms of addiction, and available treatment options.
Due to the legal consequences associated with drug possession and distribution, there exists a current trend of creating new drugs by individuals attempting to circumvent legal standards as well as prosecution. Usually this means creating synthetic drugs in a laboratory. These drugs mimic the properties of illegal substances, but are chemically different and therefore not technically “illegal”. One of the most common synthetic drugs in the United States right now is “spice”. Spice addiction treatment is new to the program at Futures, allowing individuals who struggle with this dangerous chemical substitute to overcome their addiction.
Spice, also known as “K2”, is a drug that is designed to mimic marijuana. Spice is currently considered a Schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), but the designers are frequently changing the ingredients to avoid a Schedule 1 classification and keep the drug “legal”. The constant changing ingredients are part of what make this drug especially dangerous. Like marijuana, spice is chemically a cannabinoid, but unlike marijuana, it is designed in laboratories. There are a large range of variations of the drug, because the production varies from lab to lab, but the effects are all very similar.
Symptoms of Spice Addiction
Just because the current blend of spice isn’t illegal doesn’t mean it is safe. Spice addiction is a growing problem, especially in major cities, and it has some harmful and scary symptoms. The following symptoms have been linked to use of and addiction to the synthetic cannabinoid spice:
- Panic attacks
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Memory loss
Risks of Spice Addiction
Spice addiction is both a physical and a psychological affliction, and carries both physical and psychological risks. Especially at higher doses, spice can cause some severe physical reactions, including seizures, high blood pressure, and nausea. In addition to the physical reactions, prolonged use can also affect the brain and lead to hallucinations, violence, aggression, and paranoia.
Part of the reason that spice and chemicals like it are so dangerous is that they react more fully with the body than similar substances. For example, synthetic cannabinoids are designed to saturate all the same receptors in the brain that natural cannabinoids like marijuana only partially stimulate.
In chemical terms, synthetic cannabinoids are “full agonists”, while THC (the chemical compound found in marijuana) is a “partial agonist”.This means that a certain dosage of spice is always stronger than that same dose of marijuana, but it also means that the same dosage of spice becomes stronger every time it is consumed. Unfortunately, using spice actually becomes more dangerous over time because of how completely the receptors in the brain are stimulated.
Because spice use becomes so dangerous as it develops, it is important to treat an addiction as early as possible.
Spice Addiction Treatment & Detox
The earlier spice addiction treatment takes place, the better: the risk of every sort of physical and psychological reaction increases with use, so early treatment is imperative.
The withdrawal process for spice addiction treatment is intense, but thankfully not very long. Here is what someone going through spice addiction treatment can expect:
There are two main types of treatment available to people searching for spice addiction treatment:
- Residential Inpatient Treatment: Individuals addicted to Spice will find inpatient treatment most helpful because it allows them to avoid all possible negative influences and outside triggers. Clients will first undergo a medically supervised detox, followed by counseling, therapy, and continued supervision as they travel the road to recovery. Inpatient treatment, also known as residential treatment, takes place at a facility where the client can really focus on rehabilitation with professional, medical support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This type of treatment is different from hospitalization and is ideal for those who have a severe addiction, looking to recover in a safe and comfortable environment.
- Outpatient Treatment: Outpatient treatment is for those who have completed residential treatment. Individuals in outpatient treatment regularly meet with a therapist who assesses his/her recovery progress. Outpatient programs provide individuals with the support, resources and accountability they need to overcome meth addiction. Outpatient treatment often includes a variety of services, such as group therapy, support groups, individual psychotherapy and relapse prevention therapy.
Finding the Right Treatment
If an individual is also struggling with a co-occurring disorder, it is imperative to find a program that addresses both spice addiction as well as mental health concerns. A mental illness, whether treated or untreated, can exacerbate the symptoms and effects of any substance use disorder on the individual, and it is important to treat both disorders simultaneously for a successful recovery. The mental illness may make it even more difficult for an individual to recognize their need for treatment and this is where encouragement and support from loved ones to take the necessary steps for treatment can make such an impact.
If you or someone you know is struggling to find the proper spice addiction treatment, it might be time to look for professional help. Choosing the right treatment plan doesn’t need to be difficult. Contact Futures for advice on finding the right treatment and for the answers to any questions you might have.