Spice abuse is quickly spreading across the US and UK alike, but why? Let’s take a more in-depth look into the growing problem of spice addiction.
Spice, or synthetic marijuana, is sadly behind many recent emergency room admissions.
This drug appears to be particularly harmful to young adults.
While the use of other drugs is an issue, spice is particularly challenging. This is because it is still sometimes viewed as a safe alternative.
Are you concerned about a loved one? Continue reading to get an understanding how spice addiction came to be. Then, find out what to do for those who are struggling.
What Is Spice?
Spice (also called K2) is a synthetic marijuana. It is made from chemicals and shredded plants. The chemicals used are similar to THC found in marijuana.
Not all spice is the same. This is because ingredients can vary greatly batch to batch. This also means the effects of spice and spice addiction can vary greatly.
A Brief History Lesson
Spice was originally created to study the effects of THC found in marijuana. It was first found on the market in London around 2004. It came onto the scene in the United States in 2008.
Spice was sold in head shops and gas stations across both countries. It was marketed in some areas as a safe alternative to marijuana and other drugs. Contrasting this messaging, packages contained the warning, “Not for human consumption.”
Regardless of this clear warning, the drug became very popular. It was a hit specifically with young adults and teens.
Due to the increasing number of medical emergencies and bizarre behavior, states and countries began banning the sale of the substance. Unfortunately, this did not stop spice addiction from occurring.
Governments and health agencies continue to raise awareness about spice addition. They also try to combat the crippling effects of using the drug.
Great attention is being paid to vulnerable populations, such as children and homeless people.
What are the Effects? Why do People Want to Use Spice?
People use spice to mimic the effects of marijuana.
This includes feelings of euphoria, altered perception, and relaxation. Other physical signs include hunger and thirst.
Unfortunately, by using spice, people are more likely to experience unwelcome side effects. These can be dangerous — and even deadly.
Possible side effects include increased heart rate, panic attacks, and aggression. Some may even experience hallucinations and paranoia. Both of these can lead to people acting very strangely.
Spice use and spice addiction can also cause vomiting, high blood pressure, and heart problems. And while many seek marijuana to deal with anxiety, spice use can often lead to severe anxiety.
Other behavioral side effects include ignoring responsibilities like a job or school work. A person using spice may also have changes in their personality or start to have relationship issues with their family and friends.
Long term effects are mostly unknown due to the limited research available. Permanent heart and renal damage have both been reported.
Signs of a Spice Addiction to Look Out For
Someone who has a spice problem will continue to use it regardless of negative consequences.
They will also likely strongly crave the drug. This may lead them to take drastic actions to get the drugs. The same goes if they need to get money to buy drugs.
Someone suffering from an addiction will also continue to use greater and greater amounts. This is because as with other drugs, spice users eventually build up a tolerance. As they increase their dosage, their chances of harm also increase.
Additionally, unlike marijuana, spice addiction can lead to withdrawal symptoms. If you notice any of the below symptoms, it is likely due to spice withdrawal and a clear sign of a problematic addition.
Spice withdrawal symptoms can include headaches and excessive sweating. Tremors and extreme drug cravings are also common. Hallucinations and paranoia are also possible during withdrawal.
Finally, extreme mood changes and depression can occur in someone going through spice withdrawal. Withdrawal can also lead to suicidal ideations or suicide attempts.
Therefore, it is important to get anyone going through withdrawal professional help for the detox process.
Finding the Right Treatment
As mentioned, spice addiction can be challenging due to withdrawal. Most severe withdrawal symptoms can occur a week after stopping use. Emotional and psychological symptoms may continue for much longer after that.
This is why a professional can help. Try to find the right facility for you.
Most treatment facilities are inpatient. This means you will need to stay at the facility for the duration of treatment. Treatment will begin with a detox period that is supervised by a nurse or doctor.
Substance abuse counseling will begin after this. The length of this counseling will vary from program to program. It could be one to six months, sometimes even longer.
Unfortunately, time and money are often a concern for patients.
This is especially true if insurance will only cover a limited amount of services. In these cases, people usually choose shorter programs.
Most treatment facilities will have something for you even after leaving the program. This can be check-ins when needed or support groups. A facility may also offer the chance to stop in for counseling when needed.
Getting Ready for Treatment
Once you have found a specific treatment facility, there are are a few things you should do.
By accepting you need help with your drug use, you have already taken a huge and important step. Discuss your treatment with your employer if you have one. They will likely be supportive of your decision. and under the Family Medical Leave Act, you are entitled to leave time.
Please know that under the Family Medical Leave Act, you are entitled to leave time.
Take care of bills and other financial obligations. Pack what you need, and stick to the basics. Pack only what you need. Avoid anything extra that may distract from the counseling process.
There are other great things you may find helpful when preparing to enter treatment.
Don’t Stop at Reading This, Take the Next Step
Have some more questions about spice addiction? Are you or a loved one ready to reach out for help? Contact us and we will help you begin your recovery journey.