Spice may sound like a herb you toss into a gourmet meal, but when it refers to the synthetic marijuana copycat, it is anything but harmless. In fact, based on a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 2014 and 2015, Spice related deaths and calls to poison control centers tripled. Widespread use, despite legislative action to curb the sale of this drug in all 50 states, has also triggered an increase in the number of Spice addiction stories.
The common theme running through these stories was always the relative ease in getting Spice. Although changes in the judicial system governing the sale and use of Spice has made it a trifle more difficult for consumers, Spice is still readily available and significantly cheaper than other substances of abuse. Most people who are addicted to this drug today report that they either tried it with others or deferred to it when their marijuana supply was not available and Spice was. Addiction for most first time users typically occur quickly due to the potency of this drug.
In Paige’s drug abuse story, she, like many other people struggling with addictions to designer drugs like Spice, assume that staying away from the people and places that favor drug use would be enough to get her on the road to recovery. “I was wrong” she said. The effects of this drug, according to another Spice user quickly consumed his life and he “fixed” frequently and thought of nothing else in-between.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe Spice as a blend of plant material sprayed with various chemicals designed to induce the psychoactive effects. Depending on the particular chemicals used, researchers say some synthetic cannabis or Spice products bind more strongly than natural marijuana to the cell receptors in the brain which explains the more powerful effects. As such, Spice users can experience a range of disordered responses from elevated moods, altered perception, psychosis, delusions, paranoia, confusion, hallucinations and extreme anxiety.
Addiction to Spice occurs as cravings gradually build tolerance levels and drive the need for more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Many addicts report that use patterns naturally escalate in order to escape the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, headaches, nausea and vomiting when they tried to stop using Spice. Another strong motivator reported by former marijuana users, is the noticeable loss of desire for that substance in favor of Spice.
Once an addiction has formed, substance abuse treatment may be necessary to break the cycle. During Spice addiction treatment, a medically monitored detox process help to alleviate the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that typically perpetuate drug use. Serious cravings and physically debilitating symptoms are significantly reduced to enable the individual to completely eliminate toxin accumulated in the body from chronic consumption of Spice. The services of the drug treatment team also include cognitive behavioral therapy and exploration of the root causes of addiction in order to identify any underlying conditions that may threaten abstinence. They also assist with aftercare plans and relapse prevention education and training to support long term sobriety.
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