What happens to your body when you use synthetic cathinones ("bath salts")?

Short-Term Effects

People who take “bath salts” can experience:

  • increased heart rate
  • euphoria (feeling intense happiness)
  • increased friendliness and sex drive
  • paranoia, agitation, and nervousness
  • hallucinations
  • violent behavior
  • sweating
  • feeling sick to the stomach and vomiting
  • irritability
  • dizziness
  • depression
  • panic attacks
  • reduced control of movements
  • cloudy thinking

There have been thousands of reports of emergency room visits from “bath salt” use. These reports show people who use bath salts have needed help for heart problems (such as racing heart, high blood pressure, and chest pains) and symptoms like paranoia, hallucinations, and panic attacks.

Use of “bath salts” sometimes causes severe intoxication (a person seems very drunk or “out of it”) and dangerous health effects. Some people experience a syndrome known as “excited delirium” after taking bath salts—they become psychotic (losing touch with reality) and violent. They might also have dehydration, breakdown of muscle tissue attached to bones, and kidney failure.

In addition, people who use “bath salts” by injecting them risk getting HIV or hepatitis (a liver disease) if they share needles. Read more about the link between viral infections and drug use.