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How to treat Spice addiction

The herbal mixture “Spice” (a blend of naturally dried plant material and synthetic sprayed cannabinoids), offered on the market as a marijuana substitute, has manifested variety of side effects, including violent behavior and death. In the following article we review how Spice addiction can be addressed and which facilities offer treatment. If you’re looking for help with Spice addiction, we invite your questions are invited at the end.

Spice addiction treatment: Are you even addicted?

“Spice” was marketed as substance purportedly exerting similar effects to cannabis, but the chemical compounds found in Spice have no medical benefit. Instead, the ingredients found in Spice can be highly abused. In addition to euphoria, Spice abusers report symptoms such as rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion, and hallucinations. Spice can also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart (many cardiologists relate that to heart attack) … not to mention withdrawal symptoms which can occur after regular use. But how can you know if you’re addicted to Spice, or not?

The most common physical and psychological signs of Spice addiction include:

  • acute anxiety or paranoia
  • compulsion (uncontrollable desire) to use Spice
  • continued use of Spice despite negative health or social consequences
  • craving Spice
  • constant coughing
  • feeling of alienation/disassociation from the world
  • feelings of nausea or actual vomiting
  • hallucinations
  • inability to hold a thought for longer than a few seconds
  • irregular heart beat/palpitations
  • loss of concentration
  • loss of control of use
  • panic attacks
  • psychotic episodes
  • repeated (failed) attempts to stop using Spice
  • tremors or seizures

Treating Spice addiction

There are three main stages to treating Spice addiction:

1. Acute withdrawal, or detox, from Spice

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2. Physical stabilization

3. Psychological treatment

How long to withdraw from Spice? Acute withdrawal from Spice can last from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on frequency and intensity of use. Following withdrawal, the addict enters a period of physical stabilization, during which mood disorders and sleep problems may be expected. As with other drug addictions, Spice addiction can be addressed using a combination of psychological and pharmacological treatments. But because synthetic marijuana is relatively new, studies on drug interactions are still undergoing. However it should not be used anything that slows down the central nervous system, such as barbiturates, narcotics, alcohol, and antihistamines.

Finally, psychological and behavioral treatment help a Spice addict address the reasons for Spice use and adapt life skillsskills to avoid drug abuse in the future. Forms of this therapy include but are not limited to cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, group therapy, 12 step facilitation, and/or family therapy. During cognitive behavioral therapy, participants learn how they behave in stressful situations and adopt healthier behaviors. Contingency management is reinforcement therapy that provides positive or wanted outcomes for appropriate positive behaviors and formed habits. Group therapy and family therapy are facilitated by a clinical psychologist and address roles we play in social and family circles. And 12 step facilitation helps transition addicts to regular attendance of 12 step support groups.

Treatment for Spice addiction

Facing the epidemic of Spice addiction, primarily apmong teens and young adults or long-term pot smokers, includes treating possible psychosis and loss of life. Spice has the ability to cause intense cravings, and users must take more and more of it to get high cause chemical dependency. People who’ve taken Spice exhibit often extreme agitation and paranoia. So, what do you do to help a person like that?

The first thing you can do is to plan an intervention. In order to do so, you’ll need to investigate all possibilities of Spice addiction treatment in your area. Then you’ll present your concerns in a controlled environment using a script and process set up by a licensed psychologist. The bottom line is that you are ready to remove financial and emotional support from an addict unless s/he agrees to treatment. Seek the help of professional inverventionists in order to optimize chances for a successful intervention.

If you are ready to get help for yourself, your physician could be the first point of contact for addiction treatment. Not only can physicians help properly address withdrawal, but can consider your physical state and point out the downside effects of Spice abuse. Likewise, general physicians can recommend you to local resources in your area that provide specialized addiction treatment. Similarly, licensed clinical social workers offer private consultations and can help refer you to local programs that support you and your family during addiction treatment.

Second, detox clinics take medical care of patients while they experience withdrawal symptoms. Detox clinics offer 24 hour medical assistance in order to make withdrawal more comfotrable while the drug leaves the system. Spice can cause strong cravings, so medical supervision during this process may be crucial for successful treatment.

Third, Spice addiction treatment centers offer both residential and outpatient programs. These two types of treatment models are often a good starting point for anyone needing help. Addiction treatment centers include principle techniques in the treatment of substance abuse such as counseling, group work, and education on the nature of addiction. Level of supervision and care can vary, as can treatment schedules.

Drug addiction treatment can also include sessions with a clinical psychologist specializing in Spice addiction treatment or a psychiatrist. These professionals know how to interact with patients and can easily work with their unique life experiences. The goal of psychotherapy and psychiatric treatment of addiction is to address reasons why people use Spice, and teach healthy alternatives to drug abuse.

Finally, addiction support groups are non-formal institutions where peer to peer educations and personal experiences are shared in a safe comfort zone. These support groups are recommended for any former Spice abuser, in order to remind him of the consequences of Spice use.

How to treat Spice addiction

We have done our best in offering you a debrief on Spice addiction treatment. But if there is something more you would like to know, please feel free to post your questions or share your comments in the comments section below. We will do our best to provide you with a personal and prompt answer.

References Sources: National Library of Medicine: Withdrawal phenomena and dependence syndrome after the consumption of “Spice Gold”
NIDA: Spice-Synthetic Marijuana
Federal Bureau of Investigation: Synthetic Marijuana

Photo credit: Alejandra Mavroski

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9 Responses to “How to treat Spice addiction
indianbadger
7:05 pm January 8th, 2014

Thank god that this is some kind of Marijuana substitute. Tells you how old I am that I did not know about this till today. I read the headline and freaked out. I am addicted to spices, but that is because I am an Indian vegetarian and I do not like any food that is not spicy. I cannot cook without spices and herbs. I mean the first thing I chop is Ginger/Garlic/Onion before I cook anything! I thought maybe this makes me an addict.

Then I read the article! Thank God. :)

9:41 pm January 15th, 2014

Hi indianbadger. You made me smile today! I think that ginger/garlic/onion addiction is a very compelling habit…and one that’s healthy! Spice addiction is a real problem, though, and many young people may find themselves physically or psychologically compelled to take it. It’s a nasty and unpredictable combination of synthetic drugs that can induce hallucinations that bring people to the ER. But I appreciate the perspective! :)

Keewester
6:27 am January 26th, 2014

I have a 24yo daughter sleeping on my couch she has been addicted to spice for at least 2 years. She swears on everything holy that she’s not on anything but of course I know better. Under normal circumstances I would throw her out. However, she has a beautiful. 11 month old who was most likely born with it in her system. She spent her first two months in pediatric ICU where her parents continued use. I asked (begged) the hospital to get them help. Instead they threatened to take the baby. So the parents cleaned up their act. Now the parents are separated. My daughter and grand daughter living with me. I have found spice packs and were told they were “old”. I found a pipe. I threatened to call child services, that seemed to work. For two days. Today I found a new pipe and two empty packs. I watched her freak out looking for them. But of course she said she misplaced the babies favorite toy. She spent hours cleaning up her area not knowing I found it, photographed it and put it somewhere she can’t find it. I don’t know what to do now. I don’t have the funds to get her in a treatment center. I don’t know where to turn or how to confront her. I can’t let her leave with the baby. The baby deserves better. I want my daughter clean and caring for her baby. She loves that baby so much but I fear her addiction is stronger than her love for the baby. Please help…

12:11 pm January 27th, 2014

Hello Keewester. You’re really in a tight spot. I feel for you.
I’d suggest that you schedule a consult with a social worker. Outline the details of your suspicions and seek guidance on what to do. It may possible that you can take over custody of the baby. But you’ll need to advice about your options first. My prayers and blessings go with you.

Confused
8:25 am March 23rd, 2014

I hear so many bad stories about this, but I haven’t experienced anything remotely close. I’ve been using regularly for I think about 2.5 years now. I have typically bought in bulk. 2 15g bags at once, but usually lasts me at least 2 months if not 3. I heard one person say they smoked 10g in a day. I’m not even sure how that is possible, because I am unemployed and even I couldn’t find the time to do that (not unemployed do to choice or lack of ability to keep a job. I apply regularly for jobs with no luck).

I sometimes use a bowl, taking no more than a hit or 2 at a time, but lately I’ve been using my vaporizer, using only a pinch or 2 at a time. It varies how much I smoke a day. I can usually go long periods without smoking anything. When I spend time applying for jobs, when I’m reading a novel, or when I’m shooting hoops outside are some of the most common activities I do while not smoking at all. Even during march madness, I literally watched basketball for 13 straight hours without smoking or even thinking about it. I can go long hours without even considering it, but usually one of the activities I do smoke during comes up at least once a day. That would be watching a movie/show or playing video games. Sometimes watching basketball as well, since I watch it regularly even when there is no tournament, but even then it is occasionally. Rarely do I ever smoke if I’m not planning on doing something. Like I’ll never smoke right before going to sleep, unless I’m doing one of those activities and then falling asleep immediately after.

I have never experienced any of the withdrawal symptoms or side effects mentioned with other experiences or anything never mentioned. At the most, I have trouble focusing while high and a few minutes afterwards, but otherwise, I feel as sober and normal as can be. I have always had trouble forming vocabulary even when I know in my mind exactly what I’m talking about, just finding the right word for it. This problem I have had long before I even knew this stuff existed. My computational skills seems to be unaffected for as much as I deprived them by finishing a college major that required very little math. I will sometimes practice the GRE and I always do well in the math practice tests (and of course poorly in the vocab sections). Basic performance in everyday life skills has not seem to have been affected when I’m not using, to the best of my knowledge.

I spent time in college doing research, so I know the many biases in trying to be objective on observing yourself. I can’t be 100% sure I’m not trying to rationalise something that is wrong with me, but I do know that no one has ever told me they thought I was “off” that day or that I looked sickly. If they have, they’re simply not telling me, but absence of such information can’t be considered evidence of such. That is how I ended up here. Or at least why I decided to post. I honestly stumbled upon this while searching for reviews on different products. I think one of the products was mentioned in one of the comments. But I decided that it couldn’t hurt to at least see what others have to say, since my experience seems to be an anomaly compared to others. I’m curious by nature.

I’m thinking of just going without it for a week or 2 completely, just to see if there is a very intense desire or overwhelming compulsion to continue using. Definitely could not hurt, unless of course I do have a problem that I’m blind to. The problem is boredom, because even though I still regularly do as much as an unemployed person can do to try to get out of the situation, I still have way too much time on my hands. I have received word that I might be getting a substituting job sometime this week, so perhaps it’ll be the perfect opportunity. Having things to do seems to stop me from smoking almost all of the time. In addition to that, any other advice on determining if using has gone from casual to addicting is very welcome. Just don’t phrase things in terms of taking risks, because I’m a challenge seeker. Risk never thwarts me from doing things that don’t even have to do with using drugs.

12:40 pm March 24th, 2014

Hi Confused. Right. The real challenge of stopping any behavior or chemical habit is to STAY STOPPED. So while 2 weeks is a good start, what about 2 months? Or 2 years? you know you’re addicted when you can’t stay stopped.

ColonelDick
7:33 am May 13th, 2014

I am posting under the alias of ColonelDick, i started smoking pot when i was 13 years old and have been smoking spice for the last 6 years (now 27). This drug has taken everything from me, i was the owner-operator of a multi-million dollar company that took me years to build.. Now that company is gone and being ripped apart by creditors. I sleep 8 hours per week, i eat maybe once every 3 days if i’m lucky because my stomach is so messed up ill puke up anything i put into it. I gave myself emphysema, heart disease and chronic high blood pressure. My doctor says if i can’t start becoming normal again (this is 4 months after stopping now), i will die before i am 30 years old. If anyone reads this.. please learn from me. I laughed at people like me when i first started and wondered how people ever put themselves into these positions.. Please dont touch this stuff. please. I will never have kids, i will never get married, i die without a penny to my name because of this drug. Do you really want to end up like me? PLEASE kids don’t touch this stuff, i beg you.

dumass
11:00 am October 13th, 2014

im 36 years old. have smoked daily for over one year. usually bout 6 gs of strongest homeade u can get. anemia, highblood pressure, no sleep, and no appetite. sickly pale, and loss of vision. and constantly laying on couch. that was my daily norm. not to mention loss off appetite. loss of family and good friends. and a beautiful, talented, lovley 14 year old that wants nothing to do with me. spice took everything quick. i no some people say they can control it. dont even try it. not worth it. i can barely breath, and have lost 40 lbs in the last year. checked into stress center 13 days ago. they released me after three days. it is only through the grace of god i have stayed clean since. and support of good friends and family. cravings awful first week and a half. getting better tho. keeping myself busy, and starting new good job tomarrow! night sweets still from head to toe. and vivid nightmares. cant concentrate to well either. at least im able to post tho. lol. been very mood swingy. and cant sleep more than a couple hours still. building new relationships with family and old good friends is helping. and just talking to people is helping tremendously. this is first post on net i have ever wrote. thats show s how important it is for me to get the word out. this stuff is DANGEROUS! seriously! please dont start. i wouldnt wish this on my worst enemy. today i feel good. and hopefully can reverse effects with time, excercise, and work. also taking vitamins and trying to eat healthy. in the past i have abused every drug in the book. but it took spice to finally break me. if i meet u and u using spice. i will kick your butt!! for your own sake. please guys and girls. stay away from it. its poison. and u dont want to learn that the way i have.

ANOYMOUS
3:27 pm September 2nd, 2015

HOW DO U COPE WITH A MEMEBER OF YOURS IN JAIL DOING GOING INSANE WHAT DO I DO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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