December 5th, 2023
Addiction to legal highs can be extremely dangerous. It’s easy to be lured into a false sense of security by the name alone; just because they’re called “legal” doesn’t mean they are safe. On the contrary, legal high abuse results in harmful health consequences ranging from psychosis to heart failure. Sadly, many people become addicted to legal highs, which makes it hard for them to stop, despite the health concerns. Thankfully, we can break free from addiction by undergoing a legal high detox and seeking rehab treatment for legal highs. Educating yourself on the ramifications of high legal abuse is vital so you can break free from any dependency on them. Here, we explain the signs to watch out for and how best to recover.
What are legal highs
“Legal highs’ are synthetically made drugs made to mimic the effects of illegal substances. As a result, legal highs produce similar mental and psychological effects as other illegal drug addictions such as cocaine addiction, ecstasy addiction, and marijuana addiction; by producing a short-lived euphoria or a sense of detachment from reality. However, since legal high substances are made synthetically, the ingredients are ever-changing, thus making each individual response alarmingly unpredictable. Therefore, you must reach out for support if you think you are slipping into a legal high addiction.
Which are the most common legal highs?
- Benzo Fury – A stimulant produced from benzofuran composites
- Spice – A synthetic cannabinoid made to mimic marijuana
- Mephedrone – A potent stimulant
- Etizolam – A sedative
- Clockwork Orange – Another synthetic cannabinoid
- Methoxetamine – A hallucinogenic drug
Why do people become addicted to legal highs?
Legal high consumption is highly addictive, and in many cases, people suffer uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms whenever they attempt to quit. This gives way to a physical dependence on synthetic drugs. In addition, some people may feel like they can’t feel “good” without their “high”, so they may develop a compulsion to use it more frequently or increase the doses, thus creating a psychological dependency on it. Addiction to legal highs brings about numerous damaging physical and mental health consequences. Moreover, overdose is a highly worrying problem because emergency service doctors don’t know precisely what is in each batch of the ever-changing drug- all they can do is guess that the treatment they administer will save a life. Therefore, addiction to legal highs is possible and comes with highly dangerous consequences.
Some critical legal high addiction symptoms
Take a look at the following statements, and if any resonate with you and your experience using legal highs, it may indicate you have a high legal addiction.
- Since using legal highs, I cannot concentrate on day-to-day tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, running errands, paying bills, etc.
- I use legal highs to control my emotions; either to lift myself or to block out my emotions
- I have experienced problems with my memory since taking legal highs
- I have neglected my hobbies and passions since using legal highs
- I have turned my back on friendships and relationships since using legal highs
- I only associate with people who use legal highs
- My performance at work or school has suffered since using legal highs
- I try to conceal my high legal use from people close to me
- I have felt irritable if I haven’t had my fix of legal high
- I have experienced moments of distorted reality, where I sometimes feel detached from the world
- I have experienced panic attacks more frequently since I started using legal highs
- I have experienced anxiety after using legal highs
- I experience sudden feelings of euphoria after using legal highs
- I have had severe mood swings since using legal highs
- I have attempted to reduce or quit using legal high substances, but I find it too difficult to stop
If legal highs are dangerous, why are they called “legal”?
Legal highs are technically considered legal to sell as long as it’s under a misleading pretext, e.g., manufacturers sell legal highs in disguised packaging that warns “not for human consumption”. Typically, the packaging tends to be colourful and shiny in appearance, that may resemble sweet packets. However, it’s important not to be fooled by the marketing; although the packaging looks innocuous, the substances inside are extremely dangerous. This type of business has blurred legal implications; legal high substances are often bought on websites under the façade of bath salts or plant food. Therefore, if someone were to become very sick (which sadly can happen), the manufacturers point out that their packaging caveats that the substance came with a warning message.
What causes legal high addiction?
People usually seek out pleasure from legal highs to experience a particular feeling, whether it be to relax (tranquilising effect), experience a distorted sense of reality (psychedelic) or feel more focused (stimulant effect). Often people will try such substances without becoming dependent on them. However, an addiction to legal highs usually starts when people use it to regulate their emotions and energy levels. As with any addiction, people may have underlying reasons that propel them into addictive tendencies. For example, synthetic tranquilisers and hallucinogens may distract people from traumatic or stressful life events such as grief, breakups, lack of social skills, loneliness, unemployment, etc. Alternatively, people may be addicted to synthetic stimulants to cope with stress and pressure from work, sport, or school life.
Many legal highs are bought and sold on the internet, and they are often cheap, making them accessible to a wide range of people, thereby tempting them to continue buying even if they wish to stop.
The health consequences of legal high addiction
The symptoms of legal high addiction can vary depending on the type of substance you are addicted to. As with any substance abuse, adverse health consequences will inevitably occur, and such outcomes differ from person to person. However, the severity of the health problems depends on how long a person has been abusing legal high substances.
The physical ramifications of legal high addiction
- Sleep disturbance
- Heart palpitations
- Respiratory problems
- A breakdown of the immune system
Since there is no definitive way of knowing the exact chemicals used to make each batch of legal high substances, it’s disturbingly possible that people can experience poisoning or a bad reaction to a particular legal high drug. In some extreme cases, poisoning has been linked to irreversible and severe health problems such as liver damage, brain injury, heart attack, lung damage, and death.
The mental and emotional consequences of legal high addiction
Abusing legal highs doesn’t just impact our physical health. It can also severely damage our mental and emotional well-being. Some of the unfortunate consequences of legal high addiction are:
- Relationship breakdown
- Unemployment and financial difficulty
- Mental health disorders (depression, anxiety)
- Potential legal problems (getting arrested)
How to end the harmful cycle of legal high addiction
Legal high addiction affects your mind and body instantaneously. Therefore, it is essential to address both at once; you will cleanse your body for a fresh start through a supervised detox, and therapy treatments for addiction will heal your mind from the attachment to legal highs. Therapy will help you identify and address your emotions and experiences that may have contributed to your addiction. In addition, we know from experience that people have a substantially higher recovery rate when a person addresses both their physical and mental state in addiction recovery.
Together, we can break free from legal high addiction
If you want more information about legal highs or are unsure you or someone you love has an addiction, please reach out to us today. One of our helpful team will go through any questions or concerns you have, and they will be able to provide you with sound advice and guide you towards the next step.
Frequently asked questions
What are other names of legal highs?
There are many street names used to refer to legal high substances. Some of the more common ones are Bubble, chill pills, Ivory wave, Clockwork Orange, Spice, Kronic, Spice Gold, Spice Silver, Spice Diamond, K2, Bliss, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and Mr Smiley.
Are legal highs illegal in the UK?
The term’ legal high’ is obsolete and misleading; it implies that these substances are both legal and safe, which they are not. These synthetic substances are sold under disguise so the manufacturers can avoid responsibility. Furthermore, these substances are highly dangerous. Their ingredients aren’t known and, therefore, aren’t regulated.
How can I help a loved one addicted to legal highs?
If you think your loved one has an addiction to legal highs, the best thing to do is to talk to them calmly and consider staging an intervention
if necessary. Try not to get angry at them, as this will likely make them defensive. Instead, let them know you want to support them, and chances are they will embrace your help.
Spice and K2 – also known as synthetic cannabinoids, fake weed and herbal incense – are sold under hundreds of… More