Many substances that are addictive cause mental changes or unusual behavior. Even if a substance does not inherently have mind-altering properties, people who are addicted to it may display strange behavior if they need the drug are unable to obtain it.
Bath salts are a relatively new addition to the drug scene. Bath salts are part of group of drugs sometimes called designer drugs, because they are synthesized to produce the same effects as illegal drugs. Because they are chemically similar but not the same, they can be sold legally and are often easy to obtain. The substance sold as bath salts is actually synthetic cathinone. Cathinone is naturally found in a plant sometimes called khat. Because of their growing notoriety, bath salts are illegal in forty-one states, though many other designer drugs are still legal and attainable. Bath salts can cause panic attacks, paranoia, hallucinations, violence, and suicidal behavior. A recent, widely reported incident in which a man high on bath salts ate parts of another man’s face in a brutal attack has drawn media attention to the drug.
Cocaine is an illegal, addictive drug that has stimulant properties. It is derived from the coca leaf, and it was used in the United States to treat a variety of conditions as an over-the-counter remedy up until the late 1920s. It was especially popular during prohibition, when many saw it as a safe and sane alternative to alcohol. It was one of the original ingredients in Coca-Cola. Today, cocaine has no accepted medical application and is used illegally for recreational purposes. The drug can be taken by rubbing cocaine powder into the gums, by chewing the coca leaf, by snorting the powder into the nose, by injection, by inhalation, and even by suppository. Cocaine is a serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor, which is one reason why it is very addictive. Cocaine affects the nervous system and can make users feel euphoric. It can also cause paranoia, anxiety, tremors, and convulsions. Large amounts or frequent use of cocaine can cause hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and depression. Those addicted to cocaine may experience symptoms like psychosis, depression, and an inability to sit still. Crack cocaine is an especially common form of cocaine in inner-city environments; it is characterized by a crystal or rock-like appearance.
Anabolic steroids were originally developed to treat health conditions that caused patients to be dangerously underweight. These drugs are sometimes also used by athletes, though that is controversial because long-term use of steroids can be dangerous and they can give the user an unfair advantage when competing. Anabolic steroids can be given orally, by injection, or topically. Abuse of anabolic steroids can cause a range of negative health effects, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. Use of anabolic steroids can cause psychiatric effects, especially aggression. These drugs can also cause mania, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, and violent behavior. Users of anabolic steroids may experience mood swings and even mania. Anabolic steroids may be addictive, but further study is needed to verify that.
LSD use is characterized by some widely known psychological effects including hallucinations, inability to think clearly, synesthesia, and other issues. During an LSD trip, the user might have the illusion of seeing things even while his eyes are closed, and some users have spiritual experiences while high. Users may see many colors or objects that aren’t there. Items that are present may seem to shimmer, move or otherwise change. If LSD is taken in an environment that is distressing to the user, the trip can be frightening and unpleasant. Negative reactions to LSD can include paranoia, delusions, and anxiety. LSD stands for lysergic acid diethylamide, which is derived from ergot, a fungus that is found on rye. Typically, LSD liquid is absorbed by paper, a sugar cube, or another material, which is then ingested. It can also be administered by injection.
LSD was used by doctors administering psychotherapy during the 1950s and 1960s. LSD has been used treat alcoholism, chronic pain, cluster headaches, and even end-of-life anxiety. This usage is controversial, and therapeutic use of LSD is not approved in the United States. Some medical conditions, such as depression and schizophrenia, can be aggravated by LSD. In rare cases, LSD may cause people with no known pre-existing conditions to spontaneously develop psychosis.
Though nearly any addictive drug can cause bizarre behavior during withdrawal, some drugs are especially prone to causing undesirable psychological side effects. These side effects can range from hallucinations and anxiety to violence and aggression.