Spice addiction can form instantly
Feb 27, 2019
Smoking blend, or spice is a recent trend. It is a mix of dried grass particles which have been covered with synthetic cannabinoids by spraying. It is marketed as a healthy alternative to marijuana, but it is definitely not. Chemicals in spice pose a great danger to human health.
According to the NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse for Teens), people who smoke spice show the following symptoms:
- fast heart rate;
- extreme anxiety or nervousness;
- feelings of confusion;
- rise of blood pressure;
- disruption of circulatory dynamics;
- suicidal thoughts;
- aggressive behavior.
In a few cases, smoking spice has been linked with heart attacks and death.
The truth about addiction
According to NIDA, an addiction is a state in which a person takes a drug for the sake of feeling fine, rather than feeling pleasure. An addiction forms when the person continues to take drugs regardless of their negative effect.
So when does a person cross this line?
Even the first intake of spice can form an addiction. Most users enjoy the drug intoxication they get after the first use, and the next intake of spice is an attempt to again achieve the same state of high.
However, as an individual continues to use the drug, their body adapts to the chemicals in the synthetic blends and marijuana. This is how a drug addiction forms. Once a person is addicted to spice, they will experience withdrawal symptoms every time they try to reduce the dose or quit.
After some time they will need to smoke more and more in order to reach the previous state of intoxication. This is called “tolerance”, or adaptation. A person who has adapted to the drug needs higher amounts of spice to reach the desired effect. They start to smoke more, while the body adapts to higher amounts of the drug. This cycle results in compulsive behavior:
- smoke spice,
- feel good
- rinse and repeat.
Physical and psychological addiction
Can we help an addict in this situation? Of course, we can. However, as you may have learned from medical information, it is difficult. There are a lot of official ways to treat addiction, and among them, the work of a psychologist is the most important. There are two tasks in freeing a person from addiction. The first is to modify the addict’s behavior. The second is to restore the psychovegetative system in the body, which includes hormonal responses. This should be done through psychology – there are no drug-induced methods of restoring psychovegetative processes damaged by alcohol consumption. The helping psychologist must have a solid knowledge of the processes that connect the psychovegetative system with a person’s behavior. This system and consequential behavior affect each other, and this relationship becomes the key to success in therapy.
If a person developed the problem by adopting an incorrect mode of behavior, then it can be fixed by modifying behavior. This is the main principle of behavioral psychotherapy.
Never lose hope. Specialists wielding this method will help you or your loved one to overcome addiction.
There is a significant difference between a psychological and a physical addiction.
A psychological addiction forms when a person feels a compulsive urge to take drugs regardless of their harmful effects. People with such addictions cannot simply quit them, regardless of their problems with health, work or studies – or their relationships with friends and relatives.
Physical addiction can enhance the psychological one. If a chemical is constantly present in the system, the body starts to adapt to the drug. Once the use of it stops, a person experiences the symptoms of abstinence.
Am I addicted to spice?
We cannot always notice the signs and symptoms of addiction. In order to find out if you are addicted to spice, you can ask yourself these questions:
- Have you ever failed in quitting spice?
- Do you have an irresistible urge to smoke spice?
- Do you slack on your main responsibilities because of spice?
- Do you continue to take spice regardless of your problems with friends, family and other people?
- Do you display any aggressive and/or provocative behavior due to spice use?
- Has the use of spice affected the activities you used to enjoy?
- Do you often think about buying or consuming spice?
If you have answered “yes” to at least one of the questions above, we recommend that you to consult a specialist. You are likely to have an addiction, and you need specialized help.
Total number of users
There is one fact that is particularly upsetting: there are a lot of people with this spice addiction. Synthetic marijuana is a relatively new drug, but there are already statistics on its use provided by the US government and medical facilities.
- In 2010, 11,406 people were hospitalized due to spice abuse. 77.5% of them were men, 22.5% were women. 75% of these were between 12 and 29 years old.
- In a 2016 research “Monitoring the future” it showed that in a previous year 3.7% of high school students smoked spice at least once.
Based on these statistics, the NIDA concluded that spice is currently the most popular drug among young people and second after marijuana on the black market. Most of those who smoke spice are young men.
Denial is normal
People who try to get over their addiction to smoking blends often deny having a problem in order to feel better about themselves, and to shy away from changes. This is a normal protective response. In reality, however, denial shows an inability to face up to the truth. Accepting your addiction is a hard but important step to take.
How can we help our loved ones to overcome denial?
First you need to figure out the nature of this denial and its roots. Addicts are often deeply ashamed of themselves.  Neither young people nor adults are willing to accept that they couldn’t be in command of themselves. Moreover, many of those who have an addiction simply wish for a better life and become extremely upset when the reality doesn’t match their desired image. That is why many people resort to denial in order to justify their behavior.
When you try to support a person who has an addiction to smoking blends, the first thing you should do is express your support. Even if you cannot force
your way through denial. This will still show that you care for and understand your beloved friend. Here are some ways to help a person to notice their denial:
- do not start this conversation while they are intoxicated with spice;
- raise specific examples they know of, in order to stimulate their memory;
- speak about those parts of their life that have been most affected by their drug abuse, like career or responsibilities (and which can also affect other people);
- always keep in touch in order to answer any questions and help to solve any problems.
There is also a possibility that their addiction may be accompanied by other psychological problems, like anxiety or depression. This is especially true for spice addicts, considering that synthetic cannabinoids have many psychoactive effects which disrupt thought and emotional processes. Therefore, you need to be especially careful if the addiction is paired with denial. Imagine walking on a thin ice, where any wrong move can push the addict back into the drug abyss.
Do not be surprised that your friend or relative continues to deny their addiction. This is a common situation for people with uncontrolled drug abuse. Patience is the key to solving this problem.
Even though spices are considered to be recreational drugs, they are drugs nonetheless and become addictive after the initial use. First you need to help your loved one recognize the problem and overcome their denial. Only then you should look for an effective treatment. For example, our 7Spsy technique encourages our patients to change their behavior patterns and start to enjoy life again without spice.
Read more on supporting your loved ones in treating their spice addiction here: “Helping your friend overcome addiction to spice and smoking blends.”
Information from this website cannot be used for self-therapy and self-diagnostics.
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