Get help for mephedrone addiction, find a rehab clinic, or learn about the signs and symptoms of Mephedrone addiction, right here.
*This page medically reviewed by Dr Robert Lefever, April 2021.
Mephedrone is a Class B drug in the UK. It has been designated as dangerous because of the effects it has on the body through prolonged use. If you think you have a mephedrone addiction, your best chance at treatment success is within a detox and rehab clinic.
If you are ready to get help for your mephedrone problems, then we are ready to welcome you. Call us today to seek referral to a rehab clinic near you. Otherwise, keep reading. This page contains everything you need to know to help you break free from a mephedrone addiction in your own time.
What is Mephedrone?
Users describe mephedrone as having a similar effect to a combination of speed, ecstasy and cocaine. The drug works similarly to other amphetamines, giving people who take it a sense of boundless energy, focus and euphoria. The desired effects of mephedrone do not last long – up to an hour – which is why many people take multiple doses in succession, upping the risk of changes to brain chemistry.
Other names for Mephedrone
Mephedrone goes by several street names, including 4-MMT, MCAT, bubbles, Bath Salts, and drone. According to some medical experts, mephedrone does not have any physically addictive properties, however many people develop a psychological dependence on the drug.
How is it used?
People usually take mephedrone in the form of a pill or capsule. Abusers also snort the substance in its pure, powder form. Some people swallow it in powder form using a liquid, like water or alcoholic beverage.
Mephedrone has a clinical use, too. It might be prescribed as a transitional drug to help wean a user off opioid medications, which you can’t safely detox from[i].
What does it do to you?
Mephedrone makes you euphoric in that first hit. Afterwards, you will spend all your time taking the drug in trying to achieve that same high. According to medical sources[ii], 67% of users had profuse sweating, 43% had heart palpitations, and they liken it to taking ecstasy or MDMA.
Negative Long Term Effects of Mephedrone Use
If you use mephedrone long term you will need more and more of it to get high, eventually causing overdose. There is only so long you can live with overdosing regularly before it kills you. Long term effects of mephedrone might induce psychoactive problems, such as hallucinations, severe panic attacks, and brain damage through neurotoxicity[iii].
Mephedrone Use in the UK Facts and Statistics
Mephedrone is a relative newcomer to the illegal drugs scene. Classified as illegal in 2010 in the UK, mephedrone was initially marketed as a plant fertiliser or bath salts. However, the substance cannot be sold legally for any purpose because it has no legitimate medical uses.
Thanks to the ONS we know that drug use has increased across the board in the year ending March 2020. Unfortunately, Mephedrone is still a ‘new’ drug by comparison to others, so we don’t have as many facts on it as we would like. We do know that it was on the rise in London[iv] back in 2016, so we can only assume that the figures have continued to rise.
Studies into the drug since then have revealed it has troublesome interactions with alcohol. A 2019 paper[v] found that mephedrone combined with alcohol has a far greater abuse liability than it does when taken on its own.
Drugs Similar to Mephedrone
Unlike other heavy drugs, Mephedrone has drugs that are closely related to it. There are two which see use recreationally throughout the UK.
This is more commonly known by the name mephedrone hydrochloride[vi]. It is used as a powder or taken orally in pill form. It is highly addictive and should not be underestimated.
Recreationally known as 4-mec, it is not the same as mephedrone but gives a similar high. It is usually injected but isn’t good for the veins, it can cause pain and, in the worst case scenario, damage to the veins and arteries[vii].
What Causes Mephedrone Addiction?
The causes of mephedrone addiction are varied and not yet well understood. However, part of the reason some researchers believe that the drug might be addictive is because of the psychological effect that it has on the abuser. Mephedrone can produce a high like MDMA, amphetamines and cocaine. It makes people feel energetic and excited – something which depressed people may not experience in their regular lives. Mephedrone, therefore, offers a chemical route out of day-to-day negative feelings, which may be why people go back to it time and time again.
Signs your Loved One is Using Mephedrone
- Headaches. People who use mephedrone are usually highly active and easy to distract. This level of activity can lead a person to experience intense headaches following a trip,
- Rapid heartbeat. Like many amphetamine-like drugs, mephedrone can cause changes to the body’s respiratory system. People who use the drug may experience elevated blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat.
- Reduction in appetite. Mephedrone acts as a temporary appetite suppressant. People who extensively use the drug may suffer from otherwise unexplained weight loss. Over time, weight loss can be extreme, leading to further complications, such as a compromised immune system and infertility.
- Shaking. Mephedrone induces shakiness of vibrating vision in certain people which can be disorientating.
- Trouble breathing. Trouble breathing is a potentially harmful sign of mephedrone addiction. If you are experiencing trouble breathing following the use of mephedrone, speak with a medical professional immediately.
- Highly distractable. Because mephedrone induces an effect like cocaine and speed, people who take it can be highly distractable, unable to focus on a single thing for more than a few seconds.
- Clenching teeth. Why mephedrone leads to clenching of teeth is unclear. However, chronic teeth clenching can damage both the teeth and jaw.
- Being overly concerned with the feelings of others. Mephedrone may affect the part of the brain involved in empathising with others. People on the drug often display increased concern for those around them.
- Speaking rapidly. As a stimulant, mephedrone can induce episodes of extreme hyperactivity where a person speaks at high speed to those around them. Increased energy levels increase the rate at which the brain produces new ideas, encouraging people to communicate at a much faster pace.
- Increased energy levels. Mephedrone is a stimulant. People who are currently experiencing the effects may seem to have higher energy levels and capacity for physical exertion. This increased energy is temporary but also a sign that a person may be under the influence of drugs.
- Appearing uncharacteristically happy or content. Mephedrone can produce feelings of happiness and euphoria for a short time. Its ability to do this is one of the reasons why the drug is addictive.
- Dilated pupils. Dilated pupils are a sign that somebody might be medicating with mephedrone (or other similar substances, like amphetamines).
Symptoms of Mephedrone Use
Similarly, while someone is using, they go through the following side effects of mephedrone.
Physical Side Effects
- Heart palpitations
- Inability to control rapid speech
Phycological Side Effects
- Increased self-confidence
- Feelings of closeness to others
- Enhanced empathy
- Increased sexual desire
- Intense sensory experiences
How is Mephedrone Addiction Treated?
Detoxing from any addiction is difficult but worthwhile. Ketamine addiction will get worse and worse as your tolerance builds, and you may end up with long term brain damage if you don’t quit.
The detox period for mephedrone is best done as an inpatient in a medical facility. It can take anything up to a week before the drugs are fully eliminated from your system.
Medications Used for a Medically Assisted Detox
Your doctor or medical professional might prescribe drugs that will help ease the symptoms of withdrawal from mephedrone during detox. They may prescribe you an antidepressant or antianxiety medication[viii]. They might also issue anticonvulsants and anti-nausea tablets. Depending on your past, diazepam or other benzodiazepines may be prescribed.
People in mephedrone rehab may experience several psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms. The main psychological symptoms include tiredness, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression. Many people describe the aftermath of using mephedrone as like a hangover following alcohol consumption. It’s a general state of unease and feelings of tiredness combined with negative emotional states.
Talking Therapies Used for Mephedrone Addiction
There are several talking therapies which might be used for Mephedrone addiction. Some of the most common include group therapy and one-on-one sessions with a psychologist, counsellor, or psychotherapist.
Your psychotherapist is likely to want to try several options with you. Commonly, they will use CBT as a starting point. CBT is used to talk through your traumas and get to the bottom of your addiction. If you are a highly emotional type, your therapist may use DBT instead.
Motivational Interviewing, 12 step therapy [ix]similar to that used by the AA, and the Matrix Model[x] for addiction treatments are all used, too.
Secondary treatment is also known as aftercare. It involves therapies mixed with support that helps you return to normal life after your stint in rehab. It should last for anything up to 6 months and ought to make your transition period easier.
Symptoms of Mephedrone Withdrawal
There are several symptoms you can expect to experience when you go through the process of mephedrone withdrawal. Some of these are:
- Intense drug cravings
- Hot flashes, aches and pains, chills, cold sweats, and muscle cramps
- Insomnia coupled with inability to focus
- Irritability and nightmares[xi]
You can find more information about other drug withdrawal symptoms suffered by Mephedrone addicts within our pages.
Mephedrone Addiction Treatment Timeline
Coming off mephedrone can be a challenge, especially if you have been on the substance for a long time. Withdrawal symptoms are usually at their worst on days two and three after coming off the drug, with withdrawal usually running its course by day seven. Don’t forget that you can find out all about how long rehab takes through our site.
How Much does it Cost to get help for an addiction in the UK?
Typically, residential rehab clinics in the UK charge around £1,000 per week. For many patients, this represents excellent value. They can finally get off the drugs that are causing health, financial and relationship problems in their lives, and improve their long-term chances of success. You can find out more about the costs of rehab in our site.
Free Consultation about Mephedrone Addiction
You can get a free consultation right here in the Help 4 Addiction pages. Simply click on the link at the top of the page and one of our dedicated addiction experts will be in touch. The consultation is no-obligation, so you won’t be locked into a decision without having plenty of time to think.
Get Help to Find a Rehab Near You
Going for rehab could be one of the best decisions that you ever make, so get in touch with Help4Addiction today to find out more about rehab services in your area. You’ll be glad you did.
Frequently Asked Questions
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