Flakka Withdrawal

Flakka and gravel are common names for a-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP), an emerging street drug that is part of the synthetic cathinone family, essentially second-generation bath salts. Rising in popularity, particularly in Florida, flakka typically comes in white or pink foul-smelling crystals that can be injected, orally consumed, snorted, or vaporized in e-cigarettes. It is easy to abuse and become addicted to which is why Flakka withdrawal is major concern for those seeking treatment.

To demonstrate flakka withdrawal, a man yelling and pointing at a young woman who is scared holding her hands up to her chin

As it absorbs into the bloodstream, this drug can cause hallucinations, paranoia, and hyperstimulation, as well as aggressive actions and self-harm, including suicide. Given its severity, getting treatment is paramount. People who suddenly stop taking the drug after extended use can have flakka withdrawal symptoms that can be serious and risky.

Flakka Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal can occur when someone stops taking alpha-PVP because of its highly addictive profile. While this drug is so new that there is little research on the substance, a 2015 study on rodents revealed flakka’s high susceptibility for abuse that rivals bath salts (MDPV), which is another synthetic cathinone. The potency of alpha-PVP comes from how it affects dopamine transporters in the brain. Tolerance to it can develop, and users may take higher amounts to achieve the effects that were once felt.

When coming off of the effects of this drug, users can experience flakka withdrawal symptoms. Common signs of withdrawal cited by the National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIH) are tremors, anxiety, sleeping issues, paranoia, and depression. These signs may occur when a user stops all at once or attempts to stop using on their own without the guidance of a treatment program.

Upon getting into a rehabilitative program, an addict will be evaluated by professionals who understand substance addiction. This step is integral to finding the best flakka detox measures for a person, which is the first phase of the rehab plan.

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How to Detox from Flakka Abuse

While there are no specific drugs to treat alpha-PVP, an individual in detox may be given medical assistance to reduce cravings or treat any co-occurring mental disorder that could potentially interfere with rehab. As each person is unique, so is the treatment plan, including the characteristics of flakka detox.

Drug detox can be inpatient, outpatient, or a combination of the two. The best one for the individual depends on their needs and preferences. For example, an outpatient treatment program where the person lives at home may be better for an individual who does not want to take time away from their job, versus a residential rehab facility where the person is fully immersed in the environment (inpatient care). Outpatient programs typically require attendance for a certain number of hours each week. Ultimately, the recovery team and the individual decide the best program format together.

Detox can help to minimize flakka withdrawal symptoms as the individual receives continual supervision from a medical professional. Therefore, the individual is likely more comfortable during withdrawal than if they were doing so on their own. Treatment can also help keep the addict from harming themselves or others as the drug leaves the addict’s body.

After Flakka Detox: Therapy

Detox alone is only one part of the addiction solution, as per NIH’s evidence-based Principles of Effective Treatment. It follows, therefore, that flakka detox is rarely sufficient on its own to inspire abstinence long-term. Instead, the optimal approach is for the individual to continue drug rehab after the detox phase. Therapy in a safe, supportive environment to deal with any psychological issues often follows the physical detox.

During the therapy sessions, the addict has the opportunity to learn healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with future stressors to help prevent them from returning to drug use. Therapy sessions may be individual, group, or a combination of the two. As with the rest of the plan, the format this takes depends on the needs of the recovering addict.

Types of behavioral therapies for those who are addicted to synthetic cathinones include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational incentives—giving rewards to the addict for maintaining a clean lifestyle. CBT is a short-term type of psychotherapy that aims to change the thinking or behavior behind a person’s issues, which in this case is the addiction. The client and therapist work together to identify problems, and the client learns strategies to apply whenever necessary in the future.

Aftercare and Beyond

Aftercare is the phase after leaving the rehab center, and it is as important to long-term abstinence as treatment. Aftercare can vary from group therapy to weekly check-in appointments, depending on what the individual needs.

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To learn more about flakka detox programs and safely minimizing flakka withdrawal symptoms, please call us today. We are happy to answer your questions.