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How Does Flakka Affect the Brain?

Man wondering, "How does flakka effect the brain?"

There are so many synthetic drugs available today that aim to give extreme highs at a minimum cost. These drugs are then marketed to the youth or to low-income communities, causing spikes in cases of substance abuse. One such designer drug is flakka, a much more potent version of bath salts. How does flakka effect the brain? Like most recreational drugs, long-term consumption of flakka can lead to many negative side effects. If you or someone you love is struggling with flakka addiction, getting treatment at an addiction treatment center is the best course of action.

Vertava Health Ohio’s Sherrodsville facility provides a safe, welcoming environment for patients that are seeking treatment for substance use disorders. Our experienced and compassionate staff employ a wide variety of evidence-based therapies that ensure genuine recovery and lifelong sobriety. If you are ready to take the first step toward a healthier future, contact us at 850.374.5331 today.

What Is Flakka?

Flakka is the street name for alpha-PVP, a synthetic cathinone that is chemically similar to MDPV, the main ingredient in designer drug bath salts. Flakka is typically a white or pink coarse grain that is similar to gravel or salt, however, it is also available in powder form. It can be administered in a variety of ways, either through ingestion, snorting, injection, smoking, or vaping. When vaped, flakka’s effects are felt faster, but it is also the method that is most prone to overdose.

When someone is under the influence of flakka, apart from the euphoric high associated with its use, they may also exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Elevated body temperature and profuse sweating
  • Slurred speech
  • Disorientation, panic attacks, or extreme agitation
  • Paranoia, delusions, or severe hallucinations

Flakka is a very potent, yet very cheap drug, earning it the nickname “$5 Insanity.” It is said to be ten times more effective than cocaine. Due to its potency, it can be very easy to overdose on flakka. Taking anything over 0.1 grams of the drug can lead to an accidental overdose, which can cause permanent damage, and possibly even death.

Flakka and the Brain

Like most drugs, taking flakka has effects on a person’s brain. Once ingested, flakka overstimulates the parts of the brain that control mood, alertness, and behavior. It also acts as an extreme dopamine booster, which can lead to long-term alterations to a person’s brain chemistry. Here are a few negative effects of flakka use:

  • Flakka use has been associated with the syndrome “excited delirium,” with symptoms like hallucinations, paranoia, agitation, and extremely violent behavior.
  • Even moderate doses of flakka can induce hallucinations, and long-term use can lead to permanent delirium.
  • The use of flakka has been linked to an increase in suicidal ideation.
  • Prolonged use of flakka can impede the brain’s ability to process certain proteins, causing increased levels of dopamine and serotonin. This can lead to tolerance to the effects of flakka, which can eventually lead to overdose.
  • Flakka still has lingering effects on the brain even after someone gets sober, with some people struggling with mood swings, paranoia, depression, and anxiety.

Apart from the effects on the brain, flakka can also wreak havoc on a person’s body, especially their kidneys. It is possible for someone who survived an overdose of flakka to suffer from lifelong kidney damage due to the increased body temperature while under the influence.

Get Substance Use Disorder Treatment at Vertava Health Ohio

At Vertava Health Ohio, we believe that addiction is not just a physical issue, but a mental one as well. Our addiction treatment programs include a wide variety of evidence-based therapies that give our patients the best chance at long-lasting recovery. We provide the right level of support and guidance for each stage of addiction recovery, from safe detox to lifelong sobriety. If you or a loved one needs substance use disorder treatment in Ohio, contact us at 850.374.5331 to learn more about what we can offer.