Flakka Addiction Treatment Centers
There is a new designer drug that is taking Florida and other parts of the country by storm. Alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone, better known as Gravel or Flakka, is now being closely monitored by drug enforcement and monitoring agencies. Although Flakka is relatively new, its parent compound, the stimulant cathinone has been around since the 1960s. Also known as beta-keto-amphetamine or benzolyethanamine, the 1960s cathinone was chemically similar to amphetamines, giving rise to speculation that the effects of Flakka will be almost similar to other stimulants like methamphetamines and ephedrine. Cathinone comes from the shrub known as khat in the Arabian Peninsula as well as in the Horn of Africa. Cathinone is thus, considered legal in these parts of the world. Khat has been used for thousands of years for its euphoric effects.
Fast forward to the 21st century and man has made a fully synthetic version of cathinone designed primarily to mimic the effects of amphetamines and other stimulants. Like all other stimulants, Flakka is known to produce hyperstimulation, hallucinations, and paranoia – a triad of symptoms that have been known as excited delirium. Unfortunately, despite its euphoric effects, the crash that follows, especially when the levels of Flakka are not sustained, has been cited as one of the major causes of suicides and overdose-related deaths. New studies now reveal that Flakka combined with pentedrone can lead to heart failure, coma, and eventually death.
Flakka acts as an inhibitor of the reuptake of both norepinephrine and dopamine. That said, there is an increased level of circulating dopamine and norepinephrine in the bloodstream producing its physiologic and psychological effects. Norepinephrine is largely responsible for the increases in both peripheral vascular resistance and heart rate. This leads to unusually high blood pressure which can be taxing to the heart. Added with abnormally rapid and irregular heartbeat, oxygenation of the cardiac musculature can be compromised leading to myocardial ischemia then eventually myocardial infarction. This, in turn can lead to heart failure.
The classic excited delirium triad of Flakka abuse have been associated with increased tendency for aggression and violent behavior. Hallucinations greatly distort an individual’s perception of reality. Together with paranoia, it creates a very deadly combination like a ticking bomb just waiting for the correct trigger to explode. It is therefore not uncommon to see self-directed aggression because of these paranoid tendencies. In some cases, the paranoia can lead an individual to exhibit other-directed aggression, which can add an entirely different legal element to the Flakka abuse. There have been incidents involving Flakka whereby the individual displayed homicidal tendencies as well as antisocial behavior such as resistance and defiance to persons in authority.
Treatment therefore is geared towards the removal of alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone from the blood through detoxification. Like any other stimulant detoxification, medical supervision is necessary in order to help prevent life-threatening complications, particularly heart failure. Another cause of concern is the hallucinogenic effects of Flakka, in that it necessitates careful monitoring of psychiatric and behavioral symptoms, especially if the individual is exhibiting excessive paranoia. Trust is a major issue among these individuals and their perception of reality can be grossly altered leading to more psychiatric issues. It is therefore imperative that while detoxification is ongoing, treatment experts should start instituting psychiatric mental health treatment protocols.
Sprout Health Group prides itself on being well-experienced in the management of dual diagnosis especially when mental health problems such as acute psychoses complicate the addiction problem. Our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy interventions are designed to build trust in the individual. Our therapists can work with individuals to help them form healthier reality-based perceptions and cognitive processes. This will help them in the identification of anxiety-triggers and the determination of more adaptive and more positive coping mechanisms to help them address their stresses in life. Our mindfulness and other mind-body therapies can help the individual feel more relaxed while at the same time find more meaning in life.