Flakka Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Understanding Flakka Addiction

Learn About Flakka Addiction

Flakka is a dangerous drug that began receiving widespread attention following a series of high-profile arrests of individuals who were acting in bizarre, volatile, and dangerous ways as a result of their ingestion of this substance. The disturbing effects of flakka abuse include paranoia, delirium, delusions, violent outbursts, and hyperstimulation. Depending upon the quality and quantity of flakka that a person has ingested, these effects may last from a few hours to a few days.

Flakka is the street name of alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, a synthetic substance that shares certain structural similarities with amphetamines. Flakka is also sometimes referred to as gravel or bath salts, though the term bath salts is also often applied to a different drug that is similar to alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone. Flakka usually appears in crystalline form, typically either pink or white. The drug can be ingested in a variety of ways, including being vaporized and inhaled, snorted, injected, and eaten.

The relatively new phenomenon of flakka abuse means that researchers have not yet been able to determine the full spectrum of dangers that may result from continued flakka abuse. However, studies suggest that flakka is highly addictive, and the drug has been compared to a combination of cocaine and methamphetamine.

To combat this addiction, it is imperative to seek out professional flakka addiction treatment.


Flakka Addiction Statistics

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that the most significant recent increases in flakka abuse have occurred in Florida. For example, in 2014, no county had more reported cases of flakka abuse than did Florida’s Broward County, where a national record 477 cases of flakka abuse occurred. In the seven-month period that began in September 2014, the county also experienced 16 deaths that were determined to be related to the abuse of flakka. Three other Florida counties, Miami-Dade, Orange, and Palm Beach, also placed in the top five of the nation’s county-by-county list of flakka abuse cases and flakka confiscations. The only non-Florida county in the top five was Cook County, Illinois. In 2014, Cook County charted 212 flakka cases.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for Flakka Addiction

Many causes and risk factors can increase the likelihood that a person will engage in flakka abuse, including the following:

Genetic: Genetics may not predispose a person specifically to abuse flakka, but heritable traits such as impulsivity and novelty seeking may significantly increase the likelihood that a person will engage in some form of substance abuse. Also, a predisposition to developing a substance use disorder has also been determined to have a strong genetic component.

Environmental: Access to flakka associating with individuals who engage in flakka abuse are among the strongest environmental influences on whether or not a person will abuse flakka:

Risk Factors:

  • Personal or family history of substance abuse
  • Personal or family history of mental illness
  • Access to flakka
  • Childhood trauma
  • Diminished self-control
  • Impulsivity

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Flakka Addiction

A wide range of signs and symptoms, including the following, can characterize Flakka abuse:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Disinhibition
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Unpredictable behavior patterns
  • Recklessness
  • Unprovoked aggression
  • Psychomotor agitation

Physical symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Hyperthermia
  • Breakdown of muscle fiber
  • Improved strength

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Paranoia
  • Hyperalertness
  • Poor judgment
  • Derealization
  • Delusions
  • Delirium

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Agitation and irritability


Effects of Flakka Addiction

Additional research needs to be done in order to determine the full scope of negative outcomes that can result from flakka abuse, but the following are among the many negative effects that have already been identified:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Brain damage
  • Dangerously high body temperature
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Renal failure
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Arrest and incarceration
  • Family discord
  • Separation, divorce, and loss of child custody
  • Ruined interpersonal relationships
  • Occupational failure, job loss and unemployment
  • Substandard performance in school
  • Academic failure
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Suicide attempts

Co-Occurring Disorders

Flakka Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

People who abuse or become addicted to flakka may also have a heightened risk for experiencing the following co-occurring mental health disorders:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Schizophrenia


Know the effects of Flakka Overdose

A person who experiences the following outcomes after ingesting flakka may have overdosed on this dangerous drug. If a person has, indeed, overdosed on flakka, he or she is in need of immediate medical attention:

  • Dramatic increase in body temperature
  • Outbursts of violence
  • Acting in an erratic or bizarre manner
  • Hallucinations
  • Organ failure
  • Internal bleeding