Gamma hydroxybutyrate, also known as GHB, is a very dangerous drug that has made its way from the pharmacy to the streets as an allegedly safe alternative to ecstasy and other hazardous drugs. We say ‘allegedly safe’ because GHB is really not safe at all. It is a very powerful drug that can prove fatal even with a single dose.
Anyone who uses GHB recreationally would do well to research the drug rather than believing what people on the street say. There are plenty of myths surrounding this drug, myths that cause people to use it while thinking that it is harmless. It is anything but. Your life could be ruined entirely – or even cut short – if you allow GHB to have any influence over you.
Addiction Helper is standing by to assist you if you or someone you love is struggling with GHB. The drug is highly addictive regardless of what anyone else tells you. Contact us today so we can help you; do not put your life at risk just to enjoy the momentary high that GHB offers.
The Basics of GHB
A Russian chemist originally synthesised GHB in the late 17th century. Since then, it has been employed for a number of legitimate medical purposes. It has been used as an anaesthetic as well as a treatment for insomnia, narcolepsy, alcoholism and fibromyalgia. However, the medical community has been careful to use the drug with caution as we have learned more about its dangerous properties. It is rarely prescribed in the modern era as there are so many safer alternatives available.
The drug produces feelings of euphoria that can also reduce inhibitions. Its sedative effects are what make GHB useful as an anaesthetic. Nevertheless, the same properties make it a popular date rape drug as well. As users become sedate enough to lose control of their inhibitions, they do not have the mental or physical capacity to prevent others from taking advantage of them.
GHB is purchased on the street as an odourless liquid, tablet, or powder. More often than not it is taken orally, diluted in some sort of liquid that masks a flavour that is almost undetectable to start with. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to know the concentration of GHB in a product purchased on the street. Hence, it is possible to overdose and die in a single incident of using the drug.
Despite what you may have heard on the street, GHB is highly addictive. Its psychoactive effects on the brain are such that, over time, users must ingest larger volumes of the drug to enjoy the same pleasurable effect. This is a condition known as tolerance; tolerance is a precursor of addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of GHB Addiction
The early warning signs of a GHB addiction are eerily similar to that of alcoholism. Long-term users experience physical conditions including:
- regular nausea and headaches
- slurred speech
- routine drowsiness
- loss of muscle tone and muscle control
- reduced cognitive ability
- gradually increasing respiratory problems
- progressively worsening liver problems.
Long-term use of GHB can result in hallucinations, seizures, coma and eventual death. The simple truth of the matter is that GHB is not a harmless drug that can be taken indiscriminately. It is a dangerous drug; there is no other way to put it.
GHB addiction also produces psychological symptoms as follows:
- Increasing desire to take the drug more often
- A willingness to use GHB alone or in isolation
- Gradual withdrawal from social interaction, especially family interaction
- Loss of productivity at school or work
- Routine denial of GHB use.
We cannot stress enough how easy it is to overdose on this drug. Overdosing can occur much more quickly with GHB than other drugs, primarily because of its sedative effects. Furthermore, the dangers of GHB are only amplified when the drug is mixed with other substances such as alcohol. What a user intends to make him/herself feel good can actually kill him/her within a short amount of time.
Treatment for GHB Addiction
GHB addiction should be treated in a residential rehab clinic by trained and qualified staff that have experience with the drug. The reason behind this is the fact that GHB withdrawal has some very severe symptoms that could lead to serious injury or death. Those symptoms include:
- hallucinations, delirium
- increased heart rate and blood pressure
- nausea and vomiting
- excessive sweating
- agitation, restlessness, anxiety
- muscle and bone pain
- tremors and seizures
When withdrawal symptoms become especially severe, they can easily lead to serious injury or death. If you or someone you love is experiencing GHB addiction, do not attempt to detox by yourself. It is much too dangerous.
The treatment for GHB addiction begins with medically supervised detox in a safe and controlled setting. It is followed by several weeks of intense counselling and other therapies designed to teach recovering patients how to live full and productive lives without using chemical substances. This period of psychotherapy may include one-on-one counselling, support group participation, 12-step work, and other therapies that may include exercise, art and music, or diet and nutrition.
Behavioural counselling is key to overcoming GHB addiction. Although this form of counselling can take many forms, the objective is the same with all of them: to uncover the reasons the patient chose to start taking GHB and continued taking it despite knowing it was harmful. Uncovering these deeply rooted causes paves the way for learning how to live without GHB in the future.
There are private rehab clinics all over the UK that help GHB addicts take their lives back. If you are visiting our website because you are concerned about yourself or loved one, we urge you to contact our 24-hour helpline right away. We can help you determine how severe your problem is and, if necessary, refer you to a rehab clinic offering the right kinds of treatments. All our services are free to you.