GHB Abuse

Journey treats addiction to all forms of depressants, including the “club drug” GHB. Many people associate this medication with its improper use as a recreational drug or as a “date rape” drug, but it has medical uses as well. People who regularly abuse GHB, named for gamma hydroxybutyrate, can develop some of the classic symptoms of drug addiction as well as other serious problems, including fatal overdose. Treatment for GHB addiction at Journey includes an effective blend of behavioral therapies, holistic approaches and 12-Step involvement, all designed to help clients develop the skills to maintain long-term sobriety.

Basic Facts About GHB

The human body naturally produces minor amounts of GHB in the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). Prior to 1990, a nonprescription form of laboratory-produced GHB was sold in U.S. markets as a dietary supplement. The prescription form of the substance is called sodium oxybate or Xyrem. When given to a person affected by narcolepsy, it helps relieve some of the muscle paralysis associated with the disorder.

Street names for illegally produced or distributed forms of GHB include Grievous Bodily Harm and Liquid Ecstasy. When introduced into the body, these substances can result in a reduced rate of nerve cell communication in the central nervous system, sedation/sleepiness, anxiety reduction, heightened sexual arousal and a euphoric state of pleasure. Side effects associated with GHB use include vision-altering hallucinations, an unusually confused or impressionable mental state, and memory impairment or memory loss. Speak Confidentially with a Journey Advisor at 844-878-1979.

GHB abusers may combine the drug with the use of other substances such as marijuana, alcohol, LSD or other hallucinogens, and stimulant drugs or medications. After ingestion, it produces its effects within about half an hour. These effects typically dissipate anywhere from three to six hours later. GHB comes in the form of a dissolvable powder or a liquid; in some cases, it has no detectable color, odor or taste.

GHB Addiction Issues

People who regularly use GHB can develop symptoms of withdrawal when that use ends or when the level of intake falls below a certain level. Examples of GHB withdrawal symptoms include excessive sweat production, sleeplessness, uncontrolled muscle trembling, heart rate increases, a spike in blood pressure levels, and an unusually agitated or anxious mental state. As a rule, the presence of withdrawal symptoms is an indicator of the brain changes characteristic of physical drug dependence and drug addiction. However, GHB users may not have enough symptoms to be considered addicted. Unusually intense symptoms of withdrawal can appear in people who use the drug in combination with alcohol or certain drugs; these symptoms may also appear in a person experiencing a GHB overdose.

GHB Overdose

A person who takes too much GHB can experience an overdose related to dangerous suppression of the normal amount of activity in his or her central nervous system. Potential symptoms of such an overdose include nausea, vomiting, convulsions, loss of consciousness, serious reductions in normal heart and breathing rates, a substantial reduction in normal body temperature, and coma. Some people affected by a GHB overdose fail to regain consciousness and ultimately die. Mixing GHB with alcohol can increase a person’s overdose risk.

GHB as a Date Rape Drug

Sexual predators with access to a colorless, odorless and tasteless form of GHB have been known to introduce the drug into another person’s drink without that person’s awareness. In combination with alcohol, GHB can cause unconsciousness or incapacitation, as well as an inability to recall what happened while under the drug’s influence. For this and other reasons, federal law highly restricts legitimate access to GHB and imposes increased penalties on people convicted of using the drug or any other similar substance to incapacitate a person and commit acts of sexual or physical assault. Speak Confidentially with a Journey Advisor at 844-878-1979.