GHB Addiction

GHB  is short for Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid and it is a depressant which has an intoxicating effect. It is naturally found in small quantities in meat, wine and some citrus fruits. GHB is colourless and odourless. GHB was first synthesized in 1874 by Alexander Saytzeff but major research for its use in humans was first conducted in the early 1960’s. Its clinical use was discovered and it had some clear advantages over contemporary drugs that were available at the time. It was widely used in a number of European countries but problems with its abuse and the availability of newer drugs led to its decline. It is today still used in treating narcolepsy and more rarely alcoholism. Although GHB was initially intended for use as an anesthetic it is no longer used as such because of its toxicity and side effects. People selling GHB often claim that it has weight loss effects and promotes body building but there is no clinical data to back these claims. Illicit use of GHB has been prevalent for about 20 years. It was adopted in the club scene and became widely available at parties, raves and night clubs and became infamous for its use as a date rape drug.

Effects if using GHB

GHB is a depressant of the central nervous system and has an intoxicating effect. At recreational doses GHB induces euphoria, increased enjoyment of dancing, increased libido, increased sociability and intoxication. At higher doses it causes nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, amnesia and death. GHB effects will last from 1.5 to 3 hours. GHB becomes more potent (and dangerous) if it is mixed with alcohol.

GHB addiction

People using GHB can develop dependence which means that if they stop using GHB they will suffer withdrawal symptoms. These are unpleasant and can include sweating, anxiety, hypertension and an increased heart rate. In particularly severe cases, withdrawal from GHB may cause symptoms similar to acute withdrawal from alcohol or barbiturates (delirium tremens) and can cause convulsions and hallucinations. Like other withdrawal symptoms these will last for a few days and may need medical attention in a detoxification (detox) centre. GHB withdrawal can have a second, delayed, phase of withdrawal which is characterised by mental clouding, anxiety and paranoia. This will last another 2-4 days and should be assessed by a doctor.

GHB withdrawal can be life threatening and baclofen is the choice of medication used in assisting with GHB withdrawal. Benzodiazepines are often ineffective in GHB withdrawal. Admission to an inpatient detoxification (detox) centre is highly recommended.

GHB addiction treatment

GHB addiction can be successfully treated in drug rehabilitation centres. These rehabs will use a multi-disciplinary team to provide a comprehensive GHB addiction treatment program. If you would like help in choosing an addiction treatment centre suitable for treating GHB addiction please contact Wedorecover and we would be happy to help.

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