GHB is a central nervous system depressant drug that has become a common “party drug” among young people. Most commonly produced in either a clear liquid or white powder, GHB is often mixed in a beverage when abused.
GHB can be synthesized in a lab but it is simple enough to create at home using certain chemicals. The production of GHB is based on the combination of GBL, a similar chemical compound commonly found in floor strippers, and drain cleaner. Illegal and home labs may also cut GHB with other unknown chemicals to increase its effects or decrease the production cost.
Some governments have approved GHB as a treatment option for people suffering from narcolepsy or alcoholism. However, it is illegal in the United States due to the high amount of young people who abuse GHB.
GHB can often make the user feel relaxed or drowsy, or create a euphoric sensation and increase the user’s sex drive. Due to its effects on the body and its undetectable nature when mixed into drinks, GHB is commonly used as a “date rape” drug.
GHB is considered to be an addictive drug and a mental and physical dependence can occur for someone who takes it often. When quitting the use of GHB, those who have developed a dependence may experience withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of GHB withdrawal could include disorientation, epileptic seizures, or coma.
There are signs to look for in someone who may be experiencing an addiction to GHB. Someone high on GHB will often be more agitated and impulsive than normal. They may also show a loss of inhibitions and an increased sex drive. Memory loss, slurred speech, or loss of consciousness could be signs that someone has taken too much GHB.
GHB can affect people differently, causing a variety of different symptoms. Since it can replicate a stimulant in smaller doses or a depressant in larger doses, someone high on GHB may act like they have had too much alcohol or taken a stimulant like molly or ecstasy depending on how much GHB they have taken and how their body reacted to it.
GHB is considered an incredibly dangerous drug. The FDA restricted the use of GHB in 1990 to only be available for those with medical prescriptions for it. However, the United States government now considers GHB to be a Schedule I drug, meaning it is considered highly abused with no accepted medical purpose.
Due to the strength of the chemicals used, GHB can often result in chemical burns inside the mouth or throat of someone when the drug is not properly diluted. Because GHB is most commonly produced illegally with no oversight, batches of GHB can vary widely in both strength and purity. This makes the drug especially dangerous as users often do not fully what they are ingesting.
GHB can lead to confusion and disorientation, making it difficult to function. As GHB is considered a “party drug” and taken in large groups, people make themselves incredibly vulnerable when taking GHB. Two-thirds of people who experiment with GHB claim to have had a serious negative effect from the drug. This could include addiction, hospitalization, or a loss of consciousness.
Mixing GHB with other depressants such as alcohol or opioids like heroin or oxycontin can cause potentially dangerous effects on the body. Coma or complete loss of consciousness can be common when mixing GHB with other drugs.
GHB’s ability to cause memory loss and loss of consciousness has caused it to be commonly used as a “date rape” drug. People can slip the tasteless and odorless drug into someone’s drink to overpower them during sexual assault or rape. The victims can experience complete amnesia over the events as well. According to a survey of 5000 people who claimed to have taken GHB, over 1,250 had been assaulted.
It can be incredibly easy to overdose on GHB. Due to the inability to test the strength or purity of different batches of GHB before taking, users are often unaware of how much to take. The combination of other illicit drugs or alcohol with GHB, as is common in party settings, also commonly leads to overdose.
Symptoms of a GHB overdose can result in a loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, or death. While the death rates of GHB overdoses are lower than some other illicit drugs, those statistics may be misleading. That is because GHB is not commonly tested for after sudden deaths, so many overdoses may go unreported.
GHB addiction treatment should be individualized to fit your personal needs, just like any mental health treatment. As GHB does not necessarily always cause physical dependence, an outpatient treatment plan may be suitable for some. Those struggling with cravings or withdrawal may prefer to enter a detox program or recovery facility.
It is also important to not work to deal with your addiction recovery, but also take a look at the mental illness that may be the underlying issues that cause addiction. Dual-diagnosis treatment takes an equal look at both the addiction disorder and the mental illness you may be facing. At Create Recovery Los Angeles we are here to help. Please call us at (855)-518-0222 to learn more.