GHB, the shortened form of gamma hydroxybutyrate, is a central nervous system depressant that is commonly referred to as the “date rape drug” or a “club drug”. As a result, it is heavily used by high school and college students as well as rave attendees for its intoxicating effects. However, GHB also has anabolic properties due to protein synthesis and is therefore, very popular among bodybuilders who use it for muscle building and reducing fat.
GHB is a colorless, odorless drug that can be bought illegally on the streets or through the Internet. When used improperly or repeatedly, GHB can have harrowing effects on its users. Although it is generally undetectable by toxicologists, we do know that there have been over 15,000 GHB overdoses in the U.S. since it was declared unsafe in 1990.
Because GHB is a naturally occurring metabolite in the brain, it may seem that it cannot be harmful. However, the naturally occurring GHB in the brain is found in drastically lower concentrations than those found in the drug. Because GHB creates feelings of euphoria and tranquility, it is highly addictive. In addition, bodybuilders committed to reaching their ideal weight will take GHB until they have achieved their goal.
People addicted to GHB typically drink caps of it every few hours and may appear drunk with poor coordination and slurred speech. Other symptoms of GHB addiction include:
Those who abuse GHB are typically drawn to the seemingly positive effects of the drug including euphoria, a sense of tranquility, and increased sex drive. However, the negative effects of GHB use are severe and, when combined with other substances such as sedatives or hypnotics, can be incapacitating.
Immediate negative side-effects of GHB abuse include:
GHB is also particularly dangerous when combined with other substances. Because of it’s reputation as a “club” or “date rape drug”, GHB is most commonly combined with alcohol. Mixing GHB with other drugs and alcohol can result in sedation, seizures, coma, and death. GHB abuse is also linked to car accidents and unsafe sex.
Common long-term complications of GHB abuse include:
Because the withdrawal symptoms of GHB are particularly severe and incapacitating, medically supervised detox and treatment are recommended when recovering from GHB addiction. The first step towards recovery for those struggling with a GHB addiction includes a seven- to fourteen-day detox process. For best results, it is wise that the detox process be supervised by a physician. The physician may administer medications such as benzodiazepines, antihypertensives, or anticonvulsants to ease the withdrawal process.
Once GHB detox is complete, it is wise for patients to receive therapy and continued treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation center. The primary focus of inpatient rehab will be providing support and therapy to the patient that they can use to help create a new life for themselves. Therapists will help patients understand their addiction and teach them how to relax and enjoy themselves without the use of drugs and other addictive substances.
GHB addiction is a disease that affects some of the most vulnerable members of our society. However, when equipped with the proper tools, treatment, and support system, recovery is possible. By receiving detox and GHB addiction treatment in a medically supervised environment, you are setting yourself up for success on your road to recovery. If you or a loved one are suffering from a GHB addiction and are ready to admit yourself into a GHB treatment center today, contact HARP now at 561-379-3299 and see the light at the end of the tunnel.