Table of Contents
- The Current State of GHB Addiction and Treatment in the United States
- What Is GHB?
- What Does GHB Look Like?
- Who Uses It?
- How Does It Affect the User?
- Is GHB Addictive?
- The Symptoms of Drug Addiction
- The Signs and Symptoms of GHB Addiction
- Statistics on GHB Use
- Treatment for GHB Abuse
- What Happens After GHB Addiction Treatment?
The Current State of GHB Addiction and Treatment in the United States
GHB is a central nervous system depressant that can be abused by both recreational and medical users. GHB addiction has become more widespread in the U.S. than many people realize, but awareness remains low among health care professionals, law enforcement, and the public at large.
What Is GHB?
GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate), also known as “liquid ecstasy,” is a central nervous system depressant that was originally used in the 1960s to treat narcolepsy, but was discontinued in the 1980s due to its addictive properties. It is a colorless, odorless liquid that is sold as a health supplement at gyms and dance clubs. GHB is also used as a date rape drug because it can be easily slipped into drinks without detection.
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a central nervous system depressant that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1985 as a treatment for narcolepsy. GHB is a natural substance that occurs in the human body and can be made synthetically. It has been used for decades as an anesthetic in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The recreational use of GHB in the United States was first reported in 1990. Since then there has been a growing number of people abusing this drug. GHB is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream in just a matter of minutes.
In 2000, GHB was placed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, making it illegal to possess or sell in any quantity. It is unknown how many people are using GHB, but it appears to be a growing problem. The number of emergency room visits related to GHB increased from 88 in 1999 to 1,485 in 2002 and has been steadily increasing since then.
What Does GHB Look Like?
GHB is a clear, colorless liquid that has no odor and tastes slightly salty. It can be mixed easily with water or alcohol. GHB is often sold as an over-the-counter dietary supplement in health food stores.
GHB is often taken as a liquid, but it can also be added to drinks such as water or alcohol, snorted, or even injected. The street names include : Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid Ecstasy, Scoop, Georgia Home Boy, G.H., G, liquid X, Soap, Circles, Forget Pill, Forget-Me Pill, La Rocha, Lunch Money, Mexican Valium, Mind Eraser, Pingus, R2, Reynolds, Rib, Roach, Roach 2, Roaches, Roachies, Roapies, Rochas Dos, Roofies, Rope, Rophies, Row-Shay, Ruffies, Trip-and-Fall, Wolfies, and Date Rape Drug. The drug takes 15 to 20 minutes to have an effect on the body and can last between 2 to 4 hours, depending on the dose; may be longer if mixed with alcohol or other drugs. At low doses (1-2 teaspoons), the user may feel euphoria.
Who Uses It?
GHB use has been reported among young adults aged 18 to 25, particularly those who frequent dance clubs and raves. In a survey of individuals attending a Rave party in Los Angeles County, 7% of the 1,200 attendees reported using GHB and/or GBL within the past 12 months (Harding et al., 2000). In another survey, 11% of young adults attending raves admitted to using GHB in the previous year (Gable, 2000).
How Does It Affect the User?
GHB makes the user have the most wonderful feeling in the world. It relaxes them and makes them feel like a little kid again. They do not worry about anything else just being so happy and content like they are experiencing a dream world and nothing else matters. Apart from the euphoria and tranquility, it increases the user’s sex drive.
However, the drug can also have some very adverse effects. Sweating, nausea, headaches, exhaustion, loss of consciousness, visual and auditory hallucinations, vomiting, amnesia, clumsiness, sluggishness, and confusion are some of the negative effects of GHB. The substance is also prone to be addictive if used repeatedly. The withdrawal symptoms from the drug which can be severe and incapacitating, are tremors, anxiety, profuse sweating, and insomnia,
Furthermore, when GHB is combined with other sedatives, alcohol, or hypnotics such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or other drugs that interfere with the central nervous system activity, the result can be severe nausea, vomiting, aspiration, and dangerous central nervous system and breathing issues. Even high doses of the drug on its own can cause extreme sedation, seizures, respiratory depression, comas, and even death.
Emergency room Physicians who deal with GHB overdosed users in emergency rooms may be unaware of GHB use as it has a short half-life and detection in the urine or blood may be difficult. Supportive care as well as keeping the trachea open are typically the primary measures used in emergency overdose situations.
Is GHB Addictive?
GHB has the potential to be addictive. It can be difficult to stop using GHB, even after an individual has decided that they want to quit. In some cases, individuals who have been addicted to GHB for years have found it extremely difficult to quit.
GHB is often used in combination with other drugs, such as alcohol and marijuana. This can make the addiction more difficult to overcome because the individual is addicted to multiple drugs. GHB addiction is often accompanied by other mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Individuals who are suffering from these conditions may turn to GHB in order to self-medicate.
GHB seems to have a lower addiction potential than other recreational drugs. Even when taken continuously for several months, it does not produce any significant physical dependence or tolerance in humans. However, withdrawal symptoms can occur if GHB is suddenly stopped. These symptoms are very similar to those of alcohol withdrawal and include anxiety, insomnia, tremor, sweating, rapid breathing (hyperventilation), nausea, and vomiting. GHB withdrawal symptoms usually begin 6 to 24 hours after the last dose of GHB and peak in 2 to 3 days. They may persist for up to one week, but gradually subside over
The Symptoms of Drug Addiction
Some of the typical symptoms of drug addiction may include:
- Weight loss.
- Issues with money.
- Inability to reduce or control drug use.
- Engaging in risky behaviors, despite knowing the negative consequences.
- Difficulty completing tasks at home, work, or school.
- Craving drugs.
- Changes in physical appearances, such as having a poor complexion or looking ungroomed and haggard.
- Changes in appetite and sleep patterns.
- Bloodshot eyes and looking tired.
The Signs and Symptoms of GHB Addiction
GHB is a drug that can be taken orally, snorted, or injected. In the body, the substance converts to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the nervous system. GHB is also known as a “date rape” drug because of its ability to incapacitate users and prevent them from resisting sexual assault.
The initial effects of GHB last for about 30 minutes and include euphoria, hallucinations, anxiety suppression, and increased sociability. The effects of GHB are dose-dependent: higher doses cause sedation, slurred speech and
GHB overdose causes death by respiratory depression, and the drug has been used in suicides and homicides. In addition to its euphoric effects, GHB is a potent central nervous system depressant that can induce sedation, hypnosis, and at higher doses, coma. GHB is also a potent stimulant of growth hormone release that can cause muscle breakdown, especially in children.
The long-term effects of chronic GHB use are poorly understood, but some reports suggest that the drug may cause permanent brain damage and cognitive impairment
Statistics on GHB Use
In a survey of over 1,000 college students by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 30 percent reported having used GHB at some point in their lives. The number of people who have used GHB at least once in the past year is estimated to be about 50,000.
Treatment for GHB Abuse
GHB addiction is characterized by physical as well as psychological dependence. GHB addicts may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug, such as nausea and vomiting. They may also have trouble sleeping and eating, which can lead to weight loss or weight gain.
GHB addiction is a growing problem in the United States. As this drug becomes more popular, it seems likely that the number of people addicted to it will increase as well. The government has taken action to try to control the spread of GHB, but it is still relatively easy for people in the United States to obtain this drug.
GHB addiction is associated with a number of negative consequences. GHB abuse can lead to an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder, and it may increase the likelihood that individuals will develop an addiction to other drugs. GHB addiction can also lead to a number of health complications, including respiratory problems and seizures.
GHB addiction treatment presents a number of challenges to healthcare professionals. First, GHB is not currently listed as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and therefore there are no specific regulations regarding the use of GHB addiction treatment.
Second, there are no currently approved medications for the treatment of GHB addiction in the United States. Third, individuals who abuse GHB often do so in combination with other substances, such as alcohol and marijuana. Therefore, GHB addiction treatment must be tailored to address the specific needs of each patient.
What Happens After GHB Addiction Treatment?
After GHB addiction treatment, patients will be released from the rehab center and allowed to return home. However, because of the addictive nature of this drug, recovering addicts are at risk for relapse even after rehab. GHB addiction treatment is very effective in helping patients overcome their condition, but it does not guarantee a successful recovery.
Researchers have found that the most common reason for relapse after leaving an addiction treatment center is a lack of support from family and friends. This can be especially true for those who are released on a weekend or holiday when their loved ones are not available to help them adjust