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GHB Addiction Programme
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Our GHB Addiction Recovery Programme

What is GHB addiction?

GHB is a central nervous system depressant, and it acts in a similar way to alcohol. It makes users feel euphoric and confident.
Commonly considered a “club drug” that is popular at raves and in the party and club scene, GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) has similar properties to both alcohol and benzodiazepine drugs. It frequently causes euphoria, relaxation, increased libido, lowered inhibitions, and an altered state of mind. At higher doses, nausea, drowsiness, amnesia, and unconsciousness may occur, like alcohol. In some cases, use of GHB may prove fatal. The effects of GHB may last for 90 minutes or three hours on its own, and the effects tend to last longer if it is mixed with alcohol.

About GHB Addiction

GHB actually occurs naturally in the body in very small amounts, and it is related to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is one of the brain’s neurotransmitters that acts as a natural sedative. Medically, GHB has been used for anesthetic purposes, to treat narcolepsy (daytime sleepiness), and even for the treatment of alcohol addiction and withdrawal. Bodybuilders used to take GHB as a dietary supplement to enhance muscle mass without anabolic steroids before it was banned for this purpose.
In 2000, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified GHB as a Schedule I controlled substance, making it an illegal drug with no accepted medicinal uses within the United States. GHB is one of the rare drugs that is classified in different drug schedules. Xyrem (sodium oxybate), a GHB-containing pharmaceutical product that is used medically to treat narcolepsy and cataplexy (loss of muscle tone related to narcolepsy), is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance. Drugs that are precursors to GHB and likely converted into GHB when metabolized, such as GBL (gamma-butyrolactone) and BD (1,4-butanediol) have industrial and commercial uses and therefore are not scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Both BD and GBL, and GHB analogues, are sold illicitly as “fish tank cleaner,” “ink stain remover,” “nail enamel remover,” and “ink cartridge cleaner” for much more money than these products typically sell for, sometimes as much as $100 a bottle. Those who produce and distribute GBL or BD as substitutes for GHB, as recreational drugs, are subject to illegal drug penalties. GHB is often synthesized in clandestine laboratories and marketed for recreational abuse.
The two precursors that are metabolized to form GHB in the body: gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4 butanediol (BD) are used as powerful solvents in the manufacture of paint strippers, insecticides, and polyurethanes.

Spotting GHB addiction

GHB is sold as a clear liquid or white powder to be dissolved in liquid. GHB is odorless and a little salty in taste. It is often distributed in small water bottles or vials or by the capful at clubs or all-night dance parties for between $5 USD and $25 USD a “swig.”
Recreationally, GHB is often mixed with alcohol or other drugs, such as methamphetamine, marijuana, or other stimulant or depressant drugs, to amplify its effects. GHB is taken to increase sexual libido, to enhance moods and energy levels, to induce amnesia, or to increase suggestibility and passivity, which can make it a candidate for use as a date rape drug.
GHB is typically considered a drug that is primarily abused by teenagers and young adults. In the US nearly 1 percent of high school seniors in the United States used GHB in 2016. In Australia GHB addiction has begun to closely rival methamphetamine addiction in scale.
Slang names for GHB include easy lay, grievous bodily harm, liquid ecstasy, scoop, soap, G, goop, and Georgia homeboy.

Signs of GHB addiction

Someone under the influence of GHB may exhibit the following signs:
  • Excitement
  • Sluggish movements
  • Increased sex drive
  • Fewer inhibitions than normal
  • Mental confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Talkativeness
  • Extreme happiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Lowered pulse and heart rate
  • Heightened energy levels
  • Memory loss
  • Heightened relaxation
A person may be less anxious under the influence of GHB since the drug has sedative effects that may lead to a loss of consciousness. GHB can also cause hallucinations, psychotic thoughts and/or actions, aggressive behaviors, nausea and vomiting, seizures, and extremely low body temperatures when taken in large amounts. Effects are amplified when the drug is mixed with other mind-altering substances like alcohol.
GHB generally takes effect within 10-20 minutes of ingesting it. The “high” lasts between two and five hours on average.
The presence of empty vials and small bottles may be an indication that GHB is being abused as well. As GHB is often abused at nightclubs, increased interest in clubs or raves may also be a warning sign of abuse.

Symptoms of GHB addiction

Chronic use of GHB addiction has been evidenced to produce some of the following symptoms:
  • a marked personality shift in a person
  • unpredictable mood swings
  • erratic behaviours
  • sleeping and eating patterns that change
  • physical appearance can decline
  • school, friends, and recreational activities may become less important
  • social circles often change
  • individuals will likely be less consistent at fulfilling obligations, and relationships and job and/or school production regularly suffer.

Dangers associated with GHB addiction

GHB has many potential negative side effects and risks of abuse, not the least of which is the potential for a fatal overdose. GHB overdose can lower respiration rates to dangerous levels and impair breathing as well as possibly cause:
  • a loss of balance
  • tremors
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • trouble seeing
  • confusion
  • seizures
  • coma
  • respiratory failure or even death
As a central nervous system depressant, GHB slows life-sustaining autonomic functions like heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, and it also lowers body temperature. When combined with other depressants, like alcohol, side effects and risks are increased. A teaspoon or two of GHB is often added to “home brews,” and individuals may not even know how high the dose of GHB is, which also raises the risk for a potentially life-threatening overdose. Swift medical intervention to ensure that airways remain open and vital signs stay stable during a GHB overdose are imperative in order to prevent possible brain damage or death due to respiratory failure.
GHB abuse can increase the risk that a person will be involved in an accident or become a victim of sexual assault. GHB impairs a person’s thought processes, and they may engage in behaviours that are out of character, taking bigger risks than normal and putting themselves into potentially dangerous or hazardous situations.

Tolerance in GHB addiction

Tolerance to GHB can form with regular use, leading a person to need to take higher doses to keep feeling its effects. GHB addiction can also cause psychological and physical dependence, and a person who takes the drug regularly may suffer from GHB addiction related withdrawal symptoms that occur within an hour or two after stopping use. Withdrawal symptoms of GHB addiction can be difficult and even dangerous, as anxiety, depression, insomnia, muscle cramps, hostility, tremors, delirium, irregular heart rate and blood pressure, paranoia, hallucinations, confusion, and agitation can occur.
GHB is also considered to be an addictive drug. Continued use makes changes to the way the brain functions and can lead to an inability to control dosage and drug-seeking and using behaviours resulting in GHB addiction.

Getting help for GHB addiction

GHB addiction is best treated through a medical detox programme such as Clarity. Detox for GHB addiction generally lasts 3-5 days in our bespoke rehabilitation facility in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Clarity is a specialized facility where vital signs and mental health status can be monitored 24/7 and effective treatment for GHB addiction delivered in a respectful and compassionate way. Benzodiazepine medications may be substituted for GHB by our specialist doctors trained to treat GHB addiction and then tapered off slowly to minimize and manage the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms and to mitigate cravings. 24 hour nursing is provided at no extra cost by our on-site nursing team.
After detox, our unique 3 stage addiction treatment programme provides therapeutic and supportive care. Resiliency training and distress tolerance as well as daily group therapy and 4 individual therapy sessions per week ensure that clients reach their treatment goals and are at the centre of their individualized treatment programme. Counseling and therapy sessions, nutritional planning, personal training and exercise programmes, support groups, life skills workshops, relapse prevention and educational programmes are all often part of Clarity’s comprehensive treatment programme. Our unique 3 stage DBT programme used to overcome GHB addiction ensures that your treatment plan is individually designed to meet your needs. Call us today for a free assessment with one of our psychologists and decide your future with Clarity.
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Why choose Clarity

Clarity offers an incredible healing experience for our clients and their families that is second to none. Our team is comprised of individuals with years of experience who are all here for one reason. To help you realise, achieve, and maintain permanent long term recovery.

  • Leading evidence based clinical programmes
  • Resort style setting, providing ultimate comfort
  • Bespoke family support for all affected

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