GHB Addiction – Liquid Ecstasy – The Date Rape Drug

What is GHB?

GHB is the acronym for Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, a potent central nervous system depressant.  It’s considered a club drug and is sought out for its alcohol-like effects, but it often causes people to lose consciousness. GHB is highly addictive and causes severe withdrawal symptoms. It commonly comes as a colourless, odourless, bitter or salty tasting liquid, usually sold in small bottles or vials. It also comes as a bright blue liquid (sometimes called “blue nitro”) and less commonly as a crystal powder.


Other names of GHB:
G, fantasy, grievous bodily harm or GBH, liquid ecstasy, liquid E, liquid X, salty water, Georgia Home Boy, soap, scoop, cherry meth and blue nitro.

How did GHB become so prevalent?

GHB, GHB Addiction – Liquid Ecstasy – The Date Rape Drug, Best Addiction Rehabilitation  in South AfricaFirst used clinically in the 1960s, GHB was seen as a promising fast-acting anaesthetic agent. Unfortunately it lacked any pain-killing properties and also triggered seizures. The medical community quickly abandoned interest in its clinical use and so began its move into the open market. In the 1980s, GHB emerged as a popular over-the-counter sleep aid, weight loss supplement and workout enhancer. The American Food and Drug Administration pulled the drug from American shelves in 1990 after over 100 reports of GHB-related poisonings. Despite the crackdown, GHB found its way into the club scene as a recreational drug. GHB usually comes as a liquid or a white powder that is dissolved in beverages and consumed in small doses. It’s sometimes called liquid ecstasy because of its relaxing and ‘touchy-feely’ effects.  Sexual predators also discovered a nefarious use for the powerful sedative. In higher doses, GHB can cause loss of consciousness and blackouts. By the mid-1990s, troubling reports emerged of young people being sexually assaulted after consuming drinks laced with GHB. The drug has remained in the club and party scene and there seems to be no sign of it disappearing any time soon.


How is GHB made?  

GHB, GHB Addiction – Liquid Ecstasy – The Date Rape Drug, Best Addiction Rehabilitation  in South AfricaGHB is bought on the streets or over the Internet in a liquid form or as a white powdered material. It is taken orally and is frequently combined with alcohol. Much of the GHB being used in the club and party scene is produced in illegal labs. The production of GHB usually involves the use of lye or drain cleaner mixed with GBL, a chemical cousin of GHB and an industrial solvent often used to strip floors. The internet unfortunately has dozens of examples of different recipes to make this dangerous drug at home, or in a small lab.


What are the effects?  

A typical recreational dose of GHB, produces effects similar to an alcohol, lowers anxiety and may lead to drowsiness and psychological confusion. In large amounts, it may cause delusions, hostility, and overexcitement.

But the combination of GHB and alcohol can be hazardous, as both substances tend to retard the vital life-sustaining roles of the central nervous system, and both can have substantial mind-altering affects.

Other effects include:

  1. Energetic feelings
  2. Warm and sociable.
  3. euphoric
  4. drowsy
  5. relaxed
  6. turned on/sexy
  7. Users may be more talkative than usual.
  8. Clubbers say stamina is increased to participate in all-night dance parties.

What are the signs that someone is using GHB?

GHB produces effects similar to those produced by alcohol. A person using GHB could appear euphoric, drowsy, relaxed and turned on/sexy.

How does it make people behave? GHB can reduce people’s inhibitions, and some people take the drugs to have more intense sex.


Long term effects of use

It’s very easy to overdose on GHB. Overdosing can lead to unconsciousness, coma and death. Because GHB and GBL can make people pass out easily, they’ve been linked to rape and other sexual assaults. If not diluted properly, GHB can burn the mouth and throat when swallowed. There are also some mental health risks. GHB can cause short term confusion and disorientation. Doctors have not yet fully unlocked the effects the drug has on the brain from repeated long term use.

Here are some of the more real consequences of GHB:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Lower body temperature
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Agitation and combativeness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Low blood oxygen levels
  • Pale skin
  • Absent gag reflex
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Is there a cure for this addiction?

Of course there is. Although highly addictive and physically and mentally destructive, a good rehabilitation programme at a centre with the right treatment programmes can remove the drug from a person’s life and restore their lives.


What are GHB withdrawal symptoms?

GHB is addictive, and repeated use of the drug can easily lead to a physical dependence. People who use GHB regularly or repeatedly are likely to experience excruciating withdrawal symptoms which include:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Tremors
  3. Delirium (losing touch with reality)
  4. Rapid heart rate
  5. Psychotic thoughts
  6. Increased blood pressure
  7. Insomnia
  8. Agitation

Types of treatment for GHB addiction

GHB, GHB Addiction – Liquid Ecstasy – The Date Rape Drug, Best Addiction Rehabilitation  in South AfricaAfter making the decision to enter a recovery programme, a professional trained in addiction recovery will perform a comprehensive assessment to determine the best course of treatment for you, based on your specific needs.

Inpatient treatment centres provide a medically managed programme which will ease the stress of withdrawal. These withdrawals are made less severe through closely supervised medical detox. Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres offers 24 hour monitoring and is an ideal solution to a complex issue like GHB addiction.

Side note: In order to avoid developing a new addiction, it is recommended not to use any other drugs beyond what is absolutely necessary for recovery.

GHB treatment usually starts with detoxification at an inpatient treatment centre like Houghton House. These centres also provide group counselling and support which assists recovering addicts with everyday tasks such as re-learning to live healthy lives without the shadow of GHB. Also, those suffering from co-occurring disorders, such as mental health issues and addictions to multiple substances will receive specialised care at these centres, to ensure their treatment is well-rounded. Inpatient rehabilitation gives addicts the opportunity to receive uninterrupted care without the stress and temptations of the outside world. Inpatient rehabilitation programmes are between 30 to 90 days in length (depending on the severity of the addiction.)


For more information on dealing with GHB use or addiction abuse and getting help or into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency helpline: 079 770 7532

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