What is GHB?

Also known as gamma hydroxybutyric acid, GHB is a central nervous system depressant that is commonly referred to as a “club drug” or a “date rape” drug. GHB is one of many drugs abused by teens and young adults at bars and clubs—venues common to the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami nightlife landscape—and is often mixed in alcoholic beverages. Since GHB is colorless and odorless, it is very easy to add to any drink without the knowledge of the person consuming it. It makes the individual weak and powerless to resist sexual assault, which is why it is known as a “date rape” drug. It can also cause the person to black out.

When combined with alcohol, GHB can be fatal. Negative effects of GHB include:

  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions
  • Amnesia
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma

Young adults are attracted to GHB because, like ecstasy, it produces extra stamina and has intoxicating highs.

After being banned by the FDA because of severe side effects, GHB can only be administered under medical supervision, although it is illegally manufactured and consumed. GHB has been used in a medical setting, under strict supervision, as a general anesthetic, to treat conditions such as insomnia, clinical depression, narcolepsy and alcoholism and to improve athletic performance. GHB use may lead to physical or psychological dependence, thus making it difficult for people who are addicted to quit. GHB users often develop tolerance to the drug as it becomes more difficult to get high and requires more frequent doses to get the same effect.

Treating GHB Addiction

As is the case with many drugs, long-term use of GHB can cause deterioration of close relationships and interfere with one’s success at work and school. The treatment of GHB addiction presents some challenges, but users often respond well to an organized drug treatment program.

GHB treatment is usually done on an inpatient basis at a residential clinic, but outpatient treatment services are an option. In most cases, GHB treatment involves a detoxification period followed by a series of individual and group counseling sessions. The user learns how to avoid behaviors that lead to the drug abuse and how to substitute alternative activities.

Do you or someone you know have a problem with GHB or other drug use? Understanding what GHB is and the effects that it has on your body is the first step on the road to recovery. Call 888-711-0354 or click here to speak with a drug abuse counselor at Cornerstone Recovery Center, a drug addiction treatment center in Ft. Lauderdale.