January 26, 2024

GHB Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

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GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is a potent depressant that affects the CNS (central nervous system). This illicit club drug is sought after for its alcohol-like effects, but its usage frequently leads to a loss of consciousness. GHB is characterized by its high addictive potential and the potential to induce severe and even fatal withdrawal symptoms. Read on to learn more about why you should avoid this deadly substance.

Is GHB Addictive?

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GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is highly addictive. Like all Schedule I drugs, GHB has no legitimate medical purpose and a strong potential for abuse and addiction. Here are some factors that contribute to GHB’s addictive nature:

  • Euphoria and relaxation: GHB can produce feelings of intense euphoria, relaxation, and disinhibition. Many people chase these pleasurable sensations, leading to repeated use.
  • Physical and psychological dependence: Over time, the body can develop both physical and psychological dependence on GHB. Physical dependence means that the body adapts to the presence of the drug and requires it to function normally, leading to withdrawal symptoms when not used. Psychological dependence involves craving the drug and believing that it is necessary for well-being.
  • Tolerance: With continued use, people may develop tolerance to GHB, requiring larger doses to achieve the desired effects. This cycle of increasing doses can contribute to addiction.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: GHB withdrawal symptoms can be severe and uncomfortable, including anxiety, tremors, insomnia, and even seizures. The fear of these withdrawal symptoms compels many people to continue using the drug.
  • Binge and crash pattern: Some people engage in a binge and crash pattern, taking GHB repeatedly to maintain the pleasurable effects and avoiding the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal during the crash phase.
  • Social and environmental factors: Peer pressure and the drug’s availability within certain social circles can also contribute to addiction.

Due to the risk of addiction and the potential for severe health consequences associated with GHB use, it is essential for individuals to be aware of its dangers and to seek help if they suspect they have developed a dependence on the drug. Addiction treatment and support are available to help people overcome their reliance on GHB and work toward a healthier, drug-free lifestyle.

How Addictive Is GHB?

GHB is highly addictive due to its profound impact on the CNS. Its notoriety stems from the rapid onset of effects, inducing feelings of relaxation and euphoria within a remarkably brief timeframe. This swift action contributes to its addictive potential, as people often seek the immediate gratification provided by the drug.

GHB has a reinforcing effect on pleasurable sensations, compelling individuals to engage in its repeated consumption to relive the desired effects. This reinforcement mechanism can promote the development of psychological dependence on the substance.

Sustained GHB use can trigger physical dependence, with the body becoming reliant on the drug for normal functioning. The absence of GHB can provoke the onset of withdrawal symptoms, further motivating individuals to continue using the substance to evade these adverse effects.

Beyond this, GHB is frequently combined with other substances like alcohol or stimulants, intensifying its effects. Polysubstance use can elevate the risk of addiction, as people may find the combined effects more alluring and reinforcing.

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Signs of GHB Addiction

There are several observable signs that indicate someone might be struggling with GHB addiction. Recognizing these signs can aid in identifying addiction-related issues. Here are some common signs of GHB addiction:

  • Neglected appearance: Individuals grappling with GHB addiction may neglect their personal hygiene and appearance, appearing disheveled or unkempt.
  • Financial strain: Maintaining a GHB addiction can be financially taxing, leading to financial difficulties like unpaid bills, borrowing money, or depleting savings.
  • Secrecy and deception: Addicted individuals often engage in secretive behaviors to hide their GHB use from loved ones. This may involve lying about their whereabouts or activities.
  • Social isolation: People addicted to GHB may gradually withdraw from their social circles and isolate themselves from friends and family.
  • Decline in performance: Whether at work, school, or in their personal lives, those addicted to GHB may experience a noticeable decline in their performance and overall functioning.
  • Erratic behavior: GHB addiction can lead to erratic behaviors and mood swings. People may become unpredictable and instable in their actions and emotions.
  • Legal issues: Addiction to GHB can result in legal troubles, such as arrests for possession or related offenses.
  • Health deterioration: Prolonged GHB use can take a toll on physical and mental health. Signs of health deterioration, such as weight loss, frequent illnesses, or cognitive impairment, may become evident.
  • Loss of interests: Hobbies and interests may be abandoned as GHB addiction consumes more of a person’s time and focus.
  • Changed sleep patterns: Irregular sleep patterns, including insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness, may manifest as a result of GHB addiction.

Recognizing these signs can prompt intervention and support for individuals struggling with GHB addiction. If you or someone you know exhibits these signs, seek professional help and support to address the addiction and promote recovery.

GHB Addiction Symptoms

Prolonged use of central nervous system depressants like GHB can lead to addiction, clinically diagnosed as substance use disorder. Clinicians use the criteria outlined in American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth revised edition) to diagnose individuals with GHB addiction. Here are the symptoms indicative of GHB addiction:

  1. Individuals may find themselves regularly consuming GHB in larger quantities or over extended durations beyond their original intentions.
  2. Despite their efforts, some people struggle to reduce or cease their GHB consumption.
  3. A substantial portion of a person’s time is devoted to GHB use and recovery from its effects.
  4. Intense cravings for GHB may compel people to seek and use the substance persistently.
  5. GHB use can lead to neglecting personal and professional responsibilities, resulting in unmet commitments.
  6. Relationships may be strained or disrupted because of ongoing GHB use.
  7. Individuals may discontinue activities and interests that were once meaningful due to their GHB use.
  8. The substance may be used in situations where it poses significant risks to safety.
  9. People may persist in using GHB despite experiencing or exacerbating physical or psychological health problems.
  10. Tolerance to GHB may develop, necessitating increased amounts of the drug to achieve the initial effects.
  11. Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms may emerge when GHB use is discontinued.

These symptoms collectively form the diagnostic criteria for GHB addiction, and anyone meeting these criteria may be diagnosed with a substance use disorder related to GHB.

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Call Addiction Hotline Today for Help with GHB Addiction

GHB drug addiction can be aggravating and extremely disruptive. If are addicted to GHB and have no idea where to turn, reach out to Addiction Hotline today by calling 855-701-0479.

You can speak in confidence with trained and experienced professionals who are ready to connect you with the evidence-based addition treatment you need. Staff can answer all your queries on drug addiction, treatment, relapse, and recovery.

If you are ready to move beyond GHB addiction, we can refer you to detox facilities, inpatient rehabs, outpatient rehabs, and support groups throughout California. With the right help, it is possible to beat GHB addiction. Call 855-701-0479 any time.

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