GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy, grievous bodily harm or fantasy, is an odorless and colorless drug that users frequently combine with alcohol. It is a central nervous system depressant, and it produces similar effects on the neurotransmitter GABA.
Although GHB is available in prescription drug form as a drug called Xyrem — used to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder — it is a highly-regulated, controlled substance. On the streets, GHB is highly addictive and extremely dangerous.
The Effects of Liquid Ecstasy
Liquid ecstasy is known as a dance club or rave drug, and it’s also known as a date rape drug. Ravers add the drug to alcohol to feel its euphoric effects. It’s also known to cause visual and auditory hallucinations, increase sex drive and produce a sense of tranquility. The dark side of GHB includes loss of consciousness — reported in most who abuse it — as well as headache, amnesia, confusion, exhaustion, vomiting and clumsiness.
Date rape victims drugged with gamma-hydroxybutyric acid report becoming incapacitated and unable to fight back against a sexual attack. Its amnesiac side effects make it appealing to sexually violent individuals. This is why leaving a drink unattended at a bar or a party is extremely unwise.
There are also more problems with the GHB drug than just its side effects:
- It’s usually made in an illicit lab. GHB, when bought as a liquid or white powder on the street or over the Internet, contains contaminants. This means users could be ingesting chemicals such as drain cleaner, lye or GBL — an industrial solvent used for stripping floors.
- Some side effects are even more severe and require instant medical attention. For example, high doses can cause seizures and coma. Because GHB is difficult to detect in urine, doctors may be unaware the drug is even in the system.
- It’s addictive. Continued use of GHB can lead to addiction and physical tolerance. Breaking the habit requires help from professionals trained in rehab assisted detox and behavioral therapy, at a minimum.
- It causes severe physical withdrawal. Continued use of GHB leads to chemical dependency. Quitting suddenly causes uncomfortable symptoms such as insomnia, agitation, anxiety, shakiness and sweating. These symptoms can last for days.
- It can cause overdose and death. Because liquid ecstasy is a depressant, combining it with alcohol or other drugs can lead to respiratory depression. Taking too much GHB stops breathing, and without medical intervention, it can lead to death.
Symptoms of GHB Addiction
GHB addiction may be a problem if:
- You’ve suffered sexual assault after using GHB, but you keep using the drug anyway.
- You need more drugs, more frequently.
- You ignore important responsibilities, either on purpose or by accident.
- You spend increasing amounts of time with new friends in clubs or raves.
- You spend more and more money on drugs.
- You try to quit, but the withdrawal symptoms are too unpleasant.
Get Help Today
If you are worried about GHB abuse and think you may be addicted, 12 Keys Rehab can help. Our holistic residential treatment program provides experienced, compassionate care tailored to individual needs. For more information about GHB and addiction, contact us today.