GHB Detox Program

GHB Overview

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When we think of depressant drugs, we often focus on the most obvious. This would include things like alcohol, painkillers, benzodiazepines, and heroin. Of course, alcohol has been problematic since hundreds, if not thousands, of years. These other substances — opioid painkillers, benzos, and heroin — have become much more troublesome recently, particularly in the past several decades. To be clear, these are substances that are very much prone to abuse; individuals who are addicted to these substances are likely to have intentionally taken large amounts to become intoxicated. However, there are other depressants that are a bit more complicated, such as gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, which you probably know as GHB.

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What Exactly is GHB?

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Although GHB is reported to have been first synthesized in 1874, it wasn’t until much later — the 1960s to be specific — that there would actually be interest in the drug. In the early 1960s, Dr. Henri Laborit, a French surgeon known for his research on surgical anesthetics and an antipsychotic medication call chlorpromazine, had started using GHB in his studies of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that the body utilizes to calm down and relax during times of great stress.
If you’ve done much reading about other mind-altering drugs, you’ve probably noticed that many of them either act like GABA in the brain, causing profound relaxation and depressing the central nervous system, or they affect GABA receptors, causing them to bond more or less strongly with GABA. Certain depressants — particularly alcohol, benzodiazepines, and GHB to name but a few — exaggerate the GABA effect in the brain, which is what causes the characteristic drowsiness, sluggishness, and loss of coordination that’s attributed to a number of depressant drugs.

In his research, Laborit found GHB to be quite an effective drug, especially since it had minimal side effects at therapeutic dosages and had a relatively short duration of effects. However, there were caveats. For one thing, Laborit found that a therapeutic dose of GHB has a very narrow range, meaning that it’s quite easy to administer too much. As well, GHB was greatly affected by the presence of other substances in the body. In particular, if an individual drank alcohol or took other depressants while GHB was in his or her system, the effects of the GHB would be amplified to dangerous levels.

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A number of European countries used GHB in medicine. Specifically, it was often used as an anesthetic during childbirth and as a prescribed medication for individuals who suffered from severe insomnia. Eventually, however, the medical community recognized that GHB had strong potential for abuse, resulting in a steady decrease in the drug’s medical use over time. It was decided that the public should has as limited access to GHB as possible since the drug could be both abused and used to develop other recreational drugs. Today, GHB is hardly used in medical settings a all. In fact, the only instances GHB may be used is for those who suffer from narcolepsy and in the treatment of the most severe cases of alcoholism.

Recently, GHB has gained a rather ominous reputation due to its frequent use as both a ‘date rape drug’ and a ‘club drug’. As a date rape drug, GHB can be administered to a predator’s intended victim, leaving the individual either unconscious or barely conscious; this essentially makes them helpless in instances of rape and abuse. Meanwhile, the drug has become extremely popular among those who frequent bars and nightclubs; at somewhat lower doses, GHB is a depressant with certain psychoactive properties that have garnered comparisons to MDMA and ecstasy. Perhaps the most sobering reality of GHB is that it can be both a weapon and a recreational drug.

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Effects of GHB

Also sometimes called rohypnol, ‘liquid ecstasy’, or just ‘G’, GHB is enjoyed by clubgoers and individuals who attend ‘raves’ due to the euphoria that the drug can induce at certain dosages. Again, this euphoria is what garners GHB frequent comparison to ecstasy and MDMA despite the fact that GHB is a depressant while MDMA and ecstasy are largely considered stimulants. Other effects of GHB include increased sexuality, libido, and a profound sense of calm and relaxation.

However, since it’s quite easy to take to much of the drug, there are a number of adverse effects that users often experience, including dizziness, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, sweating, loss of consciousness (which is reported by nearly 70 percent of all GHB users), and amnesia. In fact, its tendency to induce amnesia — meaning that those who ingest the drug often don’t remember the events that transpired afterward — is another reason why GHB is a favorite weapon of sexual predators; those who are victimized sometimes don’t even remember what happened to them. And the worst possible side effects include things like coma and death.

GHB Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person continues to abuse GHB recreationally over a period of time, he or she is likely to become physiologically dependent on the drug. GHB addiction essentially prevents a person from being able to go periods of time without using the drug or else they’ll experience withdrawal. The most common GHB withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, auditory and/or visual hallucinations, trembling and shaking in the limbs and extremities, sweating, panic attacks, and high blood pressure. Due to the effects of GHB on the brain’s GABA levels, it could potentially be quite dangerous for a person addicted to GHB to stop taking the drug suddenly without some sort of medical supervision.

Overcoming GHB Addiction

As dangerous as it is for a person addicted to GHB to abruptly stop taking the drug, it can actually be done safely if the individual takes advantage of the various recovery resources that are available. Typically, it’s recommended that the individual begin with an initial detox period so that the body can detoxify and severe its physical dependence on GHB. Afterward, the individual can proceed to the actual treatment phase of rehabilitation, which amounts to extensive psychotherapy, group therapy, and various other elements. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all program for overcoming addiction. The important thing is to find the resources that best address one’s unique needs, allowing him or her to safely and effectively overcome GHB addiction.

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Finding the right help for yourself or a loved one can be an overwhelming and stressful process. We can remove those stresses by helping you find the right rehabilitation facility. Call us now to start the road to recovery.

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Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

    Travis B Avatar
    Travis B.
    12/07/2020
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

    Brandon B. Avatar
    Brandon B.
    1/16/2020
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

    Brenda A. Avatar
    Brenda A.
    1/01/2020
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/13/2019
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/06/2019

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