GHB Side Effects, Street Names, Overdose & Withdrawal

GHB Effects

GHB Side Effects, Street Names, Overdose & Withdrawal

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, is a potent central nervous system depressant that has dramatic effects on the mind and body. Most people take GHB recreationally for the euphoric and calming effects it produces at low doses.

But larger doses of the drug can cause loss of consciousness and a type of short-term memory loss known as anterograde amnesia. These effects have led sexual predators to use GHB as a date-rape drug.

It’s easy to overdose on GHB because it’s impossible for people to know how strong the drug is. When combined with alcohol or other depressants, the drug can be lethal.

People who frequently use GHB can also become physically dependent on the drug. People with a GHB dependence will experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop taking it.

Short-Term Effects

A typical recreational dose of GHB, either a teaspoon of liquid or half a teaspoon of powder, produces effects similar to an alcohol buzz.

After a sip or swig of GHB, people may feel energetic, mildly euphoric, warm and sociable. They may be more talkative than usual. Clubgoers report that GHB gives them the stamina to participate in all-night dance parties.

Larger doses of GHB can produce a number of unpleasant and dangerous side effects similar to those of alcohol intoxication.

  • Happiness or general sense of well-being
  • Feeling drunk
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Silliness and giggling
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Increased sexual arousal
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive salivation
  • Memory loss (amnesia)
  • Staggering, uncoordinated body movements
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Headache

People who use the drug regularly have reported visual and auditory hallucinations and involuntary movements of their arms and legs, according to a 2007 study in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.A light GHB user said his body felt heavy after taking the drug, and he was unable to move.

GHB’s effects come on rapidly, usually within 15 to 30 minutes of swallowing the drug, and they last for up to six hours. The drug is metabolized quickly. Traces of GHB usually vanish from a person’s system within about 12 hours of ingestion.

Overdose Signs and Symptoms

GHB poisoning is common, and a person can die from taking too much of the drug. Adding to the danger is the fact that the difference between an intoxicating dose and a potentially fatal dose of GHB is small.

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

Mixing GHB with alcohol or other drugs increases the risk of a GHBoverdose. According to a 1998 study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, 67 percent of the 88 GHB overdose patients included in the study had also consumed otherdrugs. The most common drugs included alcohol and amphetamines.

People who use GHB can also die from choking on their own vomit, accidental suffocation and accidents that occur when they abruptly lose consciousness.

GHB Withdrawal Symptoms

GHB is addictive, and repeated use of the drug can easily lead to a physical dependence.

People who use GHB every few hours around the clock are especially ly to experience excruciating withdrawal symptoms when they cease using the drug.

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Psychotic thoughts
  • Delirium (losing touch with reality)

alcohol withdrawal, GHB withdrawal is potentially life-threatening. People who can’t quit GHB on their own should consult a GHB treatment professional who can help them detox safely from the drug.

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Improving GHB withdrawal with baclofen: study protocol for a feasibility study for a randomised controlled trial

GHB Side Effects, Street Names, Overdose & Withdrawal

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Effects, Hazards & Methods of Abuse – Drugs.com

GHB Side Effects, Street Names, Overdose & Withdrawal

Common or street names: Liquid X, Liquid ecstasy, Georgia home boy, Oop, Gamma-oh, Grievous bodily harm, Mils, G, Liquid G, Fantasy

What is GHB?

GHB or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (C4H8O3) is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is commonly referred to as a “club drug” or “date rape” drug.

GHB is abused by teens and young adults at bars, parties, clubs and “raves” (all night dance parties), and is often placed in alcoholic beverages. Euphoria, increased sex drive, and tranquility are reported positive effects of GHB abuse.

 Negative effects may include sweating, loss of consciousness, nausea, hallucinations, amnesia, and coma, among other side effects.

Xyrem (sodium oxybate), a brand name prescription drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 for the treatment of narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes excessive sleepiness and recurring daytime sleep attacks. It is the sodium salt of gamma hydroxybutyrate. Xyrem is a highly regulated drug in the U.S. It is a Schedule III controlled substance, and requires patient enrollment in a restricted access program.

GHB is also a naturally-occurring metabolite of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) found in the brain. The naturally-occurring metabolite GHB is present in much lower concentrations in the brain than those levels found when the drug is abused. As a result of fermentation, natural GHB may also be found in small but insignificant quantities in some beers and wines.

Methods of GHB Abuse

GHB is available as an odorless, colorless drug that may be combined with alcohol and given to unsuspecting victims prior to sexual assaults. It may have a soapy or salty taste. Use for sexual assault has resulted in GHB being known as a “date rape” drug.

Victims become incapacitated due to the sedative effects of GHB, and they are unable to resist sexual assault. GHB may also induce amnesia in it’s victim.

Common user groups include high school and college students and rave party attendees who use GHB for it's intoxicating effects.

GHB has also been postulated to have anabolic effects due to protein synthesis, and has been used by body-builders for muscle building and reducing fat.

GHB is bought on the streets or over the Internet in liquid form or as a white powdered material for illicit use. It is taken orally and is frequently combined with alcohol.

Much of the GHB found on the streets or over the Internet is produced in illegal labs. GHB may be adulterated with unknown contaminants that may worsen it’s toxicity.

 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.

In 1990, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory declaring GHB use unsafe and illegal except under FDA-approved, physician-supervised protocols. In March 2000, GHB was placed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

The sodium salt of GHB, the brand product Xyrem (sodium oxybate), is a Schedule III drug when prescribed and used legally in a patient restricted-access program. Xyrem is not available at regular retail pharmacies.

If Xyrem is trafficked as a recreational drug, it’s status converts to Schedule I and it becomes an illegal drug.

Pharmacology

GHB acts at two receptor sites in the brain, the GABAB and specific GHB receptors. Action at these two receptor sites leads to the CNS depressant, stimulant and psychomotor impairment effects of GHB.

Roughly 95 percent of GHB is metabolized in the liver, and it’s half-life ranges from 30 to 60 minutes. Only five percent of the parent drug is excreted via the kidneys. Detection of GHB in the urine may be difficult after 24 hours due to it’s short half-life.

Health Hazards Due to GHB Use

Euphoria, increased sex drive, and tranquility are reported positive effects of GHB abuse. However, immediate negative effects of GHB use may include:

  • sweating
  • loss of consciousness
  • nausea
  • auditory and visual hallucinations
  • headaches
  • vomiting
  • exhaustion
  • sluggishness
  • amnesia
  • confusion
  • clumsiness.

GHB can have an addictive potential if used repeatedly. Withdrawal effects may include insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating. Withdrawal can be severe and incapacitating.

Combined use with alcohol, other sedatives or hypnotics (such as barbiturates or benzodiazepines) and other drugs that possess CNS depressant activity may result in nausea, vomiting and aspiration, and dangerous CNS and respiratory depression.

High doses of GHB, even without other illicit substances or alcohol, may result in profound sedation, seizures, coma, severe respiratory depression and death. Emergency department episodes related to the use of club drugs usually involve the use of multiple substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, and other club drugs, such as methamphetamine, Ecstasy, or Rohypnol.

Emergency room physicians may be unaware that GHB has been abused when a patient presents to the hospital. Due to the short half-life of the drug, detection in the urine may be difficult. Supportive care and keeping airways open are the primary measures used in the emergency overdose situation.

GHB Use in Pregnancy

Effects of GHB use in human pregnancy are not known. Women should not use GHB during pregnancy. Pregnant women, or those who are considering pregnancy, and who use GHB should seek the immediate advice of a health care provider.

Treatment Option for GHB Abuse

Little information is available on treatment options for persons addicted to any club drug, including GHB.

Some users of GHB are not physically dependent upon it, and can be treated and informed on an outpatient basis.

Chronic use may result in severe withdrawal symptoms upon detoxification, and close medical supervision and supportive care is required for these patients. Hospitalization may range from 7 to 14 days.

Withdrawal effects are reported as severe and patients may attempt to self-detoxify using benzodiazepines or alcohol. Using these additional substances may worsen withdrawal, and lead to respiratory depression, coma and death. Medications such as benzodiazepines, antihypertensive medications, and/or anticonvulsants may be needed during detoxification, but only under medical supervision.

Baclofen has been noted in a case report as a possible treatment for GHB withdrawal.

Sources

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Commonly Abused Drugs Charts. Accessed April 23, 2018 at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/club-drugs-ghb-ketamine-rohypnol
  • Miotto, K. Darakjian, J. Basch, J., et al. Gamma-hydroxybutyric Acid: Patterns of Use, Effects, and Withdrawal. American Journal on Addictions 10(3):232-41, 2001. Accessed April 23, 2018.
  • Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, GHB: A Club Drug To Watch. Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory. Volume 2, Issue 1, November 2002. Accessed April 23, 2018
  • LeTourneau JL, Hagg DS, Smith SM. Baclofen and Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate Withdrawal. Neurocrit Care. 2008 ; 8(3): 430-433. Accessed April 23, 2018 at https://misuse.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/error/abuse.shtml

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GHB Abuse and Addiction | The Risks of Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate

GHB Side Effects, Street Names, Overdose & Withdrawal

GHB is how the drug gamma hydroxybutyric acid is generally known. It is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that has become a popular psychoactive drug. Medically, it’s often used as a general anesthetic or to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia and narcolepsy.

It’s also sometimes used to treat clinical depression or alcoholism. Recreationally, it’s used for its psychoactive high and sometimes as a “date rape” drug.

It’s commonly found in the rave scene under street names G, liquid G, or liquid X due to its similarity in effect to MDMA (ecstasy)./

As a central nervous system depressant, GHB tends to produce a relaxing effect, alcohol, sometimes to the point that the user can barely move or loses consciousness. It also creates blackout memory loss, making it an ideal date rape drug.

However, in small doses, it acts more a stimulant and an aphrodisiac, also producing a feeling of euphoria and an increase in sociability, which makes it a popular club drug. In its pure form, GHB is colorless and odorless, but it is often made into a white powder or salt.GHB was made illegal in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1990 for these reasons.

However, in 2002, it was approved for the treatment of a common symptom of narcolepsy, though it is still highly controlled and recreational use remains illegal.

As a drug of abuse, GHB use can lead to overdose and death if too much is taken or if it’s mixed with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol. Though studies on addiction to GHB have been inconclusive, heavy users often report experiencing withdrawal symptoms when intake stops.

Who Uses GHB?

GHB has been making a comeback as a party drug, used most often in nightclubs, raves, and various dance parties as an alternative to ecstasy. This means that the majority of recreational GHB users are young people, including high school students.

Club drug use in general is still quite common among gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals in the “gay club” scene, especially among gay and bisexual men.

In one study sample of gay and bisexual men age 18-22, 40 percent had tried a club drug at least once in their lifetime.

However, another study found that heterosexual women were more ly to report use of GHB than lesbian and bisexual women, at 16 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Men were also found to be a whopping 6.13 times more ly than women to use GHB.

Race and ethnicity did not seem to have an effect on use of this drug.Another demographic in which GHB is popular is among bodybuilders. This substance has been shown to elevate human growth hormones significantly.

Young men attempting to build muscle mass, and often wanting to do so quickly, may use recreational GHB in order to facilitate this process.

Many take to it due to misinformation about the substance as a miracle drug for muscle growth that induces sleep and produces a high at the same time. They can unfortunately end up hurting themselves in the process without achieving the desired results, as the effects of GHB are difficult to predict.

Last but not least, GHB is a very common date rape drug. Some men obtain the drug in the form of salt and use it to “spike” drinks in clubs or at parties. The reduced inhibitions, sedative effects, and increase in libido allow them to lure their victims away, assault them, and leave them with little to no memory of what happened.

Besides the trauma of sexual assault, spiking drinks with GHB can be very dangerous. It’s difficult to measure the correct dose in salt form, especially for a person who has never used the substance before, so overdose potential is high. There have been reports of young women dying from consuming drinks contaminated with GHB.

In addition, combining this drug with alcohol substantially increases the risk of overdose and death.

Signs of GHB Abuse

The effects of GHB are particularly noticeable and distinct from other common drug effects, whether people are currently on the drug or suffering from its aftereffects.

It’s also important to keep in mind that prescription drugs, including GHB prescribed for narcolepsy or another illness, can be abused just any illicit drug. Taking more than prescribed or using dishonest means to obtain a prescription that isn’t needed is also considered to be drug abuse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 52 million Americans over the age of 12 have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose at least once.

Signs of GHB abuse include:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of motor control
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Increase in sex drive
  • Incoherent or slurred speech
  • Memory loss
  • Unusual body language
  • Agitation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

It’s unly that all of these will occur in the same person. These are possible effects, and which effects will appear in any given user is unpredictable. GHB users might act more they’re drunk or more they’re on ecstasy. Although there are distinctive symptoms, this makes it more difficult for GHB abuse in particular to be spotted.

However, if alcohol or ecstasy abuse is ruled out, GHB may be the culprit.With club drugs in general, any regular attendance at dance parties or raves is ly to lead to drug use. This also tends to come with sleep disturbances or a change in sleep schedule due to late nights, as well as a decrease in ability to meet one’s responsibilities, including in school, at work, or with family.

Grooming and hygiene maintenance may even fall to the wayside.

It can also be helpful to look out for withdrawal symptoms, which can appear after a night of drug bingeing. The longer a person has been taking GHB on a regular basis, the worse these symptoms tend to be when they no longer have access to the drug. They can even become dangerous, especially when it comes to the psychological symptoms.

GHB withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Tremors
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations

These symptoms can last 2-21 days. Severe GHB withdrawal can take on the appearance of either alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal syndromes – both of which can be deadly. However, this level of intensity with GHB withdrawal is rare. Still, if delirium or hallucinations appear, it’s highly recommended to bring the individual to the hospital immediately or call for an ambulance.

Treatment Options

Research on GHB addiction is lacking, and addiction is thought to be rare due to the fact that it’s typically only used on occasion.

It’s not as commonly used as drugs that produce similar effects alcohol and ecstasy.

However, there are case reports of people feeling addicted to the drug and experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms, especially among those who try to use it as a daily sleep aid or abuse their prescription.

Any suspected GHB dependence should be taken very seriously as the unpredictable nature of the substance can easily lead to overdose. According to the Health Research Fund, there have been 72 deaths associated with the drug in the US since 1990. However, experts have suggested that numbers may be much higher due to the fact that deaths involving GHB may be underreported.

When it comes to psychological addiction, which is characterized as a general need for the drug or behavior and emotional disturbances resulting from a lack of access, just about any intoxicant can be considered addictive.

Even if GHB isn’t as addictive as other drugs, the euphoric sensation that many people experience can create a dependence as individuals crave the good feelings associated with its use. Psychological addiction this often occurs because the afflicted persons have limited joy in their lives.

This could be due to life stress, mental illness, poverty, and other situations that are strongly linked to addiction disorders.

There are no medications dedicated specifically to treating GHB addiction, but in the case of co-occurring mental illnesses, treating these issues often helps to reduce the need for a drug.

Any addiction treatment program for GHB should be integrated with individual or group therapy, mixed with nonaddictive medications as needed, to reduce anxiety and depression. Sometimes, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used for this purpose. The mix of medication and therapy tends to be most effective for treating mood disorders.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and its variants in particular can help an individual control impulsive behaviors and destructive thoughts, and replace them with healthier ones.

After the initial process of getting through withdrawal symptoms and rehabilitating, which can take place in an inpatient or outpatient program, it’s a good idea to attend support group meetings on a long-term basis.

Studies have shown that regular participation in support groups for addiction significantly reduces the chance of relapse.

General life changes can also help. In order to avoid temptation, individuals in recovery from GHB abuse should avoid nightclubs, raves, and similar environments in which drugs GHB are ly to be available. Reducing stress and introducing new activities into one’s life can help to create joy apart from drug use and help a person to manage ongoing cravings.

Source: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/ghb-abused

GHB: Drug Effects, Addiction, Abuse, and Treatment

GHB Side Effects, Street Names, Overdose & Withdrawal

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, better known as GHB, was first synthesized in a lab in the 19th century. It is actually produced naturally, in small doses, in the body as food is broken down in the stomach. While it was originally used as an anesthetic, similar to Benzodiazepines, it became popular in the 80s among club- and gym-goers. Street names include:

  • Easy Lay
  • G
  • Georgia Home Boy
  • Goop
  • Grievous Bodily Harm
  • Liquid Ecstasy
  • Liquid X
  • Scoop

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GHB: The Party Drug

People claim that GHB, in small doses, has the effects of a stimulant. The drug, however, is actually a central nervous system (CNS) depressant.

Users claim that it gives them the relaxing effects of alcohol without the loss in coordination, slurred speech, or hangover. However, in high enough doses, it can cause someone to fall unconscious.

Its effects are amplified when mixed with alcohol and can make a user fall unconscious within minutes. Along with Rohypnol, this is what caused it to become popular as a “date-rape” drug.

But as he pressed the bottle of clear liquid into my palm, my date, the wise Mr. Wing in Gremlins, laid out the three GHB rules: Don’t take it with strangers, don’t take too much, and NEVER mix it with alcohol.

Catherine Townsend
The Scary Reason GHB Is Making a Comeback

Today, despite being a Schedule I substance since 2001, GHB is coming back among fitness enthusiasts who claim that the drug produces human growth hormone, (HGH). Also, as a depressant, it is being used to provide sounder sleep.

Effects of GHB

There is much debate on the safety of recreational GHB use. Many report that when used in small-doses and not mixed with other drugs, it is safe and non-addictive. However, recent reports from new studies show that it is not only addictive and carries its own symptoms of withdrawal, but people are dying from overdosing on the depressant.

  • Memory lapses
  • Drowsiness
  • Clumsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Lowered temperature
  • Nausea

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Dangers of GHB

Despite anecdotal evidence from users saying GHB is safe on its own, there have been reported cases of users experiencing overdose when the drug is repeatedly used. These symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Shallow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Blackouts and unconsciousness

16,000 people have died from GHB since 1990.

In a study of 207 deaths, 34 percent died from GHB alone.

64% of 207 deaths from GHB also involved another substance.

GHB Addiction

Despite the claims of many users, GHB is addictive. When someone starts taking it recreationally, they’ll find that they develop a tolerance and need to take more to feel the effects. Given how potent the depressant is, however, even an extra dose of it can put the user way over and into a life-threatening condition. When someone has reached this point, a dependency is not far behind.

Many treatment providers have claimed that GHB isn’t addictive and has no symptoms of withdrawal. However, symptoms of withdrawal, documented by Project GHB, include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Psychotic thoughts

Founder of Project GHB and former LAPD Detective, Trinka Porrata, has claimed that GHB is “harder to quit than Heroin.”

Treatment for GHB Addiction

Given the dangerous nature of GHB, many people in the world are exposed to it without their knowledge. While it is unly that someone will become addicted to this one dose, repeated exposure can be the start of a dependence.

Its resurgences makes it more and more ly that hundreds, if not thousands, are being exposed to its effects without their knowledge or consent.

This makes it especially dangerous, as someone may feel the withdrawal of GHB without realizing what they are missing.

If you, or someone you know, have been exposed to any drug and need help, then reach out today. There are dedicated treatment specialists waiting to hear from you. Whether this is something that happened on your own or by someone else, you deserve help.

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Source: https://www.rehabspot.com/drugs/hallucinogens/ghb/

GHB Side Effects and Overdose

GHB Side Effects, Street Names, Overdose & Withdrawal

GHB is a naturally occurring substance in the human central nervous system that occurs as a result of the metabolism of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma–aminobutyric acid.

GHB can also be manufactured artificially, and the term GHB typically refers to the illicit chemical substance that is essentially the same as the medicinal drug Xyrem (sodium oxybate), used in the treatment of narcolepsy.

GHB is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), whereas Xyrem is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance.

GHB is not considered to have medicinal uses, and it has a high potential for abuse and the development of physical dependence.

Xyrem does have identified medicinal uses and can be obtained legally with a prescription, but it also has potential for abuse and the development of physical dependence.

Individuals who abuse GHB typically consist of younger males who attend nightclubs or rave parties and athletes or bodybuilders (due to its reputation for increasing muscle mass and energy, although it is not a steroid). GHB is typically taken orally. It is a light-colored powder or a pure liquid that is clear, tasteless, and odorless.

GHB has been used as a date rape drug because it produces heavy sedation and amnesia in individuals who take it. As a date rape drug, it is typically mixed with alcohol or some other substance.

As a drug of abuse, it is taken for its euphoric-producing effects, mild sedation, ability to increase sociability, and reputed ability as an aphrodisiac.

Online sources reveal that a dose of GHB used for recreational purposes typically costs only $5-$10.

In addition, GHB can be manufactured privately with only a few ingredients that are not significantly difficult to obtain, and there are numerous sites that instruct individuals how to manufacture their own GHB.

However, as a Schedule I controlled substance, GHB is illegal to manufacture or obtain, and possession of it may result in significant legal issues.

Users typically begin to experience the effects of GHB within 15-30 minutes, depending on the amount taken and the purity level of the drug. The effects typically last 3-6 hours. The desired effects for recreational use of GHB include:

  • Feelings of euphoria and tranquility
  • Increased feelings of empathy and increased sociability
  • Sedation
  • Increased energy for some

GHB use is associated with the development of physical dependence in chronic users (the development of tolerance and withdrawal). Side effects of GHB abuse, including symptoms of overdose, include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vertigo
  • Sweating
  • Significant respiratory suppression
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Amnesia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Coma

The difference between a so-called “safe” amount of GHB and the amount that will produce a potential overdose appears to be very small. Overdose from GHB can be indistinguishable from overdose that occurs from other central nervous system depressants.

Individuals who overdose on GHB may have taken GHB in combination with alcohol or other drugs. In some cases, the administration of naloxone can reverse the effects of other drugs taken with GHB (especially opiate drugs), but it is ineffective in reducing the overdose effects of GHB.

While GHB use has declined since the early 2000s, the number of individuals who are treated for overdose appears to have slightly increased.

Due to the effects that high doses of GHB produce, including respiratory suppression, decreased cardiac functions, seizures, and comatose states, individuals who overdose on this drug are at risk for severe organ or brain damage. There are also fatalities occurring from GHB overdose on record.

the demographic that typically uses the drug, the first high-risk group for overdosing on GHB includes young males who attend nightclubs or rave parties. The second high-risk group includes young male bodybuilders. A potential high-risk group for unintentional overdose includes females who attend nightclubs or rave parties (e.g., potential date rape victims).

In addition, because it appears that the difference between a “safe” does and a dose that may result in overdose may be quite small, first-time users of GHB who use the drug in isolation may be at risk for overdose. Obviously, individuals who are emotionally unstable or under the influence of other drugs may also be at risk for overdose from GHB.

With respect to the potential risk factors for individuals who chronically use GHB, an interesting study in the journal European Addiction Research investigated the risk factors for overdose in a small group of GHB abusers.

Three groups of experienced abusers of GHB were compared regarding their risk for overdose. One group had never overdosed, one had experienced occasional overdose, and one group had experienced repeat or numerous overdoses.

The entire sample (all three subgroups) also abused other drugs, including alcohol, amphetamines, ecstasy, ketamine, and cannabis.

The findings indicated that polydrug use was not associated with an increased risk for overdose on GHB, although the researchers did acknowledge that the potential to overdose is increased in anyone who uses multiple drugs. Because these individuals were experienced GHB users, they may have developed some internal protocol that decreased the risk of overdose when they are using GHB in combination with alcohol or some other drug.

In addition, individuals often reported using GHB to counteract the effects of stimulant drugs, such as ketamine or amphetamines. This may help explain the unusual finding of a decreased risk for overdose during polydrug abuse in this particular sample, as the central nervous system depressant effects of GHB would be diminished somewhat under the influence of stimulants.

Having used GHB more often or for longer periods of time was associated with an increased risk to overdose on the drug. Individuals who had repeat overdoses on GHB typically reported that when they overdosed, they took more GHB than they normally would due to external factors.

It also appeared that overdoses occurred more often when the individual was alone compared to when they were with others. Most of the GHB use in this sample occurred at private parties.

Thus, taking GHB in the company of friends may reduce the risk of overdose and may perhaps be a factor in reducing overdoses on multiple drugs, but will not eliminate the risk.

Obviously, only trained medical personnel should administer formal treatments for any type of drug overdose.

If someone is suspected of overdosing on GHB or any other drug, concerned individuals should immediately call 911.

Keeping the individual upright and awake can be useful in some cases; however, even procedures such as CPR should only be administered by qualified individuals who have formal training.

The general approach to treating an individual who has overdosed on GHB includes the following:

  • Get information regarding what types of drugs were taken from the person who overdosed (if possible), friends who were with the person, family members, or bystanders.

  • Make sure that the individual can breathe due to the potential for respiratory suppression. Oxygen can be given, and if the individual is unconscious and/or not breathing, they can be intubated if needed.

  • Fluids for hypotension and dehydration issues may be given.
  • Any individual who has a change in mental status should have cardiac monitoring performed.

  • Hospital personnel will administer intravenous fluids, glucose, thiamine, and other drugs that can assist with altered mental status and cardiac issues.

Any drug overdose is a serious issue. A person who overdoses on an illicit drug, such as GHB, most ly has a formal substance use disorder. Often, part of the treatment protocol for individuals who overdose on these drugs is a supportive approach to try and get the person to commit to formal substance use disorder treatment.

Because there is a potential for an individual who has abused GHB to have developed physical dependence on the drug, it is also important that any individual attempting to quit using GHB be monitored closely by medical personnel for signs of withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms from GHB can be potentially fatal due to the development of seizures in some individuals.

Formal treatment for GHB abuse typically includes a physician-supervised withdrawal management program, psychoeducation, and therapy (either group therapy, individual therapy, or both), family therapy, and participation in social support groups, such as 12-Step groups.

Many younger individuals are under the mistaken impression that recovery from a substance use disorder simply involves withdrawal management (medical detox). Nothing could be further from the truth.

The individual must become involved in a formal substance use disorder treatment program that addresses the specific reasons that led to the substance abuse, helps the individual develop coping skills and different approaches to deal with stress that do not involve the use of drugs and alcohol, and helps the individual develop a long-term approach to living without use of drugs or alcohol.

Source: https://www.solutions-recovery.com/ghb-addiction/side-effects/

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