A dedicated GHB recovery center might be hard to find since abuse of the substance is not as prevalent as other drugs like cocaine, heroin, or prescription pain medication. The low rate is still significant, though, as 1.4% of high school seniors reported using the substance in 2012 according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).1
While dedicated GHB recovery programs do exist, a recovery facility will almost certainly have a focus much broader than the treatment of dependence on a single agent such as GHB. Treatment facilities exist in every area, but it’s important to choose the right one for your situation.
What Is GHB?
GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) was approved by the FDA under the brand name Xyrem in 2002 exclusively for the treatment of narcolepsy. The restrictions placed on its use were, and remain, severe. These restrictions include the creation of a patient registry to track the drug’s consumption. Unfortunately, according to the DEA, GHB is often produced in a clandestine manner by domestic and foreign laboratories. GHB is classified by enforcement agencies as a depressant, a hallucinogen or a club drug because it has the ability to produce a range of results. It can:
- Slow down the body as a depressant
- Create perceptual distortions as a hallucinogen
- Create perceived positive results at all night parties as a club drug
People become interested in abusing GHB for its ability to produce pleasurable effects like:
- Feelings of euphoria
The desired effects quickly become outweighed by the negatives, which include:
- Feeling drowsy
- Distorted vision
- Slowed breathing
- Slowed heart rate
Some people utilize GHB as a date rape drug due to its ability to sedate and disorient the user. Usually, the substance is sold as a white powder or clear liquid, which mixes easily in liquids. The intensity of the substance will increase when ingested with alcohol.
GHB treatment programs do exist, though they are often included in a broader rehab and recovery treatment plan that focuses more on depressants and hallucinogens. If you have become addicted to GHB, or if you’re worried about somebody else who may be addicted to it, help is available to you 24 hours a day at 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? .
What to Expect With GHB Treatment
A GHB rehabilitation program usually begins with a medical evaluation. The purpose of this is to get a snapshot of the individual’s overall health and determine the potential risk to the individual during the early stages of treatment for GHB. Rehabilitation centers need this information as a baseline, as well as to determine whether the initial withdrawal period may be safely conducted at the GHB rehabilitation facility itself or will require closer medical supervision of the kind available in a hospital or other medical facility.
Withdrawal symptoms associated with GHB addiction may not be deadly, but they are often uncomfortable and will benefit from professional treatment. Symptoms include: 2
Another necessary early step in treatment is intake processing, which is done by essentially every GHB recovery center as a routine part of beginning a personalized recovery program. This consists of filling out forms, providing emergency contact information and conducting personal history interviews with members of the GHB recovery facility’s staff. GHB inpatient recovery facilities also conduct searches of new residents’ clothes and other personal effects to make sure that none of the drug has been brought into the facility.
GHB is usually abused recreationally in a club setting or in a party atmosphere among friends. The fact that the drug is used casually can make it difficult to realize that you have a serious problem with dependence on the drug. If you have experienced mounting negative consequences as a result of your use of GHB or any other drug and still find it difficult to quit, or if that describes somebody close to you, you might be dealing with a serious, life-threatening addiction. Since GHB is difficult to measure, overdosing is a real concern.
Please call 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? today for advice and help locating resources in your area that can help you. Even if you just need to talk to somebody who knows how you feel, assistance is always waiting for you.
Treatment facilities exist in every area, but it’s important to choose the right one for your situation. When you have finally taken the first step of recognizing you have a serious problem with addiction to GHB or other chemicals, you’ll have to make some decisions regarding your treatment options. Some inpatient rehabilitation centers will keep a resident housed in a clinical setting for 30 days. Others run their inpatient programs over a 60- or 90-day time period dependent on the needs of the patient. This decision should be made by the facility’s staff members, the medical provider and the person in recovery. A long-term program may be necessary to properly address the addict’s GHB problem in addition to other secondary issues, such as other substance use or mental health issues.
Sometimes a shorter program is desirable, and indeed, sometimes 30 days of inpatient care are all the resident will have the resources for, making it important to proceed quickly with the progression from initial detox to inpatient residential care to before returning home.
Get on the Road to Recovery Today
. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). Monitoring the Future: National Survey Results on Drug Use. Available at: http://ag.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/agnvgov/Content/News/PR/PR_Docs/2014/NIDA_2013_Report.pdf
. Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2016, from http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/ghb.pdf#search=gamma hydroxybutyrate
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